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Quotes from Acharyashri, News & Upcoming Programs
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The Initiation Point of Shravakatva

 
What is the beginning point of shravakatva or shravak’s life? It is a common belief that the life of a shravak or shravakatva begins when the child is born in a Jain family. The account of a child as a family member is created with the birth. Similarly, the title of a shravak is labelled with birth in a Jain family. This is a general conception; Jain philosophy believes otherwise. There are three valuable gems according to Jainism – right faith, right knowledge, and right conduct. Shravakatva begins only when a person nurtures these gems and incorporates them in their life. Acharya Tulsi writes in Shravak Sambodh as:
 
Samyakdarsangyaanachaaritraani ratnatrayi moksha path hai,
Umasvati ke shabdon mein, shravakjeevan ka yah ath hai.

i.e. three gems – right faith, right knowledge and right conduct constitutes the path of moksha. According to Acharya Umasvati this is the beginning of shravakatva. Let us understand the starting point of shravakatva clearly.

Redefining Value
In the words of a Sanskrit poet:
prithvyamtriniratnaani, jalamannamsubhaashitam,
mudhaihpaashaanakhandeshu, ratnasangyaabhidhiyate.

i.e. Water, grains, and virtuous words – these three are the only pearls and gems on this earth. Only ignorant people consider stones as gems. Generally, gems like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds  are considered as the most precious jewels. If there is no water to drink then what would be considered more precious – a gemstone or water?

Once, wandering in a forest, a king met a hermit.
Hermit: ‘Who are you?’
King: ‘I am the king of this country.’
Hermit: ‘What do you do?’
King: ‘I rule over my kingdom.’
Hermit: ‘Do you do something for your life?’
King: ‘No, I do nothing.’
Hermit: ‘Take a moment and evaluate your life.’
The king responded with pride, ‘Why should I evaluate my life? Look at the prosperity of my kingdom. My kingdom is prosperous from all perspectives luxury, army and the wealth.’
Hermit: ‘That is fine, but is your life worth more than your prosperous kingdom.’
King: ‘So what is the value of my kingdom in your eyes?’
Hermit: ‘It equals to two glasses of water.’

The king was astonished by these words and said, ‘No way! Explain yourself!’

‘O king! Imagine for a moment that you are sleeping at night. Suddenly, you feel urine blockage. You are restless and uneasy. The medicine did not work. You panic like a fish out of water. In such a critical situation, an experienced doctor gives you a medicine and you start to feel better. Tell me what will you do?’ 

The king answered, ‘In such a situation, where someone saves my life, I will reward him with half of my kingdom.’

Hermit: ‘O king! Now imagine that you are going on a sightseeing visit to a jungle with your family and army. Suddenly you notice that you are all alone and off the beaten path. On an extremely hot day in the month of May, scorching heat makes you thirsty. Your throat is dehydrated and you begin to worry for your survival. At this moment, having noticed your thirst, a stranger comes to you with a glass of water and thus saves your life. What will be his reward ?’
King: ‘In such a life-saving situation, I will reward him with half of my kingdom.’
Hermit: ‘You are a wise man. You gave half your kingdom to the experienced doctor who cured your urine retention and the other half to the person who gave you a glass of water when you needed it the most. So, what is the value of your kingdom – Is it not just two glasses of water?’


Hence you do not know the value of your life which is precious. This is the value of your kingdom, but your life is priceless and more valuable than precious stones. A person who does not evaluate his life can never succeed and thus cannot experience peace and happiness.

Excerpts from "Who is a Jain Shravak ?" by Acharya Mahaprajna 

Gyanotsav 2020


Under the auspicious guidance of Samani Malay Pragyaji and Samani Neeti Pragya Ji and with immense effort and planning from Prachi Ji, Shweta Ji and all the teachers, for the first time in the history of JVBNA, the celebration of Gyanshala annual day - Gyanotsav was conducted virtually. To add, this was the first celebration that was viewed across the countries as it was attended by extended families of Gyanshala families around the world. Gyanotsav, the celebration of knowledge was celebrated on 6th June 2020 for central Gyanshala and on 7th June was celebrated for North Gyanshala. Both the celebration included acknowledgement of students and teachers under the auspicious presence of Samanijis. 

