September 2018

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Darshi Shah solves a moral dilemma between empathetically intruding and intentionally retreating.


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Convention speaker Bhavisha Shroff shares her advice.


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Hear from three young Jains - Juhi Nahata, Heena Momaya, and Sohail Daulat about their experiences fasting while studying or working.

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Dharmi Shah, Siddharth Shah

Rachna Shah
























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Hear from young Jains - like you! - on their experiences with Paryushan and Das Lakshan.

EDUCATION CORNER Learn about the history, meaning, and practices.



FORUMS SPOTLIGHT Which of the 5 main principles is hardest for you?


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Exclusive interview with Greta Zarro, Organizing Director.

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We've chosen mandirs from all over the world. Can you








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Jai Jinendra, We hope everyone had an enjoyable summer! In the spirit of the school year beginning, YJA is looking forward to further establishing our events and projects, such as our College Chapters, YJA Pathshala, and Summertime sessions and retreats. Our Executive Board has been implementing many new ideas and creative solutions to provide young Jains with unique social, service, and educational opportunities. Some of the most important Jain festivals include Paryushan and Das Lakshan, a time for all Jains to reflect and repent. Our guiding Jain principles set the foundation upon which we lead our lives and approach situations of uniqueness and uncertainty. As we embark upon these 18 days of contemplation, let us remember the values and ethics we strive to incorporate into our everyday lives. In this issue, you will hear about the experiences of young Jains in a variety of topics, including the amazing summertime retreats, fasting during the festivities, and maintaining your Jain values in college and the workplace. On this Paryushan and Das Lakshan parva, we wish the best of health (shata ma) to everyone that is observing an austerity. Further, we hope that you are blessed with the strength to maintain your vows and practice your beliefs. Lastly, if we as Young Jains of America have hurt you during our Executive Board term, whether it be intentionally or unintentionally, we sincerely and humbly ask for forgiveness. From all of us at YJA, Micchami Dukkadam and Uttam Kshama to you and your loved ones. We hope you enjoy this issue of Young Minds. Thank you for your continued support, and we hope to see you sometime soon. Happy reading! With #yjalove, Siddharth Shah and Dharmi Shah Co-Chairs, 2017 - 2018






Dear readers, Jai Jinendra. After reconnecting with our roots two months ago, we find ourselves soon approaching Paryushan and Das Lakshan, a time of year where many of us feel most connected with our heritage and religion. We know the importance of these holidays - how out of the 365 days each year, we devote these 18 days to advancing our spirituality and connecting with our soul. That is why this issue of Young Minds focuses on Paryushan and Das Lakshan. In this issue, you will find a variety of reflections from and conversations with young Jains on their practices and experiences. While each writer’s practices and experiences are unique - reciting prayers, meditating, donating, volunteering, eating less, fasting, listening more actively, working towards public service, and much, much more - they share common intentions and impacts. The goal of these festivals is to make an active effort in improving your soul and following the path that speaks to you. Whether you’re in high school, college, or the workplace, we all seek to feel in tune with ourselves, to find balance in our lives, and to coexist more naturally and peacefully with the people and world around us. As always, the stories covered in this issue are incomplete - we are missing important perspectives and works, maybe yours. Nonetheless, I hope that the stories shared in this issue may serve as a guide as we embark on this journey of intentional self-reflection together. Please fill out this form to share your feedback or email us at We look forward to hearing from you and starting a conversation. I hope that you have a wonderful Paryushan and Das Lakshan, and enjoy this issue of Young Minds! Micchami Dukkadam, Rachna Shah Director of Publications, 2017-18



Experiences with Paryushan and Das Lakshan

“The first 3-4 days of your atthai will feel really challenging, but if you persist through that 3rd or 4th day, it goes by so quick. No taap is easy, so if your mind is set, don't let anything else make you weaker. The strength all lies in the mind!” Yashwee Kothari

“The most challenging thing during Paryushan is peer pressure. If you eat out regularly with your colleagues or friends, it can be awkward if you suddenly have to explain why you can't eat root vegetables. I usually cook my lunches, and if I have to eat out, I'll eat salads.” Kushal Shah


“Paryushan is the most important event for Jains. A spiritual atmosphere is created among people who celebrate this holy parva for the upliftment of their souls. People perform Pratikraman, Samayik, and also go to listen Vyakhyan given by Jain monks. They fast in different ways. All these are done to seek forgiveness for all offenses done knowingly or unknowingly."

"During such times, at a place miles away from your homeland, balancing your professional life and spiritual side is very difficult. As people don't experience a spiritual environment which they may be used to back in India, it becomes a very challenging task to preserve and conserve their culture and values.” Prasham Shah




“Practicing restraint is one the hardest things for me. Not everyone can fast completely for eight or 10 days, but everyone can put a hold on something. Make small goals for yourself and restrain yourself on one more thing every year. For example, if you eat meat, then don't eat it for the Paryushan/Das Lakshan time. Today, not every part of religion is feasible for each person, so we need to bend the rules to make them fit to today's society. As long as we don't completely alter the meanings of rituals and traditions, in my opinion, the extra wiggle room is perfectly fine.” Vipasha Jain




"Paryushan is the time of year I feel most connected to my roots. Paryushan reminds me the teachings of Jainism as one of the most peaceful, practical, and scientific religions. I have had the privilege to experience Paryushan in the best way possible during my childhood in India. I was also fortunate enough to be sent to different towns in India for three years to conduct Paryushan activities where Jain monks were not present. However, the past few years have changed my experience, as I am looking inwards more."

"I came to Little Rock, Arkansas for my Master’s in 2016, during Paryushan. I was surprised to find no Jains living in the area and to be the only international student in my cohort. We had a multicultural class, and our professor asked about everyone’s religion. My classmates were surprised when I wrote down Jain. A lot of them were aware of Hinduism but had never heard of Jainism. That day, I shared what Jainism meant, how the religion started, and our beliefs. People were amazed and really intrigued by our religion. Since that day, all of the faculty members and fellow students had great admiration for our religion." Kinnari Stra


"I have started practicing single day fasting on every chaudus and changing my food habits to align with religious beliefs but also with health benefits. I wish everyone an incredible and enlightening Paryushan!"

Nilay Chheda


“During Paryushan, the hardest part of the whole week is maintaining mental toughness and resisting temptation. One week of restrictions can feel like a year, which is why it is hard for most secondgeneration Jains. The good thing is that people should embrace the week while it is happening, because it is one week during the whole year focused on shedding sins and cleansing one’s soul. It is rewarding to do something during this week. Tips I would give for college students are to try and visit a temple every day of the week if possible; if not, then at least pray every morning and

night. Partial fasting is something students do a lot because total fasting takes a toll on a student’s body. Also, try to practice Jainism in simple ways like not walking in grass and not eating after sundown.” Rishi Shah


“Paryushan was a tradition in my family growing up, and it brought us all together to show us what we were capable of. Paryushan showed me that with perseverance, you can fight through anything.” Parita Shah



"Paryushan/Das Lakshan is a time for me to reflect on the year so far. It provides a great opportunity to strengthen my ties to Jainism that I sometimes forget, don’t make time for, or overlook during the rest of the year. From performing Pratikaman to seeking forgiveness from others, it provides a wholeness to me. It’s a time of coming together with the feeling of a strong sense of community. It’s also a great point to see how New Year’s resolutions are going!" Rishabh Kodia



“As a kid, my parents enforced the seemingly arbitrary rules of Paryushan. After detaching myself from the rituals, bidding, and celebrations, I began to see these eight days in a different light. I believe that one of our core principles is to release the ego. Our ego motivates us to draw attention to ourselves and our deeds so that we might feel elevated amongst our peers. Paryushan is a time where we are supposed to reflect on ourselves, and the impact of our actions on others. However, the majority of people I speak with are more interested in other people's fasting routines, diets, donations, etc. It saddens me to see people preaching one set of values while so brazenly practicing the opposite. There is no need to speak or even think about what someone else is doing if you are wholeheartedly concentrated on your own improvement. Fasting during Paryushan and saying Micchami Dukkadam have no impact on their own if these actions are not accompanied by the correct intention.” Vishal Shah


Often when confronted with daunting and discouraging dilemmas, we seek solace in religion. But Jainism provides us far more than its socio-spiritual, compassionate principles. Annually, we get the chance to uplift ourselves, and this chance comes in the form of Paryushan. During these eight days of purification and forgiveness, we come closer to our souls through meditation, introspection, and dharmic study. On the first day of Paryushan last year, I opened up a book that enumerated the core teachings of Jainism, and the chapter on cosmology, in particular, showed me that my mundane life is connected to something far more substantial. Alone yet surrounded by a millennium of thinking, I was gratified to feel more connected to my religion. As we near Paryushan, it is important to recognize that an atma has no needs, unlike the mind and body. Rituals such as fasting and other ascetic activities are aimed to help us control our worldly desires, and in essence, bring us closer


to our true, self-sustained, and ebullient forms. In order to survive Paryushan amidst outside interferences, most notably school and work, I strive to do as much as I am able. If I cannot fast, I’ll try to limit what I consume and try to eat vegan meals instead. If I don’t get a chance to do samayak, I’ll read about Jainism throughout the day. Whether you perform a ritual exactly or practice its fundaments, recognizing the meaning behind the ritual is highly necessary. During the last stretch of an upvas when all I was craving was a seven-layer burrito, I kept morale up by recognizing that fasting was not only building my discipline but also benefitting my body— as various studies show—by detoxifying, enhancing digestion, and improving cognition. By studying Jainism through a curious, even skeptical lens, I’ve been able to follow Jainism in a resonating way. Besides, only by profoundly questioning our faith can we grow, and I highly encourage you to do so this Paryushan. Stuti Shah



I joined my sangh’s Sunday class when I was very young. Jain class has made me more connected to Bhagwan and created a safe place I look forward to attending. Being a Jain, I have practiced and followed Paryushan for many years. For me, Paryushan is a time when I ask for forgiveness and challenge myself by doing more taap, making sacrifices, and giving daan. We forgive those who have done wrongful things to us, but bigger than that, we seek forgiveness from those whom we have hurt knowingly or unknowingly. At home, I fast for one day and also do Samayik and Pratikraman. Although I only fast for one day, it teaches me how important it is to give things up. It is very important to practice sacrifice, even if it is only for one day. It teaches you the value of all the resources around us and how lucky we are. When we do Samayik, we ask God and those, human and non-human, who we have done wrongful things to, for forgiveness. Although some of those living beings will never know you are asking for forgiveness from them when you are doing Samayik, it is the fact that you are asking for forgiveness that will help you attain the true Jain attributes. Suhani Lodha





Paryushan Traditionally, festivals are a time for celebration, enjoyment, and entertainment. Jain festivals and rituals emphasize the spiritual aspects of Jainism. They are meant for renunciation, austerities, studying scriptures, reciting holy hymns, meditation, and expression of devotion for the Tirthankars which revitalize and strengthen our beliefs in Jainism. Jain festivals are known as Parvas, ‘one that purifies’ or an auspicious day.

so that we can concentrate on our true selves.

