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Young Jains of America Est. 1991 http://www.yja.org

Edited By: Sheenika Shah & Sejal Dhruva

Young Minds Summer Issue

Jai Jinendra! Thank you for reading this quarter’s issue of Young Minds! In our mission to provide a publication featuring topics that affect Jain youth in today’s world, this issue is packed with educational articles, information on Paryushan and Das Lakshan, and delicious Jain recipes. Additionally, we are excited to feature the new 2013-2014 YJA Executive Board! Please join us in welcoming them and wishing them all the best with their upcoming term.

Featuring: Meet the New YJA Board Congratulations to the newly elected 2013-2014 YJA Executive Board! Get to know this exceptional team. You’ll see familiar as well as new faces!

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#YJA14 – Are You Ready? It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Drum roll, please! The city hosting the 2014 YJA Convention is…

Throughout this issue, you will see that each outgoing YJA Executive Board member has provided a reflection of this past year. We would like to extend our gratitude to you all for helping to make this year as wonderful as it was. This year created some of the best memories of our lives - memories that we will always keep close in our hearts. Lastly, if you haven’t checked @YJAtweets out on Twitter yet, we’ve been doing a great job in teasing our followers about where the next YJA Convention will be. Well, the wait is over! This special and exciting issue releases the name of the winning bid city for the 2014 YJA Convention – get excited! Keep in touch, everyone, and we hope to see you in July at #yja14!

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- Your 2012-2013 YJA Executive Board

YM 2013


Young Minds

Summer 2013

Inside this Issue:

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Remove Your Blindfold: The Unseen Depth of the Navkar Mantra

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“Keep Calm and Ahimsa”

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Jainism 101: Back to the Basics

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Meet the 2013-2014 YJA Executive Board

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2013 JAINA Convention Recap: “Jainism: The Global Impact”

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Run With Your Passion

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2013 POMYC Essay Competition

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Recipe Corner

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What does YJA Have in Store This Paryushan / Das Lakshan?

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JAINA Student Internship Program (JASI)

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Time is of the Essence

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#YJA 14 Host City

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Why am I Here? Why am I Suffering? Why am I in Pain?

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Become a YJA Local Representative Today

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YJA Events Photo Recap

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Donate

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Letter from the Co-Chairs

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Young Minds

Remove Your Blindfold: The Unseen Depth of the Navkar Mantra Written by: Chintav Shah Edited by: Priyal Gandhi & Mahima Shah

Summer 2013

Understanding Jain cosmology is tough. Mahavir Swami explained the Jain concept of the universe many years ago and since then the information has been passed down both orally and in many different written languages. We don’t know if there’s been something lost in translation, or if what Mahavir describes was a metaphor for something else. As modern Jains, we try our best to connect what we’ve learned in science to what we learn from Jainism. Sometimes, the two don’t seem to match up.

Disclaimer (Yes, this piece of writing is so ‘out-there’ that I need a disclaimer): Ever since the post-Einstein era began, Western thought has finally realized the importance of the ‘relative standpoint of observer’. Jainism has always held this position with the extremely detailed principle of Anekantvada, meaning multiplicity of views. In other words, truth is relative. We now realize that since the Earth, Sun, and stars are all in motion, any view is merely a matter of definition.

Mahavir’s nirvana (death) when almost all things (stories, sutras, etc.) are still passed down by word of mouth. Nevertheless, the knowledge and information passed down from Mahavir’s sermons are some of the few things that have started to be written down on leaves, as human memory power has been slowly diminishing. These leaves, which contain a treasure trove of wisdom, are kept in only one place – in the hands of the leaders of the Jain religion – the Acharyas.

We have learned that the Ptolemaic, or geocentric, view of the universe - that the sun revolves around the earth - and the Copernican, or heliocentric, view - that the earth revolves around the sun - are both human constructs. In the same way that we don’t need to decide between the wave theory and the particle theory of light, nor between systems of numbers founded on the decimal system or some other base, each alternative is just a frame of reference for subsequent theories and judgments, and is in that sense true. The moment you assume that one single thought is the absolute truth with no attempt to look at other possibilities is when you enter an incorrect and dangerous territory (adapted from Ronald Huntington’s “Jainism and Ethics”.)

Now imagine this, and put yourself in the shoes of the Head Acharya: You're in a room full of other Acharyas who are seated around a table, and are talking to each other about an urgent issue:

So I present to you my theory about the Jain concept of the universe. I’m not claiming I’m right, but you’ll see how my thinking has led me to an even greater, more important discovery: the deeper meaning of Namo Ayariyanam. Acharya (noun): One of the principal heads or leaders of the Jain sangh who do the best they can with the knowledge of the times in order to spread Jainism and help the Jain congregation be the strongest it can be. Picture it to be 300 BCE, 150 years after Bhagwan

"There's a crowd outside, waiting for our answer to their question. This new ‘scientist’, who society has determined to be the smartest man on the pinnacle of new ideas, technologies, and intelligence, has said that the Earth is at the center of the universe. He gave his proof to be some measurements that he took of the stars over a period of years, and unfortunately, the common people have chosen to believe him. We have to make a decision. Our scriptures that we have been passing down since the time of Mahavir say that the Earth is actually flying around the Sun, which is a part of the solar system. But here’s the problem we face: we don't want Jainism to die out. If we announce that the Earth revolves around the Sun, like what is said in our scriptures, doubt will form in everyone’s minds. They will think it’s ridiculous because we have no proof besides our scriptures. One doubt in people’s minds will spread to other doubts, and all Jains’ faith will be naturally diminished to some extent. As a result, the Jain religion could die out from the lack of truly faithful followers.”