Central Gyanshala program - Gyanotsav was led by MC and Gyanshala chief coordinator Prachi Shah along with JVBNA youth volunteers Bhavi daftary and Diya Jain and North Gyanshala celebration was lead by MC & North Gyanshala coordinator Poonam Jain. Highlights  of central Gyanshala Gyanotsav  included Samaniji’s blissful words,  inauguration of Annual Gyanshala magazine by magazine editors Snehal Harkawat and Sonia Jain. Furthermore, the essence of the event was enhanced by the first ever Virtual cultural program coordinated by Gyanshala cultural coordinator Venus Jain  & performed by all Gyanshala students . 

Gyanotsav also included report on one more successful year at Gyanshala for the year 2019-20 and acknowledged student of the year - Dev Shah and teacher of the year - Alka Singhvi. JVBNA education VP Shweta Daftary presented milestone achieved through JVBNA Online Study forum, and report on book translation projects. A new category award - "Star volunteer award" was announced by JVBNA President Shilpaji Bhansali encouraging youth to come forward and give volunteering service and for this year the award went to Gyanshala Charitra group student Hersh Daftary
 
Finally few wise words of acknowledgment by JVBNA chairman Surendraji Kankariya. The program was concluded by Mangalpath by Samaniji . But for Gyanshala students, there was yet much awaited surprise game in the form of virtual treasure hunt which everyone enjoyed thoroughly and ended the chapter of Gyanshala year 2019-20 with memories and everlasting smiles.


YouTube Linkhttps://youtu.be/DsMvoeiycpo
 

Soft Skills and Personality Development


With reduced summer activity due to ongoing pandemic the role of JVBNA to engage the community into constructive activity becomes that much more important. Kids are very susceptible can very easily digress into activities which are not so conducive to overall growth of the personality during such a period. Keeping the above situation and role of JVBNA in mind, 2019-20 Gyanshala ended with a note of announcing summer program for children open to all ages in the form of workshops.

Under the leadership of  Samani Malay Pragyaji and Samani Neeti Pragya Ji, the first of such workshop was introduced. This was 12 session workshop meant for soft skills and personality development. This included sessions by Samanijis for kids 9+ and sessions by Parul Baid and Sonia Jain for kids 8 and below. The agenda for this workshop was to teach students keynotes on life skills to achieve success and happiness in life. The key topics that were covered as part of this workshop were: Personality Development, Artistic Life, Positive Attitude, Turn your Ants (Automatic Negative Thoughts) into Pets (Positive empowering thoughts), How to Think, Art of Communication, How to be Unique and many other topics related to soft skills comparative to lord Mahavira thoughts. On the last day of the 12 session workshop a small evaluation class was organized which included a fun quiz game. Upon completion all students who attended regularly were acknowledged with a certificate of completion. 

We hope that we continue to have more such life changing and empowering sessions from Samanijis as JVBNA continue to contribute to the upliftment of the quality of life.

Acharya Mahapragya Birth Centenary Lecture Series


On the occasion of Acharya Mahapragya's birth centenary, in the month of May, Samani Malay Pragyaji and Samani Niti Pragyaji delivered lectures and literature on topics that impact our daily life. Acknowledging the life and dedication of Acharya Mahapragyaji towards upliftment of human behavior and human thinking, Samanijis made an impactful argument for the topic and inspired the listeners to follow the journey of Acharya Mahapragya.  