Paryushan is a time to reflect and repent for our undesirable activities of the previous year and to observe austerities to shed accumulated karma.

• Amäri Pravartan: Leading a non-violent life and working towards a non-violent world;

Paryushan consists of 8 days per Shvetämbar and 10 days per Digambar tradition. Paryushan falls during August or September. It starts on the 12th or 13th day of the dark half of the month Shrävan, during the monsoon season. While Jain monks and nuns do not stay at one place more than a few days during the non-rainy season, monsoon showers make it impossible for the monks to travel across the country. This coupled with Ahimsa make it difficult for them not to trample upon and hurt insects and other forms of life abundant in the monsoon. The last day of Paryushan, Samvatsari, is lebrated on the monsoon’s season 50th day. Monks and nuns settle during this time and remain at that place for the remaining monsoon season for the next 70 days. The purpose of life according to Jain teachings is to realize our true self, to experience wholeness with own soul, and to have reverence for all life. Therefore, Paryushan’s purpose is to purify our soul by staying closer to our soul, to look at our faults, to ask for forgiveness for our mistakes, and to take vows to minimize our faults. We strive to minimize our worldly affairs


During Paryushan, most temples hold regular ceremonies in their prayer rooms and meditation halls. During the first three days of Paryushan, Sädhus and Sädhvis deliver sermons related to the five essential activities that Shrävaks and Shrävikäs are required to do during Paryushan. These five essential activities are:

• Sädharmik Vätsalya: Respecting fellow beings who follow the Jain philosophy


• Attham Tapa: Fasting for three consecutive days

“Paryushan” has several different

• Chaitya Paripäti: Going in groups to different Jain temples for Darshan


• Kshamäpanä: Doing the Pratikraman asking for forgiveness.

1. Pari + ushan = all kinds + to burn =

On the fourth day of Paryushan, a ceremonious reverence is given to the Kalpa Sutra, a holy scripture that includes a detailed account of Bhagawän Mahävir’s life. The Kalpa Sutra is read to the congregation from the 4th through the last day of Paryushan. The most revered scripture for Shvetämbar Kalpa-sutra is taken from the eighth chapter of the Anga-bähya Ägam Dashäshruta Skandha. Kalpa-sutra describes rules for monastic life during rainy season, biography of Tirthankars, and a lineage of successors to the Ganadhars. On the fifth day, the auspicious dreams of Bhagawän Mahävir’s mother Trishalä are celebrated in a special ceremony.

to burn (shed) all types of karmas. 2. “ushan” = stay closer. Paryushan means to stay closer to our soul, 3. Pari + Upashamanä = Upashamanä means to suppress our passions (Kashäyas). Paryushan also means to be free from all passions.

Samvatsari Samvatsari, Paryushan’s final day, is its most important. On Samvatsari, Jains ask for forgiveness from family, friends, enemies, and anyone else with whom they have had problems and/or hard feelings for hurting them in any way, either knowingly or unknowingly, during the year. Forgiving all and not harboring ill will towards anyone is a definite step forward in the spiritual journey towards liberation.

ing, celibacy, and non-attachment.

Accordingly, the annual Samvatsari Pratikraman is the most important day in Jain tradition. "Prati" means, "back”, and "Kraman" means "to go”. Pratikraman, therefore, means to go back, review, confess, and repent for bad thoughts and actions in our daily activities. It also means going back to the path of non-violence, truthfulness, non-steal-

Asking for forgiveness is difficult, as it requires humility (Vinay) and suppression of anger. Therefore, our great Ächäryas have said, “Kshamä Virasya Bhushanam, Kshamäväni Michchhä Mi Dukkadam”. To ask for forgiveness is a great quality of the brave ones. If I have committed any mistakes, I ask for your forgiveness.

Pratikraman is like a mirror where we see ourselves internally. Pratikraman helps to stop the influx of karma that obscures the true nature of the soul. We cannot begin our spiritual journey without examining our faults, atoning for our faults by asking for forgiveness, and resolving not to commit them in future.

Das Lakshan Digambars celebrate a ten-day Das-Lakshanä Parva, which begins on the last day of Shvetämbar Paryushan. Each day of DasLakshanä is dedicated to one of the ten best characteristics of the soul. The practice of observing these virtues is not limited to only one particular religion or tradition; they belong to all mankind. They are following, where the prefix Uttama means supreme:

Khämemi Savva Jive, Savve Jivä Khamantu Me Mitti Me Savva Bhuesu, Veram Majjha na Kenai.

I forgive all living beings of the universe, May all living beings forgive me for my faults. I do not have any animosity towards anybody, and I have friendship for all living beings

• Uttama Ärjava (Straightforwardness) · Uttama Shaucha (Absence of greed, purity of mind) · Uttama Satya (Truthfulness) · Uttama Sanyam (Self-restraint) · Uttama Tapa (Penance) · Uttama Tyäg (Renunciation)

• Uttama Kshamä (Forgiveness and Forbearance)

· Uttama Äkinchanya (Absence of a feel ing of ownership)

• Uttama Märdava (Humility)

· Uttama Brahmacharya (Celibacy)








Muttville Senior Dog Rescue


Tell us about your organization. Muttville is a senior dog rescue in California. We rescue dogs from death row situations and find them new and loving homes. We believe in second chances. Muttville is 11 years old now, and we have saved over 6000 senior dogs and countless humans who adopt them, too!


How did you get involved and interested in animal rescue? I have always had an affinity with animals, I’ve not had meat in over 40 years. I started out volunteering at animal shelters in the mid 1990s and saw these beautiful happy older dogs being killed without even being put up for adoption. They were considered unwanted! Volunteering with animals gave me focus, taught me how to be present, and made me feel good to be giving back. Animals are very healing and so grateful! During that time, I also served on the San Francisco Animal Control and Welfare Commission where I worked on legislation for animals that can’t speak for themselves. My team helped get aging elephants out of the zoo and to a sanctuary, and I wrote legislation to set minimum standards for dogs being left outside. What has been your best memory and most rewarding aspect of your career? I am rewarded every day by helping animals and the people that love them. I love being able to use my voice for them. I feel honored that I have helped in changing the way the world thinks of these older dogs, and that people are now adopting them and that even shelters are putting them up for adoption now!

What do you wish more people knew about shelters? There are happy, wonderful animals dying in shelter due to lack of homes; adopt don’t shop! I see young poodles and Pomeranians and perfect German Shepherds and Australian Shepherds on death row. We need to let people know that it’s easy to save a life! Tell us about your dogs! Well, I may be biased, but Muttville dogs are the BEST! We have dogs of all sizes, 3 pounds to over 100 pounds, and get over 20 dogs in every week. We fully vet them prior to adoption so we can tell you about their needs. Our dogs are well socialized and over 7, some are super energetic and others are total couch potatoes. We really work to match make your dog with your expectations. How can people support their local shelter? I don’t know of an animal shelter that doesn’t need volunteers, money, towels and blankets, you name it. Reach out to them, get involved, it might actually be your own life you save, it’s very rewarding! Is there anything else you’d like to share? Go Vegan! If you love dogs and cats and eat pigs and chickens, don’t say you are an animal lover. Put your money where your mouth is - literally! and you will feel better, too!

I met the dog soulmate of my life, Niner, when he was a 13 year old Dalmation. His mom was also an animal rescuer that had brain cancer, so I took him in. We had three amazing years together; he taught me so much as dogs can do, every day mattered. His joy of life was infectious: he changed me.

Could you please tell us about your journey to where you are today? I grew up in Bangalore, India. I spent the first 18 years of my life there and was pretty set on continuing onward to college in India as well. Closer to my senior year, I realized that my interests in a broad and liberal arts based undergraduate educate might take me elsewhere. I applied to Yale early, got in, and then over the past four years, I lived in New Haven, Connecticut while I attended Yale. I came into Yale knowing that I wanted to be a computer science major because I was drawn to the leverage tech provided to help make people's lives easier. In particular, that leverage is key when it comes to our most important problems. Keeping that in mind, academically I focused on machine learning and extracurricularly I spent my time on entrepreneurial activities I worked in an environmental science lab, using data science and machine learning to help improve environmental science policy. I also worked as a Partner at a seed-stage venture capital firm, to develop my interest in entrepreneurship. Out of school, I've been working on Snackpass in Bay Area, California.

with toys, books or clothes, I'd cry almost every single time. I never understood why my friends at the orphanage didn’t have parents that loved them -- it wasn’t fair and pestering my parents never led to an answer. But rather than rationalize the situation to me, they emphasized that taking actions and helping others where I could was most important.

Udit Jain grew up in Bangalore, India. He moved to Connecticut to attend Yale where he studied Computer Science and Statistics and applied his interest in machine learning to better inform global environmental policy. While at Yale, he also served as a partner at Dorm Room Fund, an early stage venture capital firm where he invested in 10 companies that have since raised $10 million in follow on-capital. After graduation, Udit has been working as CTO at Snackpass. Now living in the Bay Area, he's trying to stop being vegetarian and commit fully to being vegan!

What role did Jainism play in your life growing up and how has it changed? Jainism had a strong influence on me growing up, especially growing up in India where extreme inequality was a daily sight . My parents really made sure that I understood the core ideas of Jainism -- they taught me to be sensitive to the pain of all other life forms and they showed me how to act to minimize other’s pain. I strive to live my life by that principle.

What was the greatest challenge faced by your shelter? How did you face it? Our shelter is always held back by our budget. Older dogs can cost more money to rescue and veterinary care takes a big chunk of our budget. I always say, never be afraid to ask for what you need. People are out there and want to help and besides, we aren’t asking for ourselves, we are asking for the animals.

5 Questions with Udit Jain

Sherri Franklin Founder and CEO CNN Hero 2016


What is a typical day like for you? There’s no real typical day at the moment. That's what I really like about the job - most days are atypical. The general structure is wake up, look at what are the most pressing problems for the day, be that fixing a bug, building a new feature, or interviewing someone for our open engineering positionsI like tackling that most important task and then moving on to the next most important one. These atypical days usually also end up being really long days which I enjoy too. I like to wrap up my days by reading some non-fiction, especially since I’ve been into historical non-fiction lately.