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Young Minds

Summer 2013

Think about the feeling you get when you hear someone today, in 2013, say with conviction that microorganisms don’t exist. You can’t even begin to accept that notion because it seems so absurd. That sentiment is what the people of the Jain society of 300 BCE (not to mention most human beings of that time) would have felt if they were told that the Earth was not the center of the solar system. How difficult would it be to faithfully follow all principles of a religion that propagates an idea that seems so bizarre? “We have to make a choice. We can side with the scientists who think they can observe the heavens with their limited knowledge and are spreading that geocentrism is the right orientation, or we could pass down the truth, heliocentrism. What do we do? If we say heliocentrism, then no one will have as strong faith in Jainism and therefore Jainism may as well die out. The sad part is that these scientists are what propagate our culture with technology and corroborate many of our principles with their scientific evidence, but they’ve become too powerful, too arrogant. They won’t consider that their theories can be wrong anymore. Any common person that listens to us, and then listens to the words of these scientists, will just disregard Jainism for lack of proof. We would be known as the last Acharyas who couldn’t adapt Jainism with the times, and made the awful decision that caused the end of such a beautiful religion – and to add to the sorrow, it would be only a few hundred years after the enlightened Mahavir was around. And with that, the current Jain sangh, this Jain culture that we as Acharyas worked our entire lives trying to successfully lead, will be destroyed. We can’t be associated with that. I don’t want to be the Head Acharya who made the mistake which caused the end of Jainism so soon. So, my fellow Acharyas, we must go along with the lie, with what the scientist and the common people wrongfully think is the truth: geocentrism. We must slightly alter our many sutras that we've been passing down orally, and the writings on these leaves. Mahavir was right; the awful fifth ara has begun. His truth and knowledge can only be perfectly passed on for so long. Without a Tirthankar in this ara, all human beings have no great leader with perfect knowledge who can speak the whole truth. True faith is not as easy to attain. Mental capacity has decreased. So for now, we must say the Earth is at the center of the universe, because it is the only path we can take to assure the growth of Jainism. Even though we are going along with this lie for now, I have faith that science will progress and realize for itself that heliocentrism is the correct theory, and then once again, science and

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Jainism will be in tune with each other.” So, as all these Acharyas thought to themselves, a courageous Acharya gave a summary of the path Jainism would take. He said, “Look, it's our job, our goal, and our purpose as Acharyas to propagate the Jain religion so it can last as long as possible. If we make the morally wrong decision, and say geocentrism is correct, then we’re changing Mahavir’s words, and the future generations who realize the truth thanks to their advanced scientific knowledge, say in the year 2013, are going to look back and associate us Acharyas with causing such a crazy theory like geocentrism to be labeled as the truth. If we go with this path, Jainism may pass through these times unscathed because everyone outside these doors will not lose their faith in Jainism. However, if we make the morally right decision, and go with our scriptures, the truth, heliocentrism, Jainism won't flourish and could die out. Everyone outside will think science trumps religion, wrongfully so, and their faith in the teachings of Jainism will be forever diminished. We only have one choice. We choose to propagate Jainism as far as we can - it is our purpose - and then Jainism has a better chance to thrive well into the 1000 ADs. We must go along with the scientist. We must start telling a lie that Mahavir did not say for the betterment of the Jain congregation. The sad truth is that if we don’t, Jainism will never even reach those souls in 2013. It is for the greater good to make the morally wrong decision.” And they opened the doors, with all the common people standing below: the religious, the Sadhus and Sadhvis, the Upadhyays- the entire Jain congregation. And the Head Acharya said, “I look out upon you all today, to give you the answer you seek about our Jain beliefs and sutras. The scriptures do not say that the Earth flies around a giant Star, no – rather, our scriptures actually confirm what the scientist has been saying all along. From now on, to you great Jain Sadhus, Sadhvis, Shravaks, and Shravikas, the Earth is at the center of the universe. The Sun is the star travelling around the Earth. All other planets, the moon, and all other stars in space also travel around the Earth. We're sorry if you thought we were ever against the scientist.” The Acharyas went inside, reconvened around the table, and gave a giant collective 'sigh’. “That was a huge decision, but we finally made it. I just hope that once

Love my board, loved this year, and love YJA. Thanks to everyone for an amazing journey! - Priyal Gandhi, Director of Education, 2012-2013


Young Minds

Summer 2013

Remove Your Blindfold: The Unseen Depth of the Navkar Mantra (con’t)

science really evolves, around 1500 AD, and they find out the truth about the structure of the universe with telescopes and such, we don't get too much negativity about how we caused this little lie to spread within Jainism. Let's hope those future humans will have it in them to forgive us. We had to do what we had to do. It was not easy, but it's what was necessary after taking every single possibility into consideration.” Now come back to the present, and really understand that all of this is part of a setup to segue into one line of the Navkar Mantra. It’s the preparation you can do to say a really faithful, truthful, and strong line of the Navkar Mantra, and it must be within you to act upon what the line is and means: Namo Ayariyanam.

