Veerayatan Newsletter,
April 2024, Edition-45

The life-changing Diksha Ceremony

On March 1, 2024, Snehalataji Surana underwent the life-changing Diksha ceremony, renouncing her worldly life to embrace the path of Bhagwan Mahavir under the guidance of Pujya Tai Ma. This beautiful and serene ceremony unfolded at Veerayatan Rajgir, witnessed by around 200 family members and guests from India and abroad. Pujya Tai Ma, revered by many, initiated Snehalataji as her 15th disciple, bestowing upon her the name 'Sadhvi Shri Kalyaniji'.

In her heartfelt pre-initiation speech, Snehalataji expressed, "I have been part of the Veerayatan family for many years, where I have closely observed and imbibed the teachings of Pujya Tai Ma. Her thoughts and actions have profoundly influenced me, leading me to dedicate my life to her noble cause. I believe that human life attains great virtue, and I am committed to continuing the legacy of humanitarian service championed by my Guru, Pujya Tai Ma, until my last breath."

Flag Changing Ceremony

It has been 8 years since the magnificent opening of the Parshva Jinalay, a beautiful and serene place of worship within the peaceful setting of the Rajgir campus. The Parshva Jinalay is an abode for not only paying respect to God but also for both young and old to learn the Jain prayers and recite these with amazing feeling every single day, both morning and evening, and to show our deepest reverence to Parshvanath Bhagwan, Mahavir Bhagwan, and Rishabhadev Bhagwan. Each year, a special flag (dhaja) changing ceremony takes place and 2024 was no exception, with the auspicious ceremony carried out on behalf of Shrimati Shobhaji Rasiklal Dhariwal and Jhanvi Dhariwal Balan.

Importance of knowledge: Online Class

With the blessings of Pujya Tai Ma, Veerayatan has initiated a swadhyaya (study) session with Upadhyaya Shri Yashaji, based on the text, Sukti Triveni, which centres on the teaching and discussion of the messages of Bhagwan Mahavir. Sukti Triveni is a text written by Pujya Gurudev Shri Amar Muniji Maharaj in which Gurudev has compiled the verses from the various Jain, Vedic and Buddhist scriptures. Yashaji Maharaj eloquently explains each verse in simple Gujarati and then expands on these giving examples and reciting stories.

The class takes place every Saturday at India time 2pm. Zoom details are as follows:

Meeting ID: 532 877 7868 | Passcode: 108108

Mere Devdoot story

Mere Devdoot story

No sin will bind

Mere Devdoot (My Angels) is a book written by Pujya Tai Ma in which she remembers and reflects, with gratitude, on everyone who has been instrumental in shaping her life. We have been publishing these stories regularly in this newsletter.

In this story Pujya Tai Ma pays her deepest respect to Bade Maharaj who understood the real meaning of religion while strictly following ancient traditions and rules.

To read the story…..

Veerayatan Bihar

Farewell to final year students

Tirthankar Mahavir Vidya Mandir (TMVM) Pawapuri and Lachhuar organised a farewell ceremony for the outgoing students of class 10 and class 12. With the blessings of Pujya Tai Ma, Sadhvi Shri Sampragyaji graced the occasion and advised each of the students to do well in the future, foremost keeping in mind the path shown by Lord Mahavir.

One of the ex-students of Pawapuri now working in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as a scientist also addressed the students about his journey giving a motivational talk and giving guidance to the students who were departing.

The outgoing students were in praise of their time spent in TMVM and assured that they will spread the values of Veerayatan wherever they go and keep in touch with Veerayatan.

We wish the students all the best in pursuing their dreams!

Netra Jyoti Seva Mandiram Eye Hospital

Veerayatan has been instrumental in providing quality healthcare to people living in India’s rural areas for the last 50 years. The importance and need for good healthcare was recognised by Pujya Tai Ma as long ago as the early 1970’s when she observed that the most common diseases in Bihar were those affecting the eyes. Consequently, she initiated the first eye camp in 1974.

Veerayatan’s first and largest medical care facility, the renowned Netra Jyoti Seva Mandiram (NJSM), a modern 175 bed facility, was opened in 1987. The eye hospital has been providing excellent care and treatment to people in Bihar in and around the Nalanda District and beyond ever since, without any distinction of caste, creed and religion, earning it a nationwide reputation for providing outstanding patient and innovative medical care to thousands of people.

From 1974 to now, the statistics are as follows:

  • 3,929,685 patients with eye disorders have been seen and treated medically.
  • 400,931 patients have had eye surgeries.

The Dental unit has also been established since 2003 and to date around 260,863 patients have been treated.

The latest addition to the provision of healthcare is the state-of-the-art NJSM Diagnostic Centre, which was inaugurated on 26 January 2024 and is now operational.

Our Veerayatan Experience

By Nita Nilesh Mehta

My husband Nilesh and I thoroughly enjoyed our seva time at Veerayatan Rajgir where we spent 2 weeks in the month of February. During this time, we did volunteer work at the Pawapuri school and at the eye hospital.