What are some of the biggest lessons that have impacted the way you work and approach problems? The lessons that impacted me most deeply are definitely from my upbringing which was inspired by Jainism. I was influenced heavily by Jainism’s ethical framework, and I use it even to decide which problems are worth working on -- which is to say, how should I be spending my time in the first place. When it comes to my work at a consumer company, those lessons are most impactful by reminding me to have a deep sense of empathy for our customers. Each person that uses our product has a slightly different way of integrating it into their lives. Being empathetic and sensitive to their nuanced needs helps me focus my work to best delight them. What advice would you share with young Jains interested in entrepreneurship? If down the road, you want to start and build something, don't sell yourself short today. Spend as much as time as you can working directly towards that goal today, even if it’s only a mini-version of that longer term ambition. Often times, young people delay their entrepreneurial ambitions for the perfect moment in the future. We’re frequently told that experience or prestige will help our entrepreneurial ambitions, but often the best way to gain expertise and credibility is by working directly on the problem you want to solve. Whenever most people start working on something new, it’s not perfect for quite a long time. It takes tenacity and patience to get there, so don’t wait for the perfect future moment to get started.

My earliest memories of those lessons are from when I was 3 or 4. My parents would take me to our local orphanage every weekend . I remember, initially, I didn’t like going to the orphanage every weekend. When we'd go every weekend





World Beyond War

lifestyle practices, in the world of activism, we've seen a change in the narrative, sparked by Occupy Wall Street, which introduced the concept of the 99 percent versus the 1 percent. Then the 2016 campaign of Bernie Sanders really inserted this concept into the mainstream dialogue, bringing to the forefront the economic injustice present in our corporatecontrolled “democracy.” The war system is what it is because it is profitable for corporations. If we can take the profit out of it, by divesting our money from companies that manufacture weapons, for example, that's one way of tearing it down.

What if our culture of war was replaced with one where nonviolent means of conflict resolution could take the place of bloodshed?

World Beyond War Japan & Tokai 100 Years Action held a candlelight vigil in Nagoya in support of peace & unity in Korea.

Greta Zarro Tell us about your journey to where you are today. Starting in the early 90s, I've been involved in alternative movements, beginning with growing up in an organic food store owned by my parents, which taught me about how our food choices impact the environment, animal wellbeing, and human health. This later led me to vegetarianism and then veganism in my teenage years.

as activists are advocating for, we must demilitarize our economy and reallocate war dollars to social and environmental needs, such as transitioning to renewable energy and providing people with clean water, free healthcare, and education. The U.S. government alone spends $1 trillion annually on war and preparations for war. Our work shows that only 3% of that could end starvation on earth.

I studied sociology and anthropology in college, and went on to do a graduate program in food studies. In the midst of the graduate program, I was offered a fulltime position with Food & Water Watch, an environmental nonprofit opposing fracking, water privatization, factory farming, and GMO foods, and advocating for the transition to 100% renewable energy. That got my foot in the door with mobilizing people in their communities to advocate for policy changes.

What does a typical day look like for you? It’s a combination of farming and World BEYOND War. I split my day doing outdoor work with our interns in the field growing organic fruits and vegetables, and doing World BEYOND War work, mostly via the computer and conference calls.

At the same time, my partner and I have an organic fruit and vegetable farm in upstate New York. After working for Food & Water Watch in New York City, and splitting our time between the city and upstate, we decided to move to the farm full-time. We have a solar-powered off-grid homestead and are really trying to minimize our impact on the earth. As I was looking for a job I could do remotely from my farm, I found World BEYOND War. We are a global, grassroots network advocating for the end to all war. In my job as World BEYOND War’s Organizing Director, I am able to connect with people all over the world from Iran, to Afghanistan, and Vietnam and everywhere in between. It's amazing what the Internet can do, connecting us as a global community. World BEYOND War’s holistic approach resonated with me. Our work addresses the war system’s multi-faceted social and ecological impacts, which connected back to, and built upon, my previous activism and organizing work. If we want to make progress on any of the “progressive” issues that we


A key part of movement-building is working in coalition with other groups, whether antiwar groups specifically, or allies, like faith communities or environmental organizations. So, as an organizer, I spend a good portion of my time networking with other groups to jointly plan campaigns, like a petition or call-in day. Much of my day-to-day is emailing or phoning individuals and allied organizations to plan out campaign strategy, event logistics, and recruit attendees. I also draft the language for our email content, web articles, and social media posts. And I manage our volunteers, who help with doing research, writing articles, organizing events, and starting World BEYOND War chapters around the world. (Check out our global event map!) The beauty of this kind of work is that it’s collaborative, global, and coordinated online (primarily via email). Anyone can join the movement for war abolition by reaching out to us about getting involved, such as by organising their own event in their local area or helping to do research and write articles for our website. Much of our work involves providing people with the educational resources and organizing assistance to make anti-war events and campaigns successful.

Is there anything that you find yourself doing today that when you were younger you'd think that you'd never do? Although I could never expect what life would bring me, I am not surprised by where I’m at today, because my life has progressed in a holistic way, with each new experience growing from the knowledge of the previous one. I’ve always had a passion for food policy, environmentalism, organizing, and justice work, so it makes sense for me to be at this place in my life doing organic farming and community organizing.

Share a few goals World BEYOND War is working towards. There are multiple needed action steps to achieve war abolition, which I refer to as “withdrawing the people,” “withdrawing the profits,” and “withdrawing the infrastructure.” 1. By “withdrawing the people,” I mean countering military recruitment by advocating for increased transparency and expanded avenues for opting out of recruitment. Parents in the U.S. legally have the right to opt their children out of recruitment - but most parents are not properly informed of this right, so the Pentagon automatically gets children’s names and contact information. The counter-recruitment campaign is also targeted at passing state-level legislation to stop JROTC school marksmanship programs. 2. “Withdraw the profits”: By this, I am referring to war divestment, i.e. divesting public pension funds, retirement savings and 401K plans, university endowments, and other state-owned, municipal, institutional, or personal funds from companies that invest in military contractors and weapons manufacturers. Visit our Divest page to use the Weapon Free Funds database to see if you’re unknowingly financing war and find alternative, socially-responsible investment options. 3. The third action step is withdrawing the infrastructure of war, and by this, I’m specifically referring to World BEYOND War’s campaign to close military bases, with particular emphasis on U.S. bases, which constitute 95% of all foreign military bases. Foreign military bases are centers of warmongering and expansionism, causing severe environmental, economic, political, and health impacts on local populations.

If you could clarify a misconception about your work, what would it be? I think the biggest misconception is that if you’re not a “peace activist,” then this work doesn’t involve you. But what World BEYOND War illustrates in our work is the way in which the war system is at the heart of so many of the issues that we’re facing as a species and planet - from climate change and the refugee crisis, to economic inequality, the erosion of civil liberties, and police brutality, to world hunger and the misallocation of global resources. With world governments spending a combined two trillion dollars a year on war and preparations for war, everyone around the world has a stake in the war abolition movement. Whatever cause you care about - be it human rights, education, clean water, or lowering taxes - all of these issues are hindered until we demilitarize our economy and reallocate war dollars to social and environmental needs. What are some of the changes in our society that you have seen in your lifetime so far? I’ve seen an awakening in terms of alternative movements, such as the organic food movement, alternative lifestyles in general, and in a way, relearning traditional skills. What I mean by that is reviving certain handicrafts, building styles, and food practices that are beneficial for our health and the planet, in comparison to the current industrialized system.

Pat Elder of World BEYOND War is shown here leading a demonstration in Ramstein Germany. He is flanked by leading activists ..from South Korea, Germany, Syria, France, and the Netherlands.

In addition to these growing alternative lifestyle practices, in the world of activism,


What is something that you're really proud of and why? This year, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, we witnessed the revival of the Poor People’s Campaign, which highlights what MLK called the ‘three evils’ (racism, poverty, and war). By drawing these cross-connections between the issues of militarism and economic and racial injustice, along with the added focus on environmental injustice, the Poor People’s Campaign has caused a renewed awareness of the importance of fusion organizing, or what I call intersectional activism. It was really exciting to see so many diverse organizations, World BEYOND War being one of them, joining the coalition. Over 100 organizations nationally led a successful 40 Days of Action which concluded on June 23rd. I think this emphasis on fusion organizing signals a hopeful directional shift in our movement. We can no longer stay in our “issue silos;” we must collaboratively tackle the underlying systemic issues - such as the current militarization of our society, economy, and government - that impede progress on human and environmental justice.

This year marks World BEYOND War’s third annual conference, “No War 2018”, hosted in Toronto, Canada on September 21st and 22nd. This year's theme is War and Law, regarding how law has been used to legitimize war and how law can be used to restrain war. We’ve lined up leading experts from around the world talking about different legal frameworks and modes of global governance needed to move us towards a world beyond war. The conference will include workshops, plenaries, discussion sessions, a film screening, live music, a book talk, and concluding peace march in Toronto. I encourage you to join us for #NoWar2018 to celebrate the International Day of Peace, this September 21-22. ...





Meet Ambika Bumb, CEO of Bikanta Using Nanodiamonds to Detect Cancer Tell us about your journey to where you are today. My family is the starting point of my journey. My father came to the U.S. for his education; he was the first in the family to get a PhD. My mom was the first female in her town to get a STEM college degree. They both truly value education and engrained that into myself, my brother, and my sister. I always enjoyed the sciences, economics, and some legal studies as well. When I went to Georgia Tech for undergrad, I decided to do biomedical engineering with an economics minor as it combined most of these interests. I really loved my experience. I took a peer-based learning biomed class in my first semester. They gave you a problem, and you had a few weeks to figure out how you, as an engineer in that situation, would handle it. During that time, mad cow disease was a problem. We learned how this disease originated from prions which can very easily transfer and create further disease. How do you keep it decontaminated and design something to do that? Rather than being taught in a classroom setting, tackling a complex problem such as this was fun. Obviously, we weren't trained engineers, but it gave us a quick glance into what it would be like to be a biomedical engineer. As I went through Tech for 3 years, more and more, I liked the concepts we were using in engineering to solve medical problems. I was deciding if I wanted to go into medicine or not, and I ended up getting a scholarship that allowed me to go to the UK, called the Marshall Scholarship. I also received a scholarship that allowed me to pick who I wanted to work with at both Oxford and the NIH in DC to do a PhD. I decided to work on using nanotechnology to create a platform particle that could be used across three different kinds of imaging modalities. Using this technology that I was developing, I studied imaging a wide range of pathologies from autoimmune disease to breast and brain cancer. How do we detect these diseases better and potentially deliver a drug to them better?