Which can mean: I bow down to all Acharyas of the universe and all that they stand for. I bow down to all the beings that helped propagate Jainism in the ways they did, with the sutras, words, and changes that they made. Without them and their actions, who knows? Maybe Jainism would never even have made it past 500 AD, let alone 2000 AD. I thank them for doing the best they could with the knowledge that there would be no more Tirthankars until the next cycle of the kal chakra and that they needed to try to make Jainism last as long as possible into the fifth ara. I understand that every Sadhu hopes that in his future life he will have the childhood, upbringing, and brainpower needed to become one of those Acharyas. I thank all the beings who passed down Jainism after making the toughest decisions that would best keep Jainism alive while still adhering to the truth and promoting the principle of nonviolence. I bow down to the Acharyas who understood the balance between spreading the religion and sticking to its values. I worship them; I respect them; I hope to be them; I hope to do what they do one day; I hope I am given that opportunity in the future. End of Namo Ayariyanam. Now for Namo Uvajjayanam... The last two lines of the Navkar Mantra mean: “Of all things auspicious, treasured, valuable, and desired in the universe, the Navkar Mantra is the first and foremost.” The Navkar Mantra is worth more than all of Bill Gates' wealth, more auspicious than all of the temple ceremonies you do, more desirable than the position of CEO at the company where you work or the honor of valedictorian at the school you go to. Yet is this the way we feel? Did it ever cross your mind, “Maybe I'm not doing it right?” The Navkar Mantra is extraordinarily detailed, deep, and valuable, but only to those souls who can fully uncover its meaning. So, educate yourself. I don’t mean just learning the meaning, but the actual perspective within the livelihoods of each of the Panch Parmesthi. A simple Google search can help you learn about them. Gain knowledge of each of the five types of beings that you can invoke and contemplate about. And most importantly, work on your mind so you can create, not memorize and replicate. Be able to delve into the recesses of your mind and resurface with something beyond the norm for each line when you sit down at the derasar to count three Navkars. Work at this gradually, and you'll naturally improve your ability. This entire idea of Acharyas changing the Jain religion is a fully self-created theory of mine. I’m sure parts of this story are incorrect according to Jainism. But that’s beyond the point. What I wanted to stress were the different points of view and how the Navkar Mantra is meant to give us all a way to offer praise in a simple, yet unique way. I wrote the entire scenario in an hour based off my imperfect and very basic knowledge of some Jain beliefs and the history of the universe. Why? So I could show one example of taking the perspective of an Acharya in 300 BCE, to really understand what they might have faced at the time. And eventually, you can too. The moment you run through the Navkar Mantra in 10 seconds, as if you’ve broken a record, is the moment you have failed to follow the true teachings of Jainism. If you want more information on how to get into a state of mind where this type of knowledge flows from within you more easily, watch this session I gave at the JAINA convention. Good luck!

YJA is well known to be a life changing experience and it definitely was for me. It gave me a Thanks forfamily a great yearfrom everyone! hadfor an life extremely fulfilling year serving as you away home, I've friends and a new perspective to Jainism. Mid-West- Arpit RC, and hope to see everyone at #YJA14! Mehta, Director of IT, 2012-2013 - Paras Vora, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, 2012-2013

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Young Minds

Summer 2013

How Do You Spread the Message of “Ahimsa”? Our goal at YJA is always to encourage youth to have pride in their Jain heritage - that's why we made these shirts, so they can carry and remember the "Ahimsa" message on a day-to-day level.

Jainism 101: Back to the Basics Earlier this year, we sent out a survey asking Jain youth what questions they had about Jainism. Below are some of the most popular questions, answered by our Director of Education, Priyal Gandhi:

Q: What’s the difference between "mandir", "sangh", "temple”? What is the correct word to use as a Jain? A: Temple is the closest English translation of “mandir” or “deraser”, which is what should be used to describe a Jain place of worship. A sangh is the entire Jain community, consisting of shravaks (laymen), shravikas (laywomen), sadhus (monks), and sadhvis (nuns).

Q: Why we do khamasamnas?

Proceeds from your purchase will help support our efforts to host more educational webinars, plan new and exciting events and keep YJA thriving for future generations of young Jains.

Click here to buy your “Keep Calm and Ahimsa”

A: Khamasamnas are our way of paying respect to the Panch Parmesti (5 supreme beings). The meaning of Khamasamna Sutra is: “Oh holy master! To the best of my ability, discarding all sinful activities and with my head bowed down, I want to pay my respect to you.”

t-shirt for ONLY $15.00! (Price includes FREE shipping!)

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Have a question? E-mail us at education@yja.org.

This year was an amazing journey filled with working with an awesome board, coordinating events left and right from dinners, to bowling, to successful retreats and, of course, instilling Jain values within our youth. #yjalove forever! - Sheenika Shah, Co-Chair, 2012-2013


Young Minds

Summer 2013

Meet your 2013-2014 YJA Executive Board

Stay Connected with YJA Visit your region’s website for more information on upcoming events in your area: Mid-Atlantic Mid-West http://www.yja.org/regions/midatlantic http://www.yja.org/regions/midwest Northeast http://www.yja.org/regions/northeast

South http://www.yja.org/regions/south

Southeast http://www.yja.org/regions/southeast

West http://www.yja.org/regions/west

Or e-mail us to info@yja.or or events@yja.org!

