A special edition of Amar Bharti magazine, a monthly Hindi magazine containing information on all Veerayatan activities and spiritual articles, has been published with details of all the recent felicitations and many photos showing Pujya Tai Ma’s accomplishments, giving us an insightful glimpse of her life mission. To read:
Walk on the path of spiritual practice (Sadhana), service (Seva) and education (Shiksha). Sadhana is for one's own upliftment, done for one's own bliss. Service is for the welfare of the people and education is for making the society strong. We all know of this great work of Tai Ma. The definition given by Tai Ma, she has implemented it in her life. And after that the institution has been formed by going beyond sect. Veerayatan is not just an NGO. It is one of the main components of Jain thought. It is an institution because it has structure.
She has not only shown the path of education, service and spiritual practice, but she has also envisioned the structure to be followed, how the institution should look and how the institution should run. She has given momentum to society to work on this path. To call Veerayatan a mere institution would be to narrow it down. Veerayatan is a thought, a pure, energetic, uplifting thought.
Abhaybhai Firodia has also commented that Pujya Tai Ma is unique in not only providing the definition to Veerayatan’s tradition breaking vision but also with her hands-on approach to implementing this vision to remote parts of India immersed in challenging circumstances such as Bihar and Kutch.
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.
Here is one such story in which we learn about the importance of selfless acts. If every family can provide care for a child in great need, then the lives of thousands of children would be transformed. Truly, those who extend a giving hand to others, are society’s true angels. To read the story
We are pleased to announce that new construction work for two inspiring projects has started at Veerayatan Rajgir.
The building works for a new free school, Shri Gautam Gurukul, have commenced with the aim for the school building to be ready within 6 months. This school is being built for the destitute children living in and around Rajgir who until now have had no opportunities to get educated.
The construction work for the Diagnostic Centre in memory of Yuvacharya Pujya Shri Shubhamji Maharaj, has also started with the aim of completing the work within a year. This Diagnostic Centre will make huge strides in bringing much needed good medical facilities to local people in Nalanda and beyond.
With humbleness and gratitude, we are delighted to announce that Shri Sugatji Jain, a devotee of Pujya Tai Ma, has taken an initiative to train teachers of Pawapuri and Lachhuar. This training will take place every three months. In the first session, expert teachers from Ratna Sagar PVT LTD taught teachers how to make subjects interesting and explored the use of various modern teaching tools to make teaching more effective. This included teaching teachers to use up-to-date technology so as to make learning fun and successful. The local teachers are so privileged to have this opportunity to bring modern teaching methods to rural schools, thus enhancing students’ learning.
We are pleased to announce that all schools in Pawapuri and Lachhuar have now fully reopened, and children are pleased to be back at school rather than learning remotely. The number of students registered in Pawapuri has increased to around 1000 students now.
Similarly, Harikeshiya School, a free school for destitute children in and around Pawapuri, has started again. The teachers are working hard to ensure that children catch up with all the learning they have missed during the period of Covid-19!
We are pleased to announce that Aman Kumar, 11 year old student at Tirthankar Mahavir Vidya Mandir, Pawapuri, won a Value Education Contest organised nationally by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Aman Kumar, from Pawa village in Bihar, was awarded the first prize in the Bhagwad Geeta writing competition and received an electric bicycle as a gift. His parents and the entire school are very proud of Aman and we wish him every success in the future.
Prachin Bihar, a unique creation by Pujya Tai Ma, was inaugurated by Prasanbhai and Sejalben Firodia in Rajgir, Bihar in February 2022. It is an exhibit of model historic towns, temples, and landmarks of ancient Bihar. A novel and appealing model train has been created which stops at each ancient site providing information on that site and its importance from the Jain perspective. Every landmark was painstakingly handcrafted with exquisite details by Pujya Tai Ma herself and it will be an additional attraction for visitors coming to see Shri Brahmi Kala Mandiram, the beautiful museum also designed and created by Pujya Tai Ma.