Afterward completing my doctoral studies, I did two postdoctoral fellowships in the field of nanomedicine at the NIH, one at the National Cancer Institute, and one at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. In nanomedicine, my interest is in creating technology and translating that to the clinic and so I in my second postdoc, we were working on a technology on the development of nanodiamonds that can solve very specific problems in imaging. That led to the launch of Bikanta which I started in 2014 here in the Bay Area. For the last few years, we've worked on developing the technology, getting it through R&D into commercial viability, and now, we’re raising money to try to further preclinical and clinical studies.

of our company culture stemmed from some values in Jainism about honesty and truth with all of our partners and customers. What is a memorable moment of your life? Having a daughter. I feel like I was a mother long before I had her, making decisions on career and life based on when I’ll be a mother. So when she arrived, it was like I could feel mypath coming to fruition. When I was pregnant, I had a hardto-describe sense of connection. I could see and feel her physically

moving and kicking in me, but there was also a lot of emotional connect. Whenever I was having difficult questions or decisions I had problemsolve, she sensed it and Share what a typical day is like for you today. What's typical is that things are not very typical. The only things that are regular is that I get up, get my daughter ready and go to work. At work, at different times, there are different things I need to focus on. It might be legal strategy, a technical team a new relationship with a scientific partner or an industry partner. Sometimes it's doing HR work like payroll or looking at our medical benefits. There isn't a lot of routine, because there are so many things you have to tackle when running a company. I also started developing a role with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and there's a lot of work related to that that comes through.

What role did Jainism play in your life as a child and how has that changed over time? When I was younger, we would read a lot of texts and have discussions as a community every week. My parents were very thoughtful in wanting to explain why we do the things we do and having discussions about them. Getting a better understanding of what Jainism is formed the basis from which I moved forward. One big part about Jainism is being introspective - thinking through your actions and having reasons for why you're doing what you're doing. The Mahavrat often guide those actions.

What's typical is that I leave work at a certain time as I have to get home to take care of my daughter. When she's asleep, I go back to tackling all these professional responsibilities. There's a sense of routine that I go in and work and come back, but what I'm doing during work hours is very different on different times.

Throughout R&D and technology development, Jainism has shaped my thought about the work we're doing. Any medical development has to be eventually be tested, so how do you do testing in animals, organisms, or cells in a responsible manner? What are the benefits of what you're doing? If it's not beneficial, you don't do it. You're smart and productive about how you define the study.

How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition? A lot of times, words used to define success include highquality, innovative, novel, or achievement. Sometimes in a business setting, success might be defined by financial targets that you hit. Those are good to help get goals, but that's not how I personally define success.

Jainism also played a role in how I develop relationships. In our company, at Bikanta, we spent a lot of time discussing the cultural values of the company. We defined them the word IMAGINE, where each letter means a different core value.

For me, it's a feeling of satisfaction that what I'm trying to achieve is positive in an impactful way for society, achieving a goal that is going to

My contribution to the definition



benefit many people. I may not get to see that entire benefit myself but it's a goal that will benefit others as well, and I have done my best to try to get to that target. The initial part of actually setting good goals is something that I think a lot about, so I would probably say I am measuring up to my expectations on that part. On the part of achieving the goals I set, there are always things I could try to improve or do more effectively. So maybe overall, 8 out of 10? What is a professional challenge that you've faced and how have you overcome it? One huge thing about companies in the nanotechnology space is making products stable for commercial viability. A lot of great nanotechnology ideas are very early and more scientific. You get great results and can immediately use them for a short-term purpose, but if you're trying to create large

quantities that have shelf-life and consistency, that can be a problem. There were technical issues in this area of R&D that needed to be solved. The way that I went about solving it was hiring a really good team. I don't think science or other such large initiatives are achieved individually. It’s all about working with the right people and creating a good environment to encourage productivity. We were able to come up with solutions that got a result on a much earlier time frame than I was anticipating. That's just a theme in general in a lot of career problems or challenges that I've had: tackling difficult problems by collaborating and working in a team. My PhD project that I mentioned - I had four different advisors in four different fields in four different institutes across two different countries. We were looking at big problems that were solved much more efficiently and effectively in a collaborative manner.

What advice would you share

with young Jains today? No matter what your field or direction you go in, study yourself and what centers you and gives you stable happiness and joy. Knowing that helps you in any situation you're in, professionally or not. Understanding yourself is a big part of handling challenging situations and I think that comes through self-introspection which often involves religion. It can come from other things as well, but if you're a Jain and you relate to certain values in Jainism, understanding what they mean for you and how you use them in your life in your decision making is important. The more in depth you understand these things the more it helps you find happiness as you move forward and face challenges. I don't think anyone's life is going to be challenge-free. You're going to face different kinds of difficulties but in those instances, having something that you can relate back to, that grounds, centers, or guides you, is helpful in helping you navigate. Thinking through these things intentionally, not just practicing something because you might have grown up in that environment. Intentional practice and self-analysis are what I would say are important.





Mid-Atlantic Summer at Six Flags What's better than making chutney sandwiches? Making chutney sandwiches in the parking lot of an amusement park while jamming to some Bollywood music!

Summertime never seems to last long enough. And that’s coming from someone raised in New Jersey. While my mode of transport changed from a three-wheeler bike to a car, one thing has been a constant during summertime: homegrown squash.

The Mid-Atlantic region took on Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. Cloudy skies cleared up for a beautiful day in the park filled with roller coasters that made us

Every year, the size of the squash that grew in my backyard amazed me. I eventually outgrew the squash in size, but its grand presence on the kitchen counter never failed to amaze me. There’s something special about watching every step of the food process - from production to consumption. My uncle and grandfather spent hours in the garden, and I occasionally tagged along to watch an art I did not yet understand. I view gardening as an art that requires many qualities - patience, knowledge, and a connection to the natural world. I didn’t become engulfed in this art myself until college when I became a plant waterer for my freshman dorm. Yup, that’s right. I voluntarily chose to repot and water about 15 plants every Friday after class. A little retrospection tells me that there was something familiar about the responsibility. Maybe it was getting to be part of collective growth. Maybe I sensed a piece of home in the seemingly trivial role. Regardless, my freshman year of college was a little lusher because of the experience.

scream "AHHH" and #yjalove that had us saying "awww".

West Coast RC Pranay Patni hosted a fun and competitive night that's impastable to beat filled with everyone’s favorite board games: codenames, secret hitler, catan, and smallworld!

When I proposed a Garden Project as a service event for youth in the Mid-Atlantic region, I envisioned people of all ages coming together to connect with one another and their environments. I thought about all the memories I had around planting and gardening, and how our communities might benefit from forging their own. In June of this year, the Jain Society of Metropolitan Washington and a few youth in the area made this vision come true. The incredible group met up to plant flowers at JSMW’s new temple site. If you’re in the area, stop by and take a look! It goes without saying that the future Derasar will lie upon a foundation of its community’s hard work. Shoutout to all of you who helped carry out the idea!

West Game Night "The Game Night was a really fun way to connect with my YJA community one last time before summer ends. It was great to see old friends and make new ones, as we bonded over Codenames, Catan, and delicious food!"

Mansi Shah

--Anokhi Saklecha










Do you know these amazing mandirs?


A Jain temple is a beautiful, quiet and peaceful place to reflect upon our nature and soul. The idols of Tirthankars and the temple’s environment promote introspection, and bring home the feeling that God resides within one’s own soul. Therefore, each person can follow a path of purification of the inner self, devoid of anger, ego, deceit, and greed.

4 5

When we enter the temple we say Nissihi, meaning ‘to leave behind’. This means that by mind, speech and action we are leaving all our worldly relations outside the temple, which in turn results in leaving our vices or ‘Kashäyas’ which are anger, ego, deceit and greed.


We should go to a temple in clean, simple clothes. We should not wear pearls, silk, fur and leather as they are obtained by killing oysters, worms and animals. Before entering

the temple, we must take off our shoes. Temples of the Digambar sect have the idols of Tirthankars in their natural unadorned form with their eyes semi-closed in meditation. It represents the Tirthankar (Jina) as a liberated soul (free from attachment and aversion). Temples of the Shvetämbar sect have the idols adorned in a very elegant manner. The eyes vividly communicate peace and loving compassion. Positive vibrations emanate from the adorned energy centers. Shvetämbar idols are often times vividly decorated with colorful golden and silver threads called Ängi. It represents the Tirthankar as a spiritual king and sovereign victor of all the inner enemies and five senses.







The Jains in Belgium are estimated to be around about 1,500 people. The principal deity of the temple is Bhagwan Parshvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankar.

The Gommateshwara statue is dedicated to the Jain god Bahubali. It was built around 983 A.D. and is one of the largest free standing statues in the world.

According to Jain texts, since the time of Chandraprabhu (the 8th Teerthankar), five & half crores of ascetic saints have achieved moksha (liberation) here.

Jainism in Kenya has been present for about 100 years. It is practiced by a small community that actively organizes Jain conventions, film festivals and other community programs.





The temple is known for an avian veterinary hospital, called the Jain Birds Hospital, in a second building behind the main temple.

Remains of three temples, are present. In 1897, two of them were being used as cattle stalls and the third had holes in the back. The oldest temple, was built in the classical style with stones.

The history of the Halari Visa Oshwal Community commences dates back to 457 B.C. when the state of Ossiya was founded and the King, ministers and a large number of soldiers and their families gave up the consumption of alcohol and meat and converted to the Jain faith.




Palitana is associated with Jain legends and history. Ādinātha, the first of the Jain tirthankaras, is said to have meditated on the Shatrunjaya hill, where the Palitana temples were later constructed.




WITNESS, STOP, ASK, BE QUIET, OR GIVE SPACE? Solving a moral dilemma between empathetically intruding and intentionally retreating.

It was 4:43PM on an April evening, and my second midterm season was just coming to an end. I was rushing through the streets of the Bay State road to reach the Undergraduate Research office before it closed at 5PM sharp. I clutched my signed acceptance letter for the summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), as my anxiety heightened. I knew this was the last day to submit the letter, and I was racing the clock.

never take anything from them in return. I used to get annoyed. I would wonder, why do we always give more than we receive? But today, 20 years later, it is all making sense to me. The power of giving lies with everyone: whether it be in the form of help, verbal appreciation, or a small present. If not more, all these small acts of kindness and affection would definitely bring a smile to any individual’s face and mean a lot more to them than one could imagine!

The office was a 12 minute walk away; however, with my brisk pace, I concluded I could get there in half the time. As I halfjogged over, I reflected on how project deadlines in the Boston University Engineering department had taught me to be overly calculative with every single minute! I was about halfway to the office and feeling pretty proud of the seconds I was shedding from the estimated time of arrival. That’s when I ran into her.