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Young Minds

Summer 2013

2013 JAINA Convention Recap: “Jainism: The Global Impact”

Memorable Moments from #JAINA2013:

By: Sejal Dhruva On behalf of the 2013 JAINA Convention Board, and the JAINA Executive Committee, YJA would like to thank each youth who attended, volunteered and participated in the 2013 JAINA Convention! For the first time ever, the YJA Executive Board played an active role in planning and hosting various parts of #JAINA2013 – and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results. This year the Youth Activities (“YA”) team, consisting of ten individuals including YJA Co-Chairs Sejal Dhruva and Sheenika Shah, worked tirelessly to develop unique programming with aims to foster friendships and instill leadership qualities for the next generation of Jains by teaching Dharma, offering educational and interactive sessions, and exposing youth to models of Jains currently living Jain values in their personal and professional lives Daytime programming featured speakers from around the world, such as Dr. Mehool Sanghrajka, founder of Jainpedia, as well as familiar faces from the Jain community such as Dr. Yogendra Jain, and Shri Shrutpragya Swamiji. And, to much delight, YJA Executive Board members, Salonee Shah, Priyal Gandhi, Malhar Teli, and Bonita Parikh hosted multiple sessions including our very popular, “Jain Family Feud” and the fun and exciting “Jainism and the Media.” Youth were also invited to join a unique volunteer activity led by Sejal Dhruva and Sonali Vakharia (YA Committee Member), where youth were divided into groups and arranged over 150 activity bags for children at the Detroit Medical Center. We are proud of our youth and say “thank you” for taking time to give back. Members of our Executive Board also took charge of helping organize the evening socials for both YA and JNF, including “Friday Night Lights” for youth and the “Once Upon a Time” dinner and formal dance for JNF. Many youth and parents stopped by the YJA exhibition booth to purchase our new “Keep Calm & Ahimsa” t-shirt, sign-up for our list-serv and thumb through pictures of our past events and retreats. Whenever you looked, or whatever you were doing – it was likely that a YJA Executive Board member was there helping out. We are proud of our YJA Executive Board members for volunteering their time to make the #JAINA2013 a memorable one for all!

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Thanks for a great year everyone! I've had an extremely fulfilling year serving as you Mid-West RC, and hope to see everyone at #YJA14! - Paras Vora, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, 2012-2013


Young Minds

Summer 2013

Run With Your Passion By: Sunny Dharod How was Mahavir Swami so successful? How did he convince beggars and merchants that all souls are equal? How did he inspire Mahatma Gandhi to lead a nonviolent independence movement? How did he encourage over 4 million Jains to live a life of peace in today’s world? How? Because of his passion for peace. Since Mahavir Swami was so passionate towards the idea of peace, he was able to defeat all obstacles that came his way. When young boys threw stones at him, Mahavir Swami continued his journey. When the poisonous snake Chandkaushik bit him, Mahavir Swami stood still and encouraged the snake to realize his mistake. When a cowherd pierced sharp nails into Mahavir Swami’s realize his mistake. When a cowherd pierced sharp organized races, heldcontinued AIDS Awareness events, and ears for not nails watching his oxen,peace Mahavir Swami meditating without into Mahavir Swami’s ears for not watching anger. his oxen, built 5 schools. Currently, Shoe4Africa is in the midst of its Mahavir Swami continued meditating without anger. biggest project ever: building a children’s hospital to serve East Africa. There are 450 million children living in Sub By learning Mahavir’s life events and teachings, millions of Saharan Africa, but there is only one public children’s Jains and non-Jains all over the world have realized that hospital, all the way in South Africa. Through Shoe4Africa, nonviolence is the highest religion. Toby Tanser is fixing this problem. Now, I invite you to use your own passion to make a difference, just as Mahavir Swami did. My favorite activity is long-distance running. Running has allowed me to meet amazing people, escape many stressful moments, and appreciate the importance of hard work. After I finally broke a 5-minute mile during my senior year of high school, I knew I would continue running for the rest of my life. A few months ago, I read about a marathon runner named Toby Tanser. After training in Kenya with some of the best international runners, Tanser took a taxi ride to the airport. Because the driver did not have any shoes, Tanser gave away his own shoes to the driver before boarding. This marked the beginning of Shoe4Africa, a charity that sends donated shoes to Kenya.

I have joined the Shoe4Africa running team. On October 20th, I will be running my very first marathon: the Detroit Marathon. While training, I am fundraising to support the building of Shoe4Africa’s hospital in Eldoret, Kenya. My goal is to attain $1,000 and so far I’ve raised over $600. Overall, Shoe4Africa has received over $2.5 million from runners all over the world. In June, the final contracts were signed, and construction has finally begun! This hospital will help African children fight common diseases, such as typhoid, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. My purpose is to illustrate that you can make a difference through your passion. If you like to sing, you can compose a song to raise awareness about a social issue. If you like to cook, you can create a meal every week, take it to a nursing home, and eat with a patient. All of these simple ideas have the potential to change someone else’s life.

After realizing that 50% of a team that he was assisting was HIV positive, Toby Tanser added a health component. Run with your passion and make a difference! Since then, Shoe4Africa has taken off. The charity has organized peace races, held AIDS Awareness events, and built 5 schools. Currently, Shoe4Africa is in the midst of its biggest project ever: building a children’s hospital to serve East Africa. There are I450 living in Sub hadmillion so muchchildren fun on YJA board this year, and can’t wait to see what's yet to come from YJA. Saharan Africa, but there is only one public children’s Huge thanks to everyone, especially our board, for making this such a memorable experience hospital, all the way in South Africa. Through Shoe4Africa, - Bonita Parikh, Director of Events, 2012-2013 Toby Tanser is fixing this problem.

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Young Minds

Summer 2013

2013 POMYC Essay Competition

Recipe Corner:

Enter Today!