Happy and Harmonious Family
 
On June 13th, Samani Malay Pragya Ji organized a workshop on a book written by Acharya Mahapragya Ji "Happy and Harmonious Family". During this unprecedented circumstances when we have to spend entire day with our loved ones, it is quite but natural to have build up of negative energy. This was the perfect moment for us to take a step back and understand the architecture of a happy family which we all crave but never make an effort to understand its structure, strength and weakness of such a family. Samani Malay Pragya Ji chose the perfect occasion to educate us on this really simple looking complex problem of life. This workshop definitely gave us few idea to improve things in ourselves or bring about happiness and harmony in our homes. As expected the Q&A session on this topic lasted longer then expected but Vandami was patient enough to answer every single one of them.

YouTube Link
https://youtu.be/tnky8rlf644
 
Journey to Spiritual Heights
 
On June 19th, Samani Malay Pragyaji and Samani Neeti Pragyaji presided over a unique setting where JVBNA members shared their experiences about their interaction with Acharya Mahapragyaji. Some also shared their views and tribute in form of beautiful bhajans. Samani Malay Pragyaji took the discussion straight to the point of how to utilize Acharya Shri's life lessons. Samaniji picked few key life lessons that she thought were most impactful and would bring about a huge positive change in life of an individual. Samaniji also suggested everyone to maintain a dairy with Acharya Shri's life lesson and suggested everyone to read the book "Journey to Spiritual Heights", a book about life of Acharya Mahapragya ji. The program continued with additional feedback and bhajan's by JVBNA members from across the world and concluded by Mangal Path by Samani jis.

YouTube Link
https://youtu.be/rKdqRfNkPMg
 
7 Wonders of Life
 
On June 28th, Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago organized a session by Samani Malay Pragyaji and Samani Neeti Pragyaji on "Seven Wonders of Life". Samani Malay Pragya ji like always touched upon life's seven wonders which we always knew but always considered a common feature rather than a wonder. For example she explained how much to eat, what to eat, when to eat etc. These sound so common knowledge yet we fail to follow in our daily life due to ignorance. Other than food other wonders that Samaniji talked about were Body, Senses, Breath, Language, Desire and Life Force. The detailed explanation provided on all these 7 wonders of life was truly enriching. These seven wonders of our life decide the path our life will take and its important for us to understand these seven wonders so that the path our life takes leads us to happiness and success.

YouTube Link
https://youtu.be/3RiOuUFTaqE

 
Lets Go Inside with Sessions
 
If you can't go outside, Let's go inside with sessions from Samani Malay Pragya ji and Samani Neeti Pragya ji right at your home.
 
Daily Preksha Anushthan : 7AM to 8AM
Bhaktamber, Dhyan, Dhvani, Pranayam
By Samani Malay Pragya Ji

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/891556845
 
Daily Samani ji Pravachan: 8PM to 9PM
Monday: Bhavna
Tuesday: Roots of all evils
Wednesday: Uvasagdasao
Thursday: Uttaradhyan Sutra
Friday: Sutrakritang
Saturday: Q&A
Sunday: Basics of Jainism
 
By Samani Malay Pragya Ji (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday)
By Samani Neeti Pragya ji (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/650899666
Yoga and Meditation Sessions
 
Get healthy in the comfort of your home. Ramesh Ji Parmar will be helping us heal our mind, body and soul.

Please use the below link to Register for the program. There is a waiver and liability form that needs to be signed as a part of Registration process. Once you sign that you will get a confirmation email with a link to join. The email will also have the next week schedule for the class. There is a link in the email that allows you to join
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/uZEpc-Cvrjktl3N9-oLkw74JO2ZAWmUnfA

Additional materials
Pranayama for Wellbeing and Inner Strength - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTxNOtZUTSs 
Meditation Technique to strengthen Fearlessness - https://youtu.be/GD-SncSDOpA
Upcoming Events
 
  • Family Camp - TBD
  • Kids Camp - TBD
  • Paryushan - TBD
  • Bhikshu Jaap - TBD
  • Logassa Anushthan - TBD
  • Diwali - TBD
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Jain Vishwa Bharati of North America · 151 Middlesex Ave., · Iselin, NJ 08830 · USA

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