J.K Rowling once said, “indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”

I had met Amina in my Electric Circuits lecture a few months back. She was originally from Algeria and had moved to the US two years ago, where she learned to speak, read, and write English. I overheard her on a phone call, which seemed to be with her husband, and I instantly stopped in my tracks. Her extremely upset tone sparked a rising concern in me. In those moments, a moral dilemma crept up: should I stop and console her; or should I keep walking and focus on making my deadline. 10 minutes remained. I had seconds to decide, and my gut was telling me one thing, while my head was turning the other direction. It wasn’t life or death, but it did feel like a gamble: I could intentionally be indifferent and stay out of her business, saving the possible consequence of her being uncomfortable with my interference OR I could stop and ask her what was wrong, making her feel cared and valued. “If you can’t help, at least don’t hurt” chanted my head. “If you can help, then help” retorted my heart. In the end, my heart won. Knowing both of these actions had unexpected reactions, showing compassion, rather than staying quiet felt like the right thing to do. As I turned and opened my mouth to ask if she was okay, I saw her light up. She was still on the phone with her husband, tears streaming down her cheeks, but I saw a flicker of happiness in her eyes. That instant gratification motivated me to make an effort to understand what had happened and how I could help. The five minutes that I spent listening to her, with the hope of consoling her, at the risk of not being able to make it to the office in time, felt beyond meaningful. Several hours later, when my application was (thankfully) safely submitted to the Undergraduate Research Office and I thought Amina would have reached home, I messaged her a simple “Hey, how are you doing?” I later learned that she had changed phones and had lost all of her existing contacts in the process, so when she got my message, she had no idea who’s number it was. Her first guess: “Darshi?” Out of all the possibilities she could have guessed, she guessed my name. A realization started to kick in: maybe I was the only person who had reached out to check on her that day. Those few minutes that I had spent listening to her, in the midst of a busy afternoon, meant a lot to her, making that time even more precious. Growing up, I saw my parents going out of their way to help people on a daily basis. This instilled in me a greater sense of empathy, kindness, and compassion toward other beings. It was from their actions that I learned the beauty and self-contentment in helping others, without expecting anything in return. It is funny to think back to when I was a kid, my parents would always give things to people but would ask my brother and I to




With the right intentions and genuine efforts, refrain from forcing yourself to be indifferent and “staying out of people’s business” because you would never be interfering! In the worst case, the person you approach will not take your offer of help, but at least you will have the self-contentment that you tried your best. More than that, you will not have to ask yourself with guilt, “What if I stopped and asked if they were okay? Would my words or actions have made the person feel a little better?” You will not have to be lost in the mystery of the answers to these questions, because the majority of the time, the answer will be YES! Such a small incident helped me realize the distinction between the three prominent forms of happiness that we as human beings experience: At least for me, there is one type of happiness I feel from personal achievements, whether it be making it to the Dean’s list every semester, or as simple as being consistent with my daily workout schedule. Another form of happiness, which is often left undiscovered or unrecognized is the one that comes by doing something that made someone who you care about, and value, happy, because we often take people who we are constantly surrounded by, for granted! Whether it be surprise visiting your parents, organizing a surprise birthday party for your friends, or as simple, yet as thoughtful as bringing your roommate his/her favorite snack/chocolate/ice-cream. And the third kind is when you show compassion to a stranger on the street. I think it is one of the most beautiful forms of happiness, because you may never see the person again in your life, and there are no expectations attached of receiving anything in return. Or you may become lifelong friends and that moment could be a turning point in both of your lives. This is how I felt while I helped the girl I had recently met! All these little acts of kindness, often might seem trivial and not worth the time in everyone’s busy lives, however, not only do they make you feel good from the inside, but they also serve as reminders to others that their presence matters. Desmond Tutu’s words ring true, and my hope is that they resonate with you the way they do with me: “do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Darshi Shah






The Retreat... YJA MidBest came together for thrilling rides, Indian snack themed Empire, and sessions that challenged our viewpoints. Long lines allowed us to make new friends, laugh with old, and overall, leave us with enough memories to last us till next time #yjalove #YJASummertimeRetreats #midbest #ghundarnighas #spicyghatiya

CEDAR POINT "This was my first Retreat, and I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure about attending because of work commitments, and because I didn’t have a car to drive to Sandusky. But the Mid-West coordinators addressed everyone’s requests and concerns: from hotel accommodations to delicious Jain food to organizing great sessions. The best part about the Retreat was meeting some incredible people and making everlasting memories! I hope to see all of them again at the next retreat and play “Contact” or “Werewolf” all night!" --Oshin Kavadia





Breathing and Meditation: Jainism in Action


Bhavisha Shroff With Paryushan coming up, I’m sure most of us will try and perform at least one Pratikraman,

In meditation, we begin to tame our mind, first by choosing a point of focus. Your focus point

preferably on Samvatsari Day. During Pratikraman, we perform Kayotsarga or Kausagga, an

can be your breathing, a visualization, a mantra, or a guided journey.

awareness that our self is our soul and not our body. Kayotsarga is the fifth essential activity for shravaks and shravikas, where we strive to detach from our body and tune with our self.

Bringing your awareness to your natural breath is a good place to start meditating. Breathing fills every second of our lives, yet most of us take breathing for granted. Structured and careful

Kayotsarga involves the restraint of speech, mind, and body. A step before Kayotsarga is

breathing is the harness that unites the body and mind. Developing breath awareness is

Dhyaan, or Meditation, restraint of speech and mind. We need to meditate to calm our

important because it will focus your mind and support your body.

restless mind and control our thoughts before we can control our body. Meditation involves concentrating the mind on some object or mental image, and it can be done standing up, lying down, or even while walking.

In Jainism, there is no specific mention of breathing, or Pranayama, control of respiration. However, there is a kind of Pranayama described in the Avasyaka Sutra. It states that during

Meditation is a practice in many religious and spiritual traditions. The word meditation has

Pratikraman, one should observe a particular number of breaths that depends upon the kind of

different meanings and misconceptions, the most common being that you just do it and

Pratikraman performed.

that directions are not necessary. We think we do not need to learn anything about how to meditate. However, meditation involves much more than sitting still. Meditation is not

During breathing practices, it is preferable to breathe in and out through your nose, if possible.

another “something” to do. It requires learning to let go, and it can’t be forced. For beginners,

At the start of any breathing exercises, take a few moments to notice your natural unaltered

it is expected that the mind will wander. That is what minds like to do: thoughts come and

breath. Observe your habitual breathing patterns. What parts of your body expand and

thoughts go. If you experience this, simply make a note of that and start over. Meditation takes

contract as you breathe? While inhaling, the belly and chest should expand and they should

practice. The duration of meditation is not as important as the quality of calmness you provide

contract with exhaling. Does your breath feel shallow or deep, rough or smooth? Try and make

to your nervous system.

your breathing soft, smooth and even—calm and without any strain. While breathing, your mind may get distracted, jumping from one thought to next.

You can start practicing meditation for a minute and increase each time you practice. A daily 5 minute meditation practice can have great benefits like:

One way to control your mind is to assign a length to your breath by silently counting as

• reducing stress and anxiety,

you breathe — inhale 1,2,3,… and exhale 1,2,3,… Adjust the speed of your counting to match

• improving sleep,

the natural length of your breath so you can breathe with the least possible effort. Without

• quieting the mind,

full awareness of breathing, there can be no development of meditative stability and

• lowering blood pressure,

understanding. Taking time to breathe can lead quite naturally into a moment of meditation.

• happiness, emotional stability, and many more. Mindful breathing is at once a physical health practice, mental health practice, and meditation. Meditation requires 3 things:

It is not just breath training; it is mind training that uses the breath as a vehicle. It makes your

1. A comfortable position.

entire life better and helps you know thyself. As it is written in Shree Acharanga Sutra, “He

2. A commitment to being curious about how it feels to not think.

who knows one (soul), also know all; he who knows all, knows the one”.

3. The promise to yourself not to judge what comes up or happens. Just observe and let go.







Fasting During Paryushan and Das Lakshan Paryushan is a holiday that is really important in my family. Ever since I was a little girl, my parents stressed the importance of self-control during Paryushan. I would try fasting as much as I was physically able to do, and if for some reason I couldn’t fast, I would try to give up one food item that I really liked. Growing up and going to the temple for Parna, I saw all the tapasvi’s that managed to do attais, mas khaman, varsitap, and various other rigorous penances, and I always wished that someday I would physically be able to do that too. Every year, I try to start the first day of Paryushan by doing an upvas, so in 2015, I started Paryushan the same way. I woke up early to do parna, but when I got out of bed, I felt fine. My mom gave me the pachkan book and some food in case I wanted to break my fast at school. The hunger I felt throughout the day was quickly forgotten as I engrossed myself in classes and schoolwork. I came home, and I felt fine, so I kept on going as long as I was physically able to. I ended up being able to fast for the whole 8 days. For me, the hardest part of this whole experience wasn’t so much the physical discomfort, but the mental self-control. Fasting while in school actually made it easier for me because I would have


classes to distract me and my friends to keep encouraging me. The hardest part for me was battling my temptations and controlling my thoughts. Sometimes when I came home to the huge jar of Nutella on our kitchen counter, my first thought would be that I should break my fast so I could eat it. During the first few days, it took a lot of selftalk to remind myself that what I was doing was for the betterment of my soul and that in the long run, I would be helping myself. Towards the end of the eight days, I started becoming better at controlling those thoughts and temptations to the point where they gradually started disappearing. At the end of the eight days, I felt so much lighter, physically and mentally. I felt like I could focus much more on my surroundings, and I started being able to control my thoughts a lot more. I felt much more content with what I had and much more confident in the way I presented myself. Although I have not been able to fast like that again, Paryushan still remains a festival close to my heart, and every year I try to spend those eight days controlling my thoughts and temptations in order to better my soul. Juhi Nahata

Two years ago, a month into my junior year of college, I did my first atthai. While I had fasted before, I’d never tried to fast consecutively, so this was a new experience for me. Also, at the time, I was taking 18 credit hours, had a job, and was an intern at an events company. I’d be out of the house for 14 or more hours a day, and I spent a lot of time driving between my house, school, and where I interned. Despite all this, I felt compelled to try. The first few days of fasting were fine. I felt the normal hunger pains one would expect from not eating, but other than that, I had a decent amount of energy, and my classes, job, and internship kept my mind off of eating. However, after four days, I started to feel fatigued and realized that, in my current state, I couldn’t drive myself anymore. Thankfully, a friend offered to drive me to school, but I had to call in sick at my internship and work from home. I spent the last three days of my atthai at home with a lot more time on my hands which allowed me to pray and remember the reasons I was attempting this atthai in the first place. I thought about myself and the people I’ve affected, as well as those who’ve affected me. I thought about forgiveness, compassion, and understanding. I thought about what I could do to be a better Jain and to live my


life according to Jainism’s main principles. In hindsight, I don’t know that I’d do an atthai the same way again. While my chaotic schedule did keep my mind off of food (which, I won’t lie, was extremely difficult the first few days), I found that the more rewarding days were the ones I spent at home praying with my family and focusing on my relationship with Jainism. I would’ve had more time to do these things had I not had the obligations that come with being a student or an employee - but in my case, and for many others, it’s not possible to drop these responsibilities. Ultimately, I think Paryushan has always been about doing what you can, and doing it wholeheartedly and with good intentions. That’s something we can all strive for this year. To someone considering fasting while working or attending school, I’d say: Drink water, have a reliable support system, and take time to reflect on why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Heena Momaya


At 13, I was inspired by my cousin, Rushabh Daulat, to complete an atthai. I had fasted for 1 or 2 consecutive days at most, without too much trouble, so I thought that giving up food for only 8 days out of 365 would not be extremely difficult with the right mindset. On the first day of fasting, I had no troubles: I went to school, finished my homework, and did Pratikraman and samayik at night. The second day was a Saturday, so I went to the temple in the morning and continued to do Pratikraman and samayik at night without any troubles. However, by the third day, I could feel my stomach yearning for food, growling more than it ever did, while my strength tremendously decreased. I had trouble reading books, participating in the puja at the temple, and focusing during Pratikraman and samayik. This intense feeling of hunger led me to question my purpose in fasting. After self-reflection, I realized my goal was to decrease attachment towards food and to restrict it from affecting my emotions. A lack of food can cause people to become agitated, frustrated, and sadder. Therefore, I decided to continue fasting to test my strength and stability without a usually vital source of satisfaction. Surprisingly, as I continued the fast, my body started to feel less hungry. This adaptation did not stop my desire to eat, but made me realize how the desire for food is more of an attachment than a necessity. As I shifted my focus and decreased my attachment towards food, fasting became much easier.