Schezuan Noodles By: Tara Dalal

We are pleased to announce to and encourage all our readers and members to participate in our 1st Annual Essay Competition! We want to encourage everyone to participate and be creative.

Topics and Guidelines: Group 1: Ages: 10-18 years old Topic: How would you summarize Jainism to your friends?

Group 2: Ages: 19-29 years old Topic: If you had the chance to meet Bhagawan Mahavir, what would you say to him?

Group 3: Ages: 30-50 years old Topic: How has Jainism influenced your life?

           

Group 4: Ages: Above 50 years old Topic: How do you practice Anekantvad in your daily life?

Rules: All essays should be no more than 500 words. All essays MUST be submitted by Monday, September 2nd, 2013. Please submit all essays to pomyc.org@gmail.com. Good luck to all participants! The winner will be announced in the next POMYC and YJA Newsletter – stay tuned.

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Ingredients 3 cups boiled noodles 2 whole dry kashmiri red chilies, broken into pieces 3/4 cup shredded cabbage 1/2 cup sliced bell peppers 1/2 cup diagonally cut french beans, parboiled 1/4 cup chopped celery 1/4 cup chilli sauce 2 tbsp tomato ketchup 2 tbsp oil Salt to taste Directions Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over a high flame. Add the dry red chilies and stir-fry for a few seconds over a high flame. Add the cabbage, bell peppers, french beans and celery and stir-fry over a high flame for 2 minutes. Add the noodles, chilli sauce, tomato sauce and salt, mix well and stir-fry for 1 minute. Serve hot, and enjoy!

For more delicious, Jain-friendly recipes, please visit http://www.tarladalal.com/

Thank you to a wonderful year full of amazing memories that I will cherish forever. I really appreciate everyone who has come into my life through knowledge, faith, and joy. - Pankti Doshi, West Regional Coordinator, 2012-2013


Young Minds

Summer 2013

What does YJA Have in Store This Paryushan / Das Lakshan? By: Priyal Gandhi

Navkār Mantra Ṇamō arihantāṇaṁ I bow to the arihants, destroyers of their inner enemies. Ṇamō siddhāṇaṁ I bow to the siddhas, the liberated souls. Ṇamō āyariyāṇaṁ I bow to the acharyas, the religious leaders.

Who’s ready for this year’s Paryushan Parva and Das Lakshan Parva? Shwetambar Jains will observe an eight (8) day period of self-reflection from September 2nd to the 9th and Digambar Jains will observe a similar ten (10) day period of purification from September 9th to the 18th/September 10th to the 19th. We listened to your feedback from a recent Paryushan/Das Lakshan survey and have provided a variety of resources so you can observe Paryushan/Das Lakshan even better! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, email us at education@yja.org.

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An Auspicious Beginning to Paryushan/Das Lakshan: Special Webinar

Ṇamō uvajjhāyāṇaṁ I bow to the upadhyays, the religious teachers.

Join YJA in kicking off Paryushan/Das Lakshan season with a special educational webinar, featuring guest speaker Samani Unnata Pragyaji from Florida International University.

Ṇamō lōē savva sāhūṇaṁ I bow to all the sadhus and sadhvis, those who have renounced the worldly life and follow a path of simplicity.

Samaniji is ready to answer your questions:  Why do we celebrate Paryushan/Das Lakshan?  How do we celebrate?  Has this celebration evolved with time?  What similarities and differences exist in these celebrations amongst different sects?  How does Paryushan/Das Lakshan impact my life?

sō anchaṇamōkkārō, savva āva aṇāsaṇō Maṅgalā ṇaṁ ca savvēsiṁ, aḍamama havaī maṅgalaṁ This five-fold bow (mantra) destroys all sins and obstacles, and of all auspicious mantras, is the first and foremost one.

If you have any questions of your own, fill them out on the form below so our speaker can incorporate them into her session. We're looking forward to seeing you all there! Click here to sign-up for the Paryushan/Das Lakshan Special Webinar (con’t on page 12)

It has been a great year being a part of such an awesome team. Keep doing amazing things everyone, and mostly importantly, keep in touch! - Avni Maru, Director of PR, 2012-2013

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Young Minds

Summer 2013

What does YJA Have in Store This Paryushan/Das Lakshan? (con’t) 2

hi

By: Priyal Gandhi daily Paryushan/Das Lakshan blog posts, from September 2 to 19.

Directory of Paryushan/Das Lakshan Activities – Now Available!

Click on the blog post to leave a comment and share your thoughts with other Jains around the world! It all starts on September 2nd – we look forward to reading your thoughts.

We’ve compiled a list of Paryushan and Das Lakshan events from different Jain centers across North America. Can’t find your local center or need to get in touch with a sangh member in your area? Email us at education@yja.org so we can help! Also, take a look at our “Paryushan/Das Lakshan Facts” tab for some common Q & A and add your own questions too!

More information can be found online at: http://www.yja.org/publications/yjablog

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Heading off to college? We’ve gathered advice from Jains around North America to hear how they observed Paryushan/Das Lakshan at their university:

More information can be found online at: http://goo.gl/nykhNr.

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Visit “Jain Recipes” on the YJA Website Looking for a yummy Jain or vegan recipe to try out this Paryushan/Das Lakshan? Want to know what ingredients to avoid in the grocery store? Take a look at our new Jain Recipes section on the YJA website. The list is still growing, and we’d love your help! If you have recipes or tips to share, email us at education@yja.org. Bon appétit! More information can be found online at: http://www.yja.org/resources/jain-recipes

Jain to Jain: Tips for Observing Paryushan/Das Lakshan Away from Home

More information can be found online at: http://www.jaina.org/scholarship.