It has been 5 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 show our deepest reverence to Parshvanath Bhagwan, Mahavir Bhagwan, and Rishabhadev Bhagwan.
Each year, a special flag (dhaja) changing ceremony takes place and this year was no exception, with the auspicious ceremony being carried out by Shrimati Shobhaji Rasiklal Dhariwal and Jhanvi Dhariwal Balan.
The students of Tirthankar Mahavir Vidya Mandir, Lacchuar (the birthplace of Bhagwan Mahavir) celebrated Bhagwan Mahavir’s auspicious birth with great joy. Their appreciation of Bhagwan’s message of Ahimsa (non-violence), love and compassion was shown through a varied programme incorporating dance, drama, singing and prayers in which all participated with great enthusiasm.
A 50-bedroom luxury retreat hotel, facing the Vaibhargiri mountain, has opened within the Veerayatan campus at Rajgir. Kripanidhi Retreat has been set up by Haparo Foundation, a non-profit company formed by Dr Nirenbhai Suchanti and Navinbhai Suchanti in association with Veerayatan. This is a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) project and the entire profit will be donated to Veerayatan every year for carrying out Veerayatan’s charitable activities in the area of healthcare and education. For more information on Kripanidhi Retreat, visit:
It is a matter of joy and celebration that Veerayatan Kutch campus now has access to Narmada water. With the blessings of Pujya Tai Ma and with tireless efforts of Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji, the long-awaited project has been successfully accomplished and the campus is able to access 70,000 litres of water everyday which is sufficient to cater for the need of good quality drinking water.
With the effect of Covid-19 slowly coming to an end, various activities are now resurrecting and gaining momentum at the institutes run by Veerayatan Kutch. The energy is returning with the hustle and bustle of students on campus. Here are glimpses of some of the major activities which have taken place during February and March 2022.
As the colleges opened, a combined get together was organised for the students and faculty staff of all the institutes. In the benign presence of Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji, the students shared their experiences, their insecurities and fears during lockdown, recited prayers and presented songs and dances to express their happiness at being back on campus. Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji blessed and wished them good luck and motivated the faculty staff to put extra effort to bridge the gap in knowledge in the coming academic session. Students were given notebooks, pencil boxes, bags and water bottles as a token of love and affection and after the event, all of them enjoyed a delicious lunch together.
A science exhibition was organised by school students on 'National Science Day' where students exhibited various scientific experiments. Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji was present to encourage and motivate the students at the event.
A long-awaited Freshers' welcome party was organised for 1st year students. Competitions were also organised for 2nd year students who due to Covid-19 last year could not be welcomed personally and physically at the college.
A First Aid training camp was organised by the Indian Red Cross Society in Bhuj where students were taught first aid through demonstrations including how to manage different types of injuries, fractures, bleeding and carrying out CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). It was greatly informative for the students and faculty staff to be able to first understand the critical condition of the victim and then handle such situations efficiently.
A thalassemia camp was organised where students were made aware of this hereditary disorder, its consequences and management. Students' own thalassaemic blood test was also carried out.
'Women's Day' was celebrated in the campus on 9 March where presentations, essay writing and skit competitions were organised on women's rights and women empowerment. Pertinent topics such as female foetus abortion, education for girls, domestic violence and effects of early age marriage and the concept of dowry were explored to aid change in outlook and thinking.
The Management faculty staff organised a seminar on the importance of the Stock Market with the intention to give exposure of stock market operations to the students. The students were introduced to the capital market, equity instruments, career in equity research, trading in equity market etc. A virtual stock market 'Stock Mind' was introduced to the students to participate in the seminar.
An excursion trip was also organised for the students to Atapi Wonderland, Vadodara. Students were very excited to be able to spend quality time with their fellow friends after nearly 2 years of not seeing each other.
Career Counselling Seminars were conducted in various schools in Mandvi, Mundra and Bhuj to inspire and motivate students of 10th and 12th grade to choose their career path moving forward.