Even with a strong mindset and adapting body, completing the atthai was still difficult. Without food, my body started to have acid build up, causing me to feel nauseous when I drank water. Luckily, this obstacle did not stop me from fasting, because I knew I could control my desire for water. Also, passing time was a difficulty in the beginning. Since Paryushan is a time of self-purification, I gave up my attachment towards electronics and games, so I did not know what else to do. The adjustment became easier as I started spending more time on religious activities and meditation. These simple tasks helped me relax my mind and be more comfortable during my fast. You may wonder, what did I learn from not eating for 8 days? Many people would consider fasting miserable. On the contrary, I believe that my atthai is one of my greatest experiences. I learned how to find strength when I am physically weak, to find peace when filled with frustration, and most importantly, to be happy when attachment is the source of sadness. Since the fast, I have been less attached to food, clothes, electronics, and other worldly materials in an attempt to not letting these items affect my happiness. Without question, I would encourage everyone to try completing an atthai and witness the wonderful experience themselves. Sohail Daulat






The Retreat... The South Region wrapped up the summer Texas style - with a fun-filled sun-filled retreat that included hiking, billiards, sessions on veganism and values, and late night mafia! And of course what is a South Retreat without true authentic Jain Tex-Mex food! Taco-bout a great time with your YJA family. #DontDoubtTheSouth

#Don'tDoubtTheSouth “Being away from India where all of my family except my parents and my aunt are often made me feel not at home in America but when I got to make YJA friends at both of the South Retreat this year I got this amazing feeling of family and community that made me feel like I belong in America. Everybody at the retreats are so welcoming and friendly. I’m very grateful to the YJA Board and Prapti and Sid for making these retreats happen.” --Rupal Sanghavi






To Good Health



1/2 cup dry old fashioned oats 1 cup water 1 small or medium banana 2-3 Tbsp. hemp seeds or wheat germ 1 Tbsp. unsweetened dark cocoa powder 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 cup plant milk or more to taste

• 3/4 cup frozen cherries • 2 Tbsp. chopped nuts (pecans or almonds) INSTRUCTIONS 1. Place frozen cherries in a small microwavesafe bowl and cook on high for 30 seconds. 2. Stir and cook on high for another 30 seconds and then set aside. 3. Mash banana with a fork in a large microwave-safe bowl. 4. Add oats, water, hemp seeds (or wheat germ), cocoa powder and cinnamon to the bowl and stir to mix. 5. Microwave bowl of oats on high for approximately 4 minutes. (Make sure bowl is large enough that oatmeal will not spill when it expands during cooking.) 6. Remove cooked oats from microwave and stir in 1/4 cup or more of plant milk to reach desired consistency. 7. Spoon warmed cherries over the top - include some of the cherry juice if desired. Sprinkle with nuts and enjoy.

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal






INGREDIENTS • 1 cup almond • ½ cup ghee (alternative: coconut oil, olive oil) • 2 tbsp wheat flour • ¾ cup sugar (alternative - jaggery) • 2 cups water • A Pinch cardamom powder (optional) INSTRUCTIONS 1. Blanch almonds. Then, grind almonds to a coarse paste in a food processor. 2. Heat ghee in a pan, add wheat flour, sauté until the raw smell of the flour is gone and a nice cooked aroma comes out. 3. Add the almond paste to the pan and roast it for 20 minutes. 4. Add sugar and hot water and cook until ghee starts oozing from sides. 5. Garnish with shredded almonds and serve hot.






TOTAL TIME 15 MINUTES SERVINGS 4 AUTHOR TARLA DALAL INGREDIENTS • 1 cup besan, 1/2 tbsp rava, 1/2 tsp citric acid, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp chilli paste, 1 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and sesame seeds, fruit salt, coriander

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Wash and add rice and dal to a

3. 4.


cooker. Pour 2 cups water, add salt. Cook until rice is soft (1 to 2 whistles). Open lid when pressure goes up. Let water evaporate and rice reach creamy, not runny or dry, stage. Fry cashews. Set aside. Add cumin and pepper corn, once they splutter, add ginger and turmeric. Pour on the pongal. Mix and simmer for a minutes off the stove.


Nut Date balls: Blitz 1.5 cups dates and nuts in a food processor. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time and roll into little balls.

seeds, sesame seeds, green chillies and microwave on high for 1 minute. 6. Pour equal quantities over both batches of steamed dhoklas and garnish it with coriander. 7. Cut into pieces, garnish with coriander and serve immediately.

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Mix besan, rava, citric acid, sugar, chilli paste and salt with ¾ cup of water in a deep bowl. 2. Add fruit salt and 1 tbsp of water over it. When the bubbles form, mix gently. 3. Pour half the batter into a greased 6" diameter dish and microwave on high for 2 minutes. 4. Repeat step 3 for a second batch. 5. Heat the oil in a small bowl and add mustard


Trail mix: Simply mix your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate chips and transfer to a Ziploc bag.

Try pasta without sauce with red marchu and oil and black pepper! -Janvi Shah


INGREDIENTS • 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup moong dal, 8 cashew nuts, 1 inch ginger, 1 sprig curry leaves, 1/2 tsp jeera, pinch asafoetida, 1/2 tsp pepper corn, 1 tbsp ghee, 1 pinch turmeric




Cinnamon toast rice cake: Spread a thin layer of vegan butter, and add a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar on a rice cake.


Chocolate Pudding: Blend 12 oz tofu, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup non-dairy milk. Pour pudding a bowl and place into the refrigerator. Allow to set for at least 15 minutes.


Chia Seed Pudding: Measure 1/4 cup of chia seeds into a bowl. Pour 1/2 cup of coconut or almond milk onto the seeds. Stir the ingredients together. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Vegan Cookie Dough: In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp maple syrup (or brown sugar), and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract. Add 3 tbsp flour and a pinch of salt salt. Mix until well blended. Mix in 1 tsp chocolate chips. Enjoy, or refrigerate.



Reflections on Paryushan


A conversation on how we experience and celebrate Paryushan. Bhavi Shah, Janvi Shah, Kriti Shah, and Parth Boricha

What did Jainism mean to you growing up? What does Jainism mean to you today? Janvi: Growing up, I wasn't very vocal about Jainism because it was so different from the other religions. I didn't really quite connect to Jainism when I was younger, while I grew up and when I was involved in Pathshala. When I joined YJA, it really opened me up to another side of Jainism that was more applicable to me rather than just learning facts. I got to actually reinvent the philosophy into my own life which is very meaningful. Now Jainism is a much bigger part of my everyday life. Bhavi: I had a similar experience. Before I went to Pathshala, I went through the motions. Since joining YJA, I've become more vocal about Jainism, and I understand more of what I'm doing. Parth: My experience with Jainism was very different, because I've never gone to a Pathshala. For me, Jainism was very much personal than something to do with community. I've always loved the philosophy of nonviolence and also specifically anekantavad; that's something that has brought me closer to Jainism. Throughout my teens, I was not part of the sangh. Then later on, I began doing puja’s; I'd never done the murti puja at the derasar for quite a long time, but then I'd start doing it. YJA is a good platform, because you have everything online. My self discovery with Jainism was through these books, texts, and study. Kriti: When I was 3 we moved to Canada, and I didn’t know the language, the people, or the culture. Going to the derasar helped me connect to the people, and it taught me how to be part of a community. I was able to build friends and family in a new country without losing my identity. I eat a pure Jain diet which was so different from most of the people I knew in school and around my neighbourhood, but when I was in the derasar it helped me realize that being different is okay if it means that I can follow what I believe in. I was also able to learn how to maintain that diet. Today, the same sentiments remain. I moved around a lot and a lot of things changed, but going to the derasar and following Jainism remained a constant. It helped build my self-identity. Most importantly, Jainism is what helped me get through very difficult moments in my life, and that means a lot to me. How do you choose to observe Paryushan and what makes sense to you about the practices you see and what you think could change? Bhavi: It focuses a lot of fasting, and I think that's something that can change. There's a stigma that in order to be a good Jain and in order to do Paryushan well, you need to do upvas, athai, ekashnu, beyashnu - it's all really centered around food. However, a lot of people just can't fast. There are so many other ways you can test your willpower, such as by not talking, not using electronics, or not eating past a certain time rather than just what you consume and how often you do it. Parth: In India, it's done in a similar fashion. But even when it's not Samvatsari, a lot of people do Pratikaman at houses as well collectively. On the last day of Paryushan, there is a huge assembly of Jains from the area. It's the same thing as in the US, using no electricity while doing the Pratikaman. The best part about Paryushan in India


is that there is a sense of celebration everywhere, because the whole lane is lit by different colours and lighting. It just feels like Diwali. The derasars are really lovely to go to, due to the ongoing pujas. It's not really that different from the US, besides the number of people in India is way more than in the US. Kriti: Ever since I was little, my parents would take time off work and I would take time off school during Paryushan. Of course this was easier when I was in grade school, but in University I still try to dedicate my time on focusing on myself and reflecting on my actions and how to strengthen the Jain principles in my life. During the evening I do Pratikraman daily, and do dhuviar (I can’t do chauviar because I have to take medication in at night). I really don’t like the stigma that fasting is one of the best ways to observe Paryushan. While I respect the dedication and self-constraint it takes to fast, it is not the only way to do tapasaya during Paryushan. There are different types of daans you can do. I can’t fast so I help those who can in any way I am able, I meditate, I donate my time to different causes, I do pooja, etc. I definitely think removing this stigma would be a valuable change.