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#JainTrivia – Now on Instagram If you’re interested in keeping sharp on your Jain knowledge and trivia, make sure you follow @YoungJainsofAmerica on Instagram, as we continue to post fun facts and #JainTrivia, as well as photos of our past events. Have a photo or trivia question you want to share? Send it in to pr@yja.org.

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Daily Dose of Jainism: Special Blog Series

More information can be found online at: http://instagram.com/youngjainsofamerica.

Looking for a quick way to get a few minutes of Jainism into your routine? Join the Jain discussion by looking out for our

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Thank you everyone for an amazing YJA year! This organization has changed my life in more ways than I can count. Can't wait for #yja14, hope to see you all there! - Salonee Shah, Director of Project Development, 2012-2013


Young Minds

Summer 2013

Recent JASI Interns 1

What is it? The JAINA Student Internship (JASI) is a full-time, intensive internship for undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S. and Canada a chance to work with a service-based community organization in a start-up environment.

Palak Bhandari, Intern Bryn Mawr College Vienna, VA

JASI interns receive hands-on experience that provides professional and personal growth in the areas of non-profit project management, IT support and social networking/community building, as well as rewarding opportunities to support the global Jain community.

2 Niral Vagadia, Intern Wake Forest University Foxboro, MA

Who can apply & materials do I need to submit? In order to be considered for the JASI Internship, applicants must electronically submit:

Saurin Shah, Intern McGill University Bloomington, IL

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A 500-750 word essay explaining how their interests could help strengthen the Jain community and/or an awareness of Jain principles while addressing why they are suitable;

Unofficial electronic copies of their Undergraduate and Graduate degree transcripts; and

One letter of recommendation from a relevant faculty member, community leader or previous employer.

What are some of the benefits of interning? The current JASI interns obtained several benefits including:

Parth Savla, Coordinator San Francisco, CA

IT Support

Copy Writing & Editing

Website Development

Enhanced Communication Skills (con’t on page 14)

YJA South, thank you for a fantastic year filled with the greatest memories and a lot of #yjalove. I am so glad to have connected with each and every one of you. Until next time y'all! - Trishla Parakh, South Regional Coordinator, 2012-2013

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Young Minds

Summer 2013

Please Don’t Text and Drive Did you know that texting while driving causes:

con’t from page 13

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What are some of the benefits of interning? (con’t)

1,600,000 accidents per year (National Safety Council)

The current JASI interns obtained several benefits including:

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Knowledge of the inner workings of a non-profit organization

Increased confidence

Enhanced expression of their own abilities

Application Timetable

11 teen deaths EVERY DAY (Ins. Institute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts) 

Student Internship Process Application Opens

330,000 injuries per year (Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study)

August 20

Nearly 25% of ALL car accidents

Texting While Driving: Application Deadline (including all supporting documents)

September 1, 11:59pm EST

Selection Process (Student contacted for interviews)

September 2- 9

Applicants Notified by JAINA office (selectees notified via e-mail and in writing)

September 10

Internship Start Date

September 16

Internship Ends

December 15

Visit http://jaina.org/internship for more information or http://www.jaina.org/internshipapplication to apply!

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Is about 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated 

Is the number one driving distraction reported by teen drivers

Makes you 23 times more likely to crash (National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin)

For more information please visit: http://www.distraction.gov/

Being on YJA Board has given me a lifetime of experiences, memories and lasting friendships! Thank you all for a great year. - Pooja Nagda, Northeast Regional Coordinator, 2012-2013


Young Minds

Summer 2013

Time is of the Essence

As I was lying on the sofa, mindlessly watching yet another movie on TV, I began to wonder, Written by: Mahima Shah “What am I doing? Here I am, Edited by: Priyal Gandhi sitting on the sofa during SUMMER, one of the few vacations I have from the dull repetition of my school schedule…why am I “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries. wasting my time?” Of course at the time, that just made me think of And yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” – Blaise Pascal stuff I should be doing (SAT prep, summer homework, getting a job, summer getting job, practicing tennis, started to become completely aware of all the times my practicinghomework, tennis, etc.) But ita was etc.) But because it was possibly mind began to get distracted, daydream or not think at possibly of the because fact thatofI the fact that I had so much to do that I ended up sitting there for all. This helped me realize that we all have experienced had so much to do that I ended up another hour, trying to figure out where to start. The distraction in one way or another. Most people lean sitting there for another hour, journey myout mind tooktoinstart. that one sole hour still towards pointless distractions, such as Facebook or trying tothat figure where amazes me. Twitter. But what if all this mind power was spent on The journey that my mind took in something not just interesting, but also useful? If at this that one sole hour still amazes me. At first I was thinking of how much easier my life moment, I suggest to you to spend your free time would be if I was more productive. However, then I concentrating on Jainism, I have no doubt that many of At first I was thinking of how much began to think, evenbeif ifI Idid you will scoff and say, “That won’t distract me; it’ll make easier my life would wasall my work at a reasonable time, my life would still be the same me fall asleep.” But have you ever wondered or thought more productive. However, then I (except with more sleep.) So, if sleep is the only about how broad the topic of Jainism really is? Have you began to think, even if I did all my difference, what’s thetime, point? ever considered just how many intricacies there are work at a reasonable myAnd life that’s when it hit me. Those free hours are the distinguishing qualities bursting to present themselves to you? All you have to would still be the same (except between who I am and who I can be. do is take the initiative and start to look for them. with more sleep.) So, if sleep is the only difference, what’s the point? IAnd began to think: want to use those hours that’s whenI can’t/don’t it hit me. Those to do more work, so what else can I do? Maybe I can free hours are the distinguishing just relax and let mywho mindI wander. qualities between am and who I can be. As I was thinking this, I realized that this is almost the same I don’twant mean the people who I beganasto“meditation”. think: I can’t/don’t sit with their legs tightly (uncomfortably) crossed, and to use those hours to do more concentrate on their work, so what else“center” can I and do?“aura”. I mean the people that take the time to sit back and reflect on Maybe I can just relax and let my what they’ve done throughout the day. The people mind wander. that commend themselves for the good stuff they’ve done, andthinking repent this, for the not-so-good stuff. This As I was I realized simple action, which can take as little that this is almost the same as as 5-10 minutes, helps me mold Imydon’t futuremean self. Itthe allows me to actually “meditation”. pick out what I want to continue people who sit with their legs doing, and what I never to do again. crossed, tightlywant (uncomfortably)