It was amazing to feel the tranquil, peaceful atmosphere of Veerayatan; the chance to walk up to ‘Dhyan Meru’- the abode of all Sadhvijis and listen to the calming words of wisdom from the revered Sadhvijis; the lovely satvik food at bhojanshala and the trekking opportunities to Vaibhagiri, Vipulgiri and Ratnagiri hills.

To read more……

Veerayatan Palitana

Tirthankar Mahavir Vidya Mandir

The academic year is nearing its end at Tirthankar Mahavir Vidya Mandir, and students are currently immersed in their year-end exams. It's been a rewarding year filled with hard work from both students and teachers, ensuring that the syllabus is thoroughly covered and that students grasp all the concepts taught. Best of luck to all the students!

This year has been particularly interesting as students have adjusted well to school life after the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic. Academic progress has been notable, with Saturdays now dedicated to fun and skill-building activities like gardening, art, sports, dance, pottery, and computing. The enthusiasm and dedication shown by the students in these activities is heart-warming to witness.

Adding to the excitement, the school has introduced a ‘House system’ comprising four houses named Anand, Maitri, Karuna, and Anukampa. While still in its early stages, this system has ignited a competitive spirit among the students, adding a new dimension to their school experience.

Dr. Pinky Jain, Head of Teacher Education at the Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University, UK, visited Palitana in January to conduct teacher training sessions. These sessions are now being continued online, focusing on enhancing child-centric teaching methodologies, fostering interactive lessons, and improving continuous assessment techniques to better understand and support student learning. Dr. Pinky Jain has been involved in training teachers for the school since its inception in 2017, highlighting a longstanding commitment to educational excellence at Tirthankar Mahavir Vidya Mandir.

Shri Adinath Netralay

Shri Adinath Netralay, an eye hospital under Veerayatan, exemplifies dedication to delivering superior healthcare services. The hospital is meticulously designed and constructed to meet stringent national standards, reflecting Veerayatan’s unwavering commitment to excellence in healthcare. Its mission revolves around establishing compassionate and proficient eye care services in Gujarat, built upon three foundational pillars: specialised eye care, academic and research initiatives, and extensive outreach programs serving local communities. The hospital's team is dedicated to achieving excellence across all fronts, including clinical services, education, and community engagement.

In addition to providing primary eye care services, Shri Adinath Netralay also offers specialised treatments for retina and oculoplastic eye diseases, with expert doctors regularly visiting from major cities to treat patients.

From April 2023 to March 2024, the hospital attended to the needs of patients as follows:

  • Outpatient Department Patients: 19,156
  • Surgery Patients: 1,275
  • Sadhus and Sadhvis Treated: 92

These numbers reflect the hospital's significant impact and its ongoing commitment to serving the community through comprehensive eye care services.

Veerayatan Kutch

Glimpses of Activities

A very invigorating first quarter of 2024 activities and events at Veerayatan Kutch has uplifted the knowledge, skills and spiritual development of all present at the campus, not only the students and staff but also the visiting guests and local dignitaries who have recognised and appreciated the wonderful work which is being undertaken under the guidance of Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji and the other Veerayatan sadhvis at Veerayatan Kutch.

Annual Day at Veerayatan

Veerotsav - the Annual Sports and Cultural event of Veerayatan (Kutch) - was organised this year in the presence of Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji and the Chief Guest, Shri Mohan Patel, Vice Chancellor of Kutch University. Shri Mohan Patel wholeheartedly appreciated the improvement and development of the region due to the tireless efforts Veerayatan has been making for the past 2 decades. He pledged his support in every possible way to make the region’s educational offering even stronger.

The event encompassed a wide array of sports activities including Cricket, Badminton, Chess, Table Tennis, Carrom, Tug of war and Athletics. A Treasure hunt, Fashion Show, Antakshari, Dance and Drama were part of the cultural category. Students from all Veerayatan institutes enthusiastically participated leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of everyone involved.

Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji appreciated and awarded the winners with gold and silver medals, trophies and certificates. The event served as a reminder of the importance of extracurricular activities in nurturing talent, posting unity and instilling values of teamwork and perseverance – a proud moment indeed for all the parents, teachers and students! The programme concluded with sumptuous lunch for all.

Adani Auditorium and International Guests

Adani Auditorium is now well equipped and functional in hosting religious and social events. Many events such as motivational lectures, musical nights, felicitation programs, inspirational plays, exhibitions etc. were organised by some of the major social groups and participants from all over India stayed on the campus. They highly acknowledged and appreciated the beautiful landscaping, the state-of-the-art auditorium and the positive vibes of the campus. Above all, they were mesmerized with the discourses given by Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji. The clarity of thoughts on religion, Pujya Tai Ma's vision, Veerayatan's mission and connecting youth with the modern approach made a lasting impression on them.

Special evening prayers were conducted for the eminent Veerayatan members from overseas. Students showcased their talent and shared their experiences with members from London, Nairobi and the USA. The guests were very happy to see the overall development of the students under the able guidance of Pujya Sadhvijis.