What is the most rewarding aspect of Paryushan? Parth: When I fast, I feel a greater appreciation for food apart from the norm. When it comes to meditation, I feel it rewarding in a way that your mind becomes more calm. Especially in Paryushan when you go to Samvatsari Pratikaman, which is 4-5 hours long. Janvi: I agree, I think the energy at the end of Paryushan is just super powerful. It reinforces those beliefs and what practicing a little bit of willpower can do. Bhavi: Yeah, I feel a lot more focused and peaceful during Paryushan which I wish I felt during the rest of the year but I really don't. I don't know it's just the environment or everything that we do but I definitely think that that's the best part. Janvi: It's something about making the temple your priority. Whereas I know Bhavi and I are just so overwhelmed with school and I'm sure everyone is too; making temple your priority is a nice, peaceful change.

With whom do you celebrate Paryushan?

Parth: It's really rewarding that the family comes together.

Janvi: I am very fortunate to have a big sangh where I live, so I spend almost every day in Paryushan at my local temple with my family as well.

Kriti: It’s rewarding to be able to take time to focus and reflect. We are usually so busy in our own lives we forget to dedicate the time to do that. I also find that after Samvatsari Pratikraman I feel this sense of peace within myself and I can see it in others too. I think it’s so rewarding to come together as a community and know how much serenity and joy our religion can bring.

Bhavi: I have basically the same thing. Kriti: I celebrate with my family, but I also celebrate with my sangh. I am fortunate enough to be so involved in our Jain sangh, so I am able to spend time with members organizing our Mahavir Janma Kalayank function, and it gives me a whole different perspective on the different ways Paryushan can be observed. How do you think this year for Paryushan will be different for you? Parth: It's going to be a lot different. I'm in a college town, College Park at the University of Maryland, which is close to Washington DC. The nearest Jain center is an hour away by car, maybe 45 minutes. I haven't been there but sooner or later, I will pay a visit at the derasar. During Paryushan, they have a very good celebration, but I'm not sure if I would be able to attend the Pratikraman every single day, though I'm definitely going to go for the Samvatsari Pratikaman. When you live away from your home, you value your morals even more so. Because I'm not in India now, I recollect all the values which my mom, my dadi, my nani have taught and I become a stronger Jain than I used to be. In India, it was taken for granted. It's not just homesickness - but your beliefs and your self identity strengthens more because you are a minority. Kriti: This year has been very rough for me, mental health-wise. That’s why I’ve taken a bit of a step back from the usual heavy involvement in the community. It’s weird for me to just be looking for the sidelines, but I think this will allow me to take the time to focus on myself and bettering myself. I look forward to it.


On the flip side, what do you think is most challenging about Paryushan? Parth: Balancing studies, work and Paryushan. That's one of the challenges. Bhavi: Especially for me, because it's the first or second week of school, school isn't that big of a hassle. If it's really bad, I'm missing school, it's not that big of a deal. I'm not sure what the most challenging thing is. This year, I don't know how it's going to work because I'm going to college which is close enough that I can come home during Paryushan, but I don't know how I'm going to do it every day. Janvi: I think it's definitely balancing work, school, and spiritual life. A lot of us don't make it to temple every day and besides praying in the morning, having that much involvement in Jainism is something new to my routine. Kriti: Paryushan usually falls during the beginning of school, so that is always a bit of a challenging aspect. However, I think the most challenging is this look I get from people in the Jain community when I tell them I can’t fast. I can’t fast because of my health and then when I see these little kids doing athai or any other tap, I feel insecure. I usually console myself by realizing there’s more that I can do other than fasting, but then all these people look at me like I am not dedicating myself enough if I don’t fast, even though I physically can’t. I’ve had people tell me “look even these little kids are doing it, I’m sure you can put your health aside


for one week and fast with them.” It makes me feel awful and inferior. I know that’s not true, and that’s why the removing stigma that fasting is the best way to observe Paryushan is so important. Which of the vows/virtues do you find easiest and hardest to follow? Janvi: For me, the easiest one is ahimsa because it has been instilled in me for 17 years as one of the core tenets of Jainism. Mentally and physically, I have been working towards ahimsa for my entire life. The hardest would have to be anekantavada because I have been focusing on this principle very recently and I feel like before then I did not really think about it. Anekantavada resonates with me because recognizing others and not dismissing them feeds into underestimating people as well as recognizing multiple truths. Parth: For me, it would be easiest to follow ahimsa because I think about it all the time. It's one of the things I get out of Jainism, being aware of how my actions are affected by others and then also being aware of the environment - not stepping on the grass - and not doing subconcious things like that. I think that the hardest is anekantavada because while I am more comfortably opening up to different viewpoints, it's a very hard but important practice in today's times with so many divisive viewpoints. Not only hearing them but bringing them together and finding the truth between all of them is very important. Bhavi: Ahimsa is spoken about all the time; this is violence, this is going to hurt someone. With aparigraha and anekantavada, it's more internal. You have to watch how much you are attached to something or control your thoughts, and that's a little more difficult to do per say. Kriti: Physical ahinsa is easy to follow, but mental ahinsa is harder. I always try to be more conscious of my thoughts towards other souls and objects. Aparigraha is in my opinion a really hard vow to follow. We can give up food when we fast, and we can do pooja and pratikraman, but at the end of the day we come drive back in our nice cars to our cozy homes with our fluffy blankets and pillows, and wear our comfortable pajamas. While a lot of this is inevitable and a necessity if we want to live in today’s world as a non-ascetic life, I think Paryushan is a perfect time to be grateful for all that we have, try to give away the things that we don’t need, and be more aware of our future possessions. As per anekantavad, I don’t think it’s easier or harder, but it’s something I definitely try to strengthen. I am always open to others viewpoints, and respectful to be open-minded to other opinions, but it could always use some more work! What are your questions about Paryushan/Das Lakshana? Janvi: I'm curious to know how Das Lakshana is different than Paryushan besides 10 days instead of 8 and about the Digambar traditions. The only two things I know is about Paryushan and Queen Trishala's dreams. Parth: I also don't have much knowledge about Das Lakshan since I haven't come across any Digambar Jains. I've always been with Shvetambars, so I don't know much about Das Lakshan. Kriti: I’d love to know more about all the different ways there are to




Here are 7 benefits of coloring:

Coloring Pages 0041

1. Your brain experiences relief by entering a meditative state 2. Stress and anxiety levels have the potential to be lowered 3. Negative thoughts are expelled as you take in positivity

4. Focusing on the present helps you achieve mindfulness 5. Unplugging from technology promotes creation over consumption 6. Coloring can be done by anyone, not just artists or creative types 7. It’s a hobby that can be taken with you wherever you go







Prayer: Khaamemi savva jive, savve jivaa khamantu me, mitti me savva bhuyesu, veram majha na kenai. Meaning: I forgive all living beings, may all living

beings forgive me, my friendship is with all living beings, my enmity is nonexistent. Listen here. One of the five essential activities of Paryushan is Kshamapana, or forgiveness. It is the reason why we perform the Samvatsari Pratikraman on the last day of Paryushan - to ask forgiveness for any sins we have committed mentally, physically, or verbally over the past year. Forgiveness is also one of the essentials of Das Lakshan and is emphasized on the first day.




Think you’ve got what it takes? These 10 questions test your knowledge of interfaith cooperation in diverse religious and ethical traditions.


02 03

--Parshva Vakharia




INTER is a digital magazine of ideas and art from a new generation navigating unprecedented religious diversity in America. " Religion is currently at the center of some of our most important public and political conversations. Amidst the tumult are millions of people of different religious and non-religious identities living and working. We want to bring these stories to the fore. We want to challenge stereotypes and give readers a chance to rethink their assumptions about everyone from Atheists to Mormons to Zoroastrians." Read the magazine here.

IFYC STUDENT NETWORK Get to know a diverse, passionate community of young leaders living out their commitment to interfaith cooperation. IFYC’s student network is the “core” in Interfaith Youth Core. Members come from every kind of faith, worldview, tradition, and background. They represent every kind of college and university. They do interfaith work for different reasons. What unites them is a shared vision for a society where different people can bridge divides and find common values to build a shared life together.


Which of the 5 main principles is hardest to implement?

• Non-violence - Ahimsa • Truth - Satya

• Non-stealing - Asteya

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0046 YOUNG MINDS 0045

• Celibacy/Chastity Brahmacharya

• Non-attachment/Nonpossession - Aparigraha

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To read more content like this, check out


LR SPOTLIGHTS Here are a few exceptional LRs who we feel deserve a spotlight!

YJA has helped me connect and befriend many young jains from around the country, and I want it to have a broader reach in the future, extending


to people from cities with small jain sanghs to people with a large jain community. The future of YJA I see is bigger, more inclusive, and able to engage more youth. In my life, I aspire to work in the health professions.

Jai Jinendra! I hope to see YJA in the future to involve more people from

I hope to remain true to my Jain values, avoiding research situations

the Jain Sanghs. I would also love to see more interfaith and interactive

that involve killing animals and also treating people with kindness and

discussions within the regions. This year I will be a senior in high school

compassion. This year, I hope to make connections with more young Jains

and as an LR, I hope to incorporate more interfaith events in JSMW. A goal

and become more involved with the sanghs around me.

I have by the end of this year is to get enrolled into my dream college!



Rushil Shah Hometown: Elliott City, MD

SOUTHEAST YJA has been an important part of my life for so many years now. I have met some of my closest friends through YJA, and in the future I hope to

I want YJA to expand all across the globe. There are many Jains who want

see YJA expand at the rate that it has been. I hope to see past friendships

to stay connected with their roots but do not get a chance to, because

grow and new ones develop between fellow Jain's around the world. I am

there is no YJA wheree they are. I moved from India four years ago.

currently a 2nd year biomedical engineering student at Georgia Tech, and

Coming to Louisville, I did not expect following Jainism would be possible.

even now Jainism continues to be an important part of my life. I try to

I did not expect that I would be able to meet fellow Jains and that they

incorporate Jain values into my career path, and hopefully in the future I'll

would become like family in a short period of time. The Louisville sangh

be able to make medical devices to help people with specific illnesses. By

has grown a lot since I came. I hope that the sangh and YJA chapter in

the end of this year, I hope to be able to participate in more events at our

Louisville grow even more. I want to give back as much as I can to the

local Jain temple and regularly practice ways to maintain equanimity.

community that gave me this amazing YJA family. Love being a part of YJA!