Instead of watching TV, think about what it means to be a Jain. Think about what it means to follow the principles of nonviolence and compassion for all beings. Marvel at how NICE of a religion Jainism is to everyone. Maybe it’s too strict? Look at how easily we get distracted- it has to be strict in order to free us from the pointless path our minds would usually take. I dare you to try to find a flaw in this religion or something that doesn’t make sense. If you do, then research! Look into why Jainism believes what it does and compare it to your argument. Even if you don’t want to take it that far and spend that much effort (although you really should), all I’m asking is that you try to focus and strengthen your mind. Think of it as a journey. You’re still allowed to get distracted- just distract yourself with something that will leave you feeling refreshed or wanting to further explore what you just thought about.

and concentrate on their “center” Once I tried Ithis, I began to takethat it a little farther. I and “aura”. mean the people take the time to sit back and reflect my mind they’ve began to get throughout distracted, daydream or not on what done Thank you soorealize much that for anwe amazing think at all. This helped me all haveyear Southeast! I will never forget the memories we had, the day. The people that commend and can't to seeoryou all again at the next retreat. experienced inwait onestuff way another. Most themselves distraction for the good - Akash Shah, Regional 2012-2013 people pointless distractions, suchCoordinator as they’ve lean done,towards and repent forSoutheast the Facebook or Twitter. But what if all this mind power not-so-good stuff. This simple was spent on something not just interesting, but also

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Young Minds

Summer 2013

And the winner is:

Congratulations, Washington, D.C! And congratulations to: Aanal Gandhi of Ashburn, Virginia and Paresh Shah, President of the Jain Society of Metropolitan Washington, for putting together an excellent #yja14 bid packet! “What better a place to foster this experience than the thriving, diverse capital of the world – Washington, D.C. – the heart of the American experience?” – Paresh Shah

“Ever since my first YJA I have loved every aspect of the convention, seeing how it had united and brought a stronger appreciation and love for Jainism among youth, and I want to make sure that YJA 2014 brings the same enthusiasm and more for Young Jains of America.” – Aanal Gandhi

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See you all at #yja14!


Young Minds

Summer 2013

Why am I Here? Why am I Suffering? Why am I in Pain?

Contributors: By: Krupal Mehta

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why am I here?" "Why am I suffering?" "Why am I in pain?" I guess hardly any of us have really thought about these questions. Someone might say, “I am here because God sent me here.”

We would like to thank the following article writers and contributors to this quarter’s issue of Young Minds: Krupal Mehta Chintav Shah Mahima Shah

Why did God send you here? Any answer? No. The answer “God sent me here” does not explain the question. If God sent you here, then why did he make you an intelligent human-being and not any animal, insect, or bird? How can somebody else decide where you have to go? Do we like it if somebody decides our schedule, or what we have to do? No, right? You are not here because God sent you here. You are here because of your past deeds. This can be easily understood using Newton's Third Law of Motion: "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." Whatever actions you did in your past get accumulated in the form of karma. If you did something good, it is considered positive karma, and if you did something wrong it is considered negative karma. "As you sow, so shall you reap" is a saying known to almost everyone. If you try to understand it in terms of karma, it is like saying, "whatever deeds you did in your past, will sometime come back to you." If you gave trouble to someone, or tried to harass somebody, a similar thing will happen to you…if not today, then tomorrow. This is why karma theory is an analogy to Newton's Third Law. If you are suffering today, it is not because God is punishing you. It is not because you are not as lucky as others. It is simply because you did something similar to someone else in the past and you are getting back the results of those deeds. Whatever you record on video is the same thing you will see on the television. Karma is similar to that. If a student does not study for an exam, he or she will not pass with good grades. Similarly, if your deeds were bad in past, you will suffer today or tomorrow. Your today is simply the reaction of your past actions. Because of your bad deeds, you are suffering today. Similarly, if you are happy and life is going well for you, it is because your past deeds were good. If you compare yourself with your friends or relatives, saying things like “He is wealthier than I am; this is not fair,” then you are wrong. He is wealthier because he did good actions in his past and is only enjoying the fruits of that good karma. (con’t on page 9)

Parth Savla Salonee Shah Sejal Dhruva Shrutpragya Swamiji Sunny Dharod The 2012-2013 Executive Board ----

With special thanks to: Priyal Gandhi For editing each article; and

Bonita Parikh For selecting all photographs used. ----

Interested in contributing to the next issue of Young Minds? Visit our website for more information:

http://www.yja.org/publications/ youngminds

YJA has definitely been an awesome experience and I wish our next Board all the luck in the world. #yjalove guys! - Malhar Teli, Director of Publications, 2012-2013

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Young Minds

Summer 2013 Continued from page 9

@YJATweets

It is because of these karmas that we are endlessly suffering in this world and from the painful cycle of birth and death. Is there anything that we can do to at least minimize our karma?