A guest lecturer, Komal Mehta ME in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College of London, UK, also visited Kutch and organised a lecture preparing students on how to become a professional and achieve the best in their field of work. In particular, Komal spoke about having goals, making an action plan, preparing an effective resumé, working towards the goal and tracking progress. The students thoroughly enjoyed this insightful and rewarding session.

Appreciating and Enhancing Knowledge and Experience

National Pharmacy Education Day (NPED) 2024 was organised on 6 March on the birth anniversary of Professor Mahadeva Lal Shroff to honour his role in founding Pharmacy Education in India. He was the pioneer in establishing a B.Pharm course for the first time in India in 1937 in Banaras Hindu University. Public speaking, poster making, and essay writing competitions were organised to commemorate the achievements of this astounding personality.

Constitution day was also celebrated at the Veerayatan Institute of Pharmacy, bringing together citizens to honour and uphold the ideals of the constitution. A seminar was conducted to educate attendees about the intricacies of the Indian Constitution, its history and the role it plays in shaping the Nation's governance.

An Online Workshop was conducted at the Veerayatan Institute of Pharmacy for understanding and promoting awareness of rare diseases within the community. Mr Ishan Shukla (Assistant Manager- INTAS Pharmaceutical Ltd. Ahmedabad) was the key speaker at the session and the pharmacy students were educated on the importance of early diagnosis and appropriate medical intervention, understanding the challenges faced by individuals affected by rare diseases and knowing about the availability and accessing of resources and support systems for patients with rare disease and their families. Indeed, the students appreciated the insights into rare diseases, and they felt better equipped to help and support those patients who are afflicted with such devastating conditions.

School farewell

It was time to bid adieu to the 10th and 12th students. School students organised a farewell party for their seniors and wished good luck for their future.

We wish the students all the best in pursuing their dreams!

Veerayatan Kenya

Rangeela, the fun-packed funday!

Shri Chandana Vidyapeeth Jain School (Nairobi) recently hosted their highly awaited Funday, affectionately named "Rangeela," a colourful day filled with laughter, excitement, and lots of community spirit. Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji, in a recorded message, relayed Pujya Tai Ma’s blessings to all and wished for the success of the event saying it was a good way to engage with the children in a fun way.

The event featured a plethora of engaging activities and stalls that had participants of all ages thoroughly entertained. From classic games like Pop the Balloon and Angry Birds to thrilling Car Racing competitions, there was something for everyone to enjoy. As always, the traditional Bingo was a super-hit!

To read further……

Collection drive for educational material for the disadvantaged children

We are delighted to announce that two passionate teachers from Shri Chandana Vidyapeeth Jain school organised a collection drive for educational material, including stationery, colouring pencils, crayons, exercise and drawing books, textbooks and storybooks. This was done during a special Jain festival, gyan pancham, in 2023. The whole community came together including students of Shri Chandana Vidyapeeth and put effort in ensuring that enough items were collected and these were then donated to Amara Charitable Trust, an educational charity based in Nairobi, in January 2024.

Our utmost gratitude to our supporters without whom this would not have been possible. The pictures literally speak a thousand words when we see the joy on the faces of the recipients!

Shri Bhaktamar Stotra: A treasure of Devotion

Shri Bhaktamar Stotra: A treasure of Devotion

Six students from Shri Chandana Vidyapeeth took part in the skit competition for the 40th Pratistha celebrations of Shri Munisuvrata Swami Derasar in Nairobi. These children had a wonderful opportunity to learn the Bhaktamar Stotra during the lockdown and they showcased what they had learnt about the Bhaktamar Stotra. They performed a skit all in Gujarati, a demanding task but the students took on the challenge with the support of the teachers! As part of the skit, a brief story of Shri Mantunga Acharya was narrated. Three messages were delivered: the importance of prayers, the scientific reasons and the powerful energy of mantras; and bringing positivity when recited with faith and devotion. Discipline, hard work, and effort led to the students winning the 1st Prize! Watch the amazing performance:

Many congratulations to all the students and the teachers for inspiring and motivating the students. Great work!

Veerayatan UK

SCVP London Disney Themed Family Fun Day

'It was very well organised and attended and we all had fun – not to mention, food was delicious!'
(One of the participants)

With the grace and blessings of Pujya Tai Ma and Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji, Shri Chandana Vidyapeeth Jain School (SCVP), London hosted a wonderful and truly amazing Disney themed Family Fun Day event with a huge turnout this year. The fun day is an annual fund-raising event where students, adults, teachers, committee, trustees, volunteers and long-term supporters of SCVP put in a lot of effort in organising the whole event and all for a good cause! And we must not forget our Youth teachers who took on the task of planning and helping in the organising and executing the Fun Day. This year we were raising funds for Gratitude (a local charity in London spreading joy and making a positive impact by fighting hunger and food waste) and for the transformational work done by SCVP London in inspiring children to become good citizens and cultivate habit of selfless giving.

To read further……