Krima Salvi Hometown: Louisville, KY

WEST community that provides a platform to Jains and non-Jains alike to explore their values and deepest experiences in the context of Jain principles. I

leadership skills and helped me better connect with both my local Jain

believe as a group that follows Jain principles, we also have tremendous

Center as well as other Jains in my region. I hope that in the future, YJA

opportunity to be social advocates and enact greater positive change in

continues this trend of bringing together Young Jains at both national

our communities. Right now, I'm still studying and exploring the business

and local levels because this further enriches our Jain community.Being

and social sector world. I hope to work in the education field one day, and

apart of the Jain community has fostered my self-growth and guided

provide opportunities to the world's most underserved. Jainism guides my

me to finding my place in society. My goal for the upcoming year is to

path in that it reminds me to be reflective and conscious of my existence

strengthen our community. 0047

Juhi Nahata Hometown: Saginaw, MI

I would love for YJA to grow into an even more open, collaborative

Getting the opportunity to be an LR this past year improved my

further implement Jainism’s basic teachings into the modern world to help

Riya Mehta Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Rhea Shah Hometown: Stamford, CT YOUNG MINDS

and the experiences of those around me. Jainism also inspires me to do more to give back to the world that has provided so much for me! One of my goals for this year is to develop and launch a college course on Jainism at my university!

Rea Savla Hometown: Acton, MA 0048



Home Away from Home

Paryushan and Das Lakshan resources curated for young Jains away from home. PRAYERS


A library of prayers (with audio!)

Listen to YJA Podcasts to learn

for various situations and needs

about sutras and their meanings:

Pratikaman Sutra (in English)

and the purposes of Jain rityals

Translation of the Akaranga and

and practices at the temple.

Kalpa Sutras, two important Jain texts ENGLISH PRATIKRAMAN Log into your Jain e-library account; download the MP3 files

YJA PATHSHALA Learn about the basics of Jainism basics through interactive lessons!

for the introduction and full ritual. JAIN E-LIBRARY Want to take a vow but don't know where to start? Use the vow generator here to get simple, daily tasks for you!

See Paryushan and Das Lakshan activities at Jain Centers across the country. 0049

Introductory materials, spiritual readings, news articles and more to help broaden your understanding of this festivals.

Dial-a-Manglik & Dial-aPacchakhan - call (630) 2135762 to hear the recording of a MINDS Manglik before taking a YOUNG vow.





To All the Underground Foods I've Eaten Before

A 3 Year Reflection (of What Could One Day be You)

Chintav Shah

Monika Jain Many Jains our age tend to dread the end of August and early September, because that’s around the time when Paryushan and Das Lakshan occur. It means eight to ten days (all 18 for some people) of no underground foods, not eating after dark, and most importantly, no Taco Bell. Many Jains our age tend to dread the end of benefitting from the celebration; at that point, August and early September, because that’s you might as well eat what you want and be My siblings and I were no different. We would spend the night before gorging around the time when Paryushan and Das content with that. In college, I kept a soft vow on all the food we wouldn’t get to eat for the next week. We would to the grocery Lakshan occur. It means eight to ten days (all 18 to avoid underground food, but some days, it store to buy as many Jain snacks as alternatives to our usual potato chips or chips for some people) of no underground foods, not was out of my control depending on what the and salsa. Then once Paryushan and Das Lakshan started, we would count down the eating after dark, and most importantly, no Taco cafeteria served. So, I found alternative ways days until it was over. Bell. to maintain the practice, such as eating only raw foods, avoiding late night food outings, It wasn’t until I went off to college four years ago that I realized this mindset My siblings and I were no different. We would decreasing sweets, and being vegan. Rather than defeated the whole purpose of the holiday. In college, I had free reign to do what spend the night before gorging on all the food obsessing about what foods I could and couldn’t I wanted and whether I even wanted to celebrate Paryushan and Das Lakshan. If I we wouldn’t get to eat for the next week. We eat, I used that time to be mindful and practice chose to, it was going to be harder, because dining hall food wasn’t always Jain would to the grocery store to buy as many Jain meditation, or I offered my time to help others friendly. snacks as alternatives to our usual potato chips through volunteering and mentoring. or chips and salsa. Then once Paryushan and While fasting and self-control are common practices during the holiday, you Das Lakshan started, we would count down the So this Paryushan and Das Lakshan, I challenge can practice Paryushan and Das Lakshan how you find best fit. If you’re going days until it was over. you to go beyond food restrictions and take this to spend the eight to ten days longing for underground food, then you’re not time to make a difference in someone else’s life benefitting from the celebration; at that point, you might as well eat what you want It wasn’t until I went off to college four years as well as your own. Think about a practice that and be content with that. In college, I kept a soft vow to avoid underground food, ago that I realized this mindset defeated the you can carry on beyond these 18 days. but some days, it was out of my control depending on what the cafeteria served. whole purpose of the holiday. In college, I had So, I found alternative ways to maintain the practice, such as eating only raw foods, free reign to do what I wanted and whether I avoiding late night food outings, decreasing sweets, and being vegan. Rather than even wanted to celebrate Paryushan and Das obsessing about what foods I could and couldn’t eat, I used Lakshan. If I chose to, it was going to be harder, that time to be mindful and practice meditation, or I offered because dining hall food wasn’t always Jain my time to help others through volunteering and mentoring. friendly. So this Paryushan and Das Lakshan, I challenge you to While fasting and self-control are common go beyond food restrictions and take this time to make a practices during the holiday, you can practice difference in someone else’s life as well as your own. Think Paryushan and Das Lakshan how you find best about a practice that you can carry on beyond these 18 days. fit. If you’re going to spend the eight to ten days longing for underground food, then you’re not



It all started when I got the phone call. Sure,

Angeles staying up all night at the January

it had been going on for years - almost a

Board Meeting with a newly formed team of

decade - by then. Five JAINA Conventions, four

36 - this was an experience like no other, like

Mid-Atlantic ski retreats, three JAB rings, two

never before. We used tools that were just

sessions, a bunch of articles for Young Minds...

accessible enough to the average tech savvy

you get the point. I was involved in a minor

millennial public but practically unintelligible

way where I got to learn from and experience

at the time to our parents and grandparents.

YJA, but it was never something that took

Google Sheets, Slack workspaces, Hangout calls,

my complete focus and attention. It really all

GroupMe, forms: the list goes on. Everything was

started when I got that phone call - buckling me

easy enough to be learnable - but everything

in for what was about to be the greatest ride of

was done at the forefront of technology. From

my life.

my Chairs to others on Board, this was the first time I saw what it meant to be truly ‘all in’ -

It was August of 2015 - I had just technically

giving yourself to furthering YJA fully by being

‘graduated’ and walked down the red carpet

on point 24/7. This is really what I envisioned

towards a fake diploma - but in actuality, I had

a well-oiled startup with truly passionate

a semester’s worth of classes left. I had a full

people looked like - and that’s what drew me

time offer waiting for me in February and four

in closer. Before I knew it, I was opting to stay

years in Philadelphia setting up what was about

in every weeknight for calls lasting until 3am

to be a fantastic close to my college years. But

and spending many weekends visiting the

the call came - and with it, a whole new world.

others on Convention Committee all around

I had been chosen as the Director of Education

the country. By 2016, I had pushed off full time

for YJA - during a Convention year where the Convention was to be held in LA. I had applied years before with huge plans - but this time, I was looking forward to making the most of it. From staying up all night at the Fall Board Meeting in Los





and started a part-time semester with one class

go well, I knew I’d be involved in some way.

solving, and executing. Nothing can prepare

Shows you that it can teach you skills usable in

(and what I like to call five classes worth of

After a two month break, I knew it would be

you to take on the world than eight months in

almost every aspect of the world. Shows you a

YJA). So much happened in those months - for

a challenge but also a thrill to be one of the

a boot camp like that. But what a time it was

story where the focus was to build something,

Convention and for YJA Education as a whole.

Chairs. I adored the other Chairs and the path

- from countless weekend trips and late nights

not to solely work or study or go down a path if

I even spent the month and a half before

YJA was on - so I thought I was ready to roll.

in Chicago and going to a bunch of Retreats or

it doesn’t truly suit you. It may take you a while

Convention couch surfing in Cali only to ride the

Well there it was - the moment I really learned

meetups to Google Hangout calls every weekday

to fully get on board the train, but I assure you,

wave into the orchestrated symphony that was

and lived what ‘all in’ really meant from a Chair’s

from the moment I got back from work to well

once you’re on, you won’t get off.

one of the greatest Conventions to date.

perspective. There is no vacation - there is no

past midnight. The mission was clear - and while

time to be idle. There’s always something going

there were hiccups

Not because of the

But it came and went,

and challenges - each

accomplishments - but

and I figured I needed

one gave a map

because of the people,

a break. I didn’t get one

for how the next

the creativity, the

though - I was convinced

should be handled.

freedom. And to that

into running for Director

Well, if you were at

- I’m glad to close out

of Project Development

YJA18 - the greatest

this journey ready for

to continue the base of

Convention yet - the

a long awaited period

projects we built and

rest is history. If you

of rest and reflection,

to begin new ones. In

weren’t, well, keep

calm and collection.

the next year, what I

counting the days till

Who knows where it’ll

got to see was even

you’re 14 (that or you really missed out) - it’ll

lead and what I’ll become but one thing’s for

come sooner than you think.

sure — I’ll be back.

Anyway, I didn’t want this to be a laundry list of

P.S. If there’s one last thing I’d like to do, it’s

what I’ve done -- that list has no end (kidding).

to ask for forgiveness from anyone that I may

What I do want is for this to show how YJA has

have negatively impacted in any way during

shaped me. I hope this journey of mine through

these years, either knowingly or unknowingly -

the roller coaster ride that was my early

Micchami Dukkadam.

more amazing. Working alongside two brilliant Chairs who were wholly in sync and gave their all made the creation of new Projects, the growth of old ones, and the foundation for this year’s Convention a smooth road with tons of memories. I somehow went to four retreats that year, visited Chicago about 4-5 weekends, went to the four or so board meetings, and spent maybe 20 hours a week on calls or Slack (and still managed to keep up with a new consulting job). In between announcing Chicago as the host city for YJA18 and seeing the YJA community at the strongest it has been in years, I still can’t believe how fast it all flew by. After the summer, I knew I actually needed a break (the sleepless weeknights and weekends finally started taking a toll) but after all the effort into making sure YJA18 in Chicago would


on - either something to respond to, something to think about, something that you could do to make everything just a tiny bit better. I’d describe it as keeping 50 deflating balloons in the air at the same time - no matter what you do, the world is always falling. It’s how you choose to keep it afloat - whether you do so in a Jain, detached, nonviolent, and compassionate way - that you discover your ability to control it. And more than anything - it’s worth it. From

twenties shows you how this organization can bring you all the peak experiences and joys you never knew possible.

managing and directing a team of 37 (really 85 with all the subcommittee members that helped out in one way or another) to envisioning the best processes and technology to make this a wholly seamless-for-CC new-for-attendees experience, every moment was filled with brainstorming, writing, envisioning, discussing, debating, realigning, presenting, problem