One of the Mechanical Engineering students in Kutch, Bhargav Gusai, has been offered work at Adani Enterprise with a substantial salary of 6 lakhs per annum. What a great transformation has occurred in his life!
Bhargav was initially a student of Veerayatan Vidyapeeth Kutch and his education has been sponsored ever since then. Bhargav was just 6 years old when his father sadly committed suicide due to inability to repay loans. His family situation was dire with his mother, who has received no education, continuing to work hard to make ends meet by doing random housemaid jobs. Unfortunately, his elder sister has not been able to get married due to lack of funds and helps her mother by doing petty jobs. Bhargav has been good at his studies and Veerayatan has supported him whilst at school and then in the Engineering College as well.
He is very happy that he is finally able to bring a smile to his mother's and sister's faces and make their lives easier and more comfortable. Along with this job, he aspires to do an Executive MBA to give new heights to his career. We all wish him every success in life.
The transformation in Bhargav's life inspires us to continue following the path of 'Compassion in Action’.
In a truly insightful speech, Binaben, our educational lead in Kenya spoke about the important role which education grounded in the value of compassion plays in the life of all. She went on to say, ‘Education shapes us into responsible contributing citizens of the world. But we must hold onto values that make us human despite technological advancement, digital development and even breakthrough discoveries. We have been misled to believe success lies in test scores, material wealth and personal gains. At the very foundation of human existence is the expression of love and compassion. To make compassion a part of education is the first and most important step in bringing a paradigm shift in society and we will reap the benefits well into the future.’
The audience consisting of parents, teachers, dignitaries, friends and well-wishers were very appreciative of the work done by SCVP in moulding these young minds and helping build strong roots that can only spread and nurture our youngsters.
The editors of e-magazine ‘JAINverse’, an initiative of Veerayatan Kenya and Young Jains Kenya, invited SCVP students to participate in a story telling competition published either as stories or comic strips. Seventeen students aged between 8-10 years of age wrote value-based stories based on everyday occurrences. To read the stories:
The students accompanied by adults enthusiastically dug deep holes on a cold icy morning, respecting the wildlife whilst doing so and nurturing the saplings with love and reciting prayers to give them a good future. At the end of this hardworking but very enjoyable session, a total of 250 saplings were planted by the group! Pujya Tai Ma has immense love of nature and has communicated that everyone should plant at least ten trees during their lifetime, a message which should resonate with all as we all strive to help protect our increasingly fragile environment.
When we heard the wonderful news that the Government of India had bestowed Pujya Tai Ma with the distinguished civilian award of Padma Shri, we were elated! It is an award that recognised the far-reaching power of Pujya Tai Ma's love and compassion. She embodies the message that “One candle can light a million candles” resonating and sending ripples around the World to all. Here in the UK, we are 5,000 miles away, but we have felt Pujya Tai Ma’s warmth and kindness for more than 25 years ever since her first visit to the UK and the establishment of SCVP in 1996 by Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji with her blessings and guidance (https://scvp.info/site/).
We felt it was only fitting that the Jains in the UK should be given an opportunity to honour and celebrate the award of Padma Shri bestowed on Pujya Tai Ma. An online event was organised on Sunday 6 March 2022, where leaders from UK Jain communities spoke of their joy and shared their admiration and fond memories of Pujya Tai Ma.
To read further
To watch the full programme :
By Aaryan Sanghvi (aged 12)
O Spiritual Pujya Tai Ma
Congratulations on your efforts
The way you teach us how to avoid suffering and pain
You are an inspiration to the youth and all Jains
The sky turns clear blue
When they see the beautiful version of you
The sun has never seen someone with a more warm heart
You are like a beautiful piece of art
We give utmost respect
To someone so perfect
Pujya Tai Ma you are our role model
A unique one with brilliant qualities
O Spiritual Pujya Tai Ma
Congratulations on your award
I am sure you had gorgeous celebrations
For your fantastic work for the nation