#yjalove

Follow YJA on Twitter Are you a fan of the Twittersphere? Follow @YJAtweets and stay on top of all the news and updates you need to know about YJA! Tweet us your ideas, suggestions, questions, or just send us some #yjalove. Here’s what some of our followers are saying about YJA:

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Aanal @agandhi15 “The BEST part about YJA is learning about our religion and becoming a close knit family with all young Jains across USA.”

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Vishal @vishalabwala “I love #YJA because it's a whole Jain family!”

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Krutak @Krutak_Shah “Because of #YJA, I have made lifelong friends.”

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ishabh @Not2Shabbbyy “The best part about #YJA is being able to enter a new world filled with lasting friends, experiences, and chutney sandwiches.”

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Yes, there are a lot of simple things that we can do in our daily lives to avoid accumulating karmas. Simple things like walking carefully on roads can avoid killing several small living creatures. Eating at restaurants where only vegetarian food is served, minimizing wastage of food and water, avoiding eating at night, avoiding lies, controlling our anger, etc. are just a few of the things that we can do. The Short and Sweet Message: The only way to end your pain and suffering is by destroying all your karmas. About the author: Krupal is an electronics design engineer in India. He enjoys learning about Jain philosophy.

Become a YJA Local Representative Today!

Local Representatives are a very important link to our Regional Coordinators and the YJA Executive Board, acting as the liaison between local Jain Center, youth groups, and the YJA Executive Board. In addition to helping out your region with regional events, you can: 

Support the Director of Education by creating unique and interactive sessions/webinars, maintain our blog, education-based projects for JAINA;

Support our Director of IT with website maintenance;

Support our Director of Publications by writing or editing articles for Young Minds, or updating our blog;

Support our Director of Fundraising by reaching out to different organizations to gather donations for YJA;

Support our Director of Project Development by implementing new ideas and expediting current projects; and/or

Support our Director of PR by helping market our events for regions outside of your own, or work on monthly newsletters.

Click here to sign-up to be a Local Representative

Thank you for an incredible year of #yjalove and some of the best memories and new friendships that will last a lifetime. - Sejal Dhruva, Co-Chair, 2012-2013


Young Minds

Summer 2013

YJA Events Photo Recap

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Northern California Game Night New Jersey Picnic New Jersey Six Flags Trip New York City Dinner Washington, D.C. Dinner

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Thank you to my fellow boardies for a great year! - Kunal Dagli, Director of Fundraising, 2012-2013

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Young Minds

Summer 2013

6. Austin Pre-JAINA Dinner 7. Raleigh Mini-Golf Trip 8. Southern California Mini Golf Trip 9. Southern California Bowling Night 10. Boston Six Flags Trip 6

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Young Minds

Summer 2013

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

Monthly Webinars – Educate and raise awareness about Jain principles and ideals and address youth problems, difficulties, and concerns. Website Maintenance – Continue to develop a professional website for Jain youth and create a forum to share Jain principles and values. Regional Retreats – Weekend retreats held in each region to instill a sense of religious and cultural pride among Jain youth. Community Volunteering – Organize volunteering events, such as Relay for Life and assistance at soup kitchens to allow youth to participate in charitable community activities. National Dinners – Encourage the development of friendships with Jain youth in their local cities, while conversing about real-life topics relating to Jainism over a delicious meal.

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

Young Jains of America Contribution Form *You can make a contribution by credit or debit card at https://jaina.site-ym.com/donations/donate.asp?id=3410* Full Name: ___________________________________________________________ Company Name (Optional): ___________________________________________________________ Address: _______________________________ City: ____________ ST: ____ Zip: ___________ Daytime Phone: (______)______________ Evening Phone: (______)_____________________ Email Address: __________________________ Please make your check payable to Young Jains of America and mail it to: Young Jains of America c/o Sheenika Shah P.O Box 1312 Brea, CA 92823

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Jai Jinendra Thank you for reading this quarter’s issue of Young Minds! We ho e you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed editing and preparing it. We would like to extend our gratitude to our current Executive Board, our Board of Trustees, and the JAINA Executive Committee, for their unconditional support, encouragement and efforts to make this year as successful as it was. We hosted over 30 different events, ranging from national dinners and social activities, to volunteering at soup kitchens and animal refuge parks. This year was, without a doubt, a team effort and we couldn’t do it without you all. It’s been an amazing year and we ho e you’re ready for what YJA and the incoming Executive Board has in store for you this upcoming year. We wish the incoming Executive Board the very best of luck! Thank you again, everyone, and please keep in touch! With #yjalove, --Sheenika Shah & Sejal Dhruva Your 2012-2013 Co-Chairs

Summer 2013

Young Minds

Young Jains of America Est. 1991 http://www.yja.org

Stay Connected: https://www.facebook.com/YoungJains http://www.twitter.com/YJAtweets info@yja.org

September 2013  

Young Minds - September 2013

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