The festival of Diwali is the time to remember Bhagwan Mahavir’s nirvana. It is the day when Bhagwan Mahavir attained moksha in the month of Aaso, 2547 years ago. Bhagwan Mahavir fought against the darkness of ignorance and lit “Gyan Dipak”, the lamp of knowledge, and became the illuminator of the universe. His last sermon, the Uttaradhyayan Sutra, took place in Pawapuri, Bihar, continuing right up to his liberation.
In this beautiful festival of Diwali, remembering Bhagwan Mahavir and his last teachings, Pujya Acharya Shri Chandanaji (fondly known as Pujya Tai Maa) will explain the Uttaradhyayan Sutra starting 15 days before and continuing until midnight on Diwali day. Our true spiritual journey on the path of enlightenment can begin only when the light of knowledge reaches our inner consciousness. So let us all ignite our own lamp with the knowledge Bhagwan Mahavir has given us under the guidance and with the blessings of Pujya Tai Maa.
Here is the calendar of events for Diwali. Try not to miss this amazing opportunity to understand Bhagwan Mahavir’s teachings!
To access Pujya Tai Maa’s discourses on Uttaradhyayan Sutra:
With the vision of Pujya Tai Maa to empower every member of the family to lead a balanced, happy and fulfilling life, multiple virtual learning programs for spiritual and holistic development of all age groups across the globe have been organised and are open to all, regardless of religion, cast, race or background.
These wonderful thought-provoking learning classes have already started but you can still join! To find details of these classes, both for adults and children, please view the calendars at https://veerayatan.org/pdf/veerayatan-calendar.pdf. (Please note that the regular online weekly classes conducted by sadhvijis will not take place between 1 - 19 November.)
We look forward to welcoming you!
Please also find the recordings of the swadhyaya of Acharanga Sutra, the first and foremost of the 11 Jain scriptures, explained so eloquently by Pujya Tai Ma: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLttI7h5kbs_XS0gigWIXOHDNNYugjvRbO
Mere Devdoot (My Angels) is a book written by Acharya Shriji in which she remembers and reflects on everyone who has shaped her life. Over the past year we have been publishing these stories in the newsletter.
Here is one such story in which we learn that when we are so committed to achieving our desired aim, then the path to achieve it opens up by itself……
Some experiences cannot be fully articulated and shared in the form of words. They just need to be experienced to be known. Moreover, similar efforts can be perceived and experienced very differently by different individuals. Click here…… to share in the humble attempt by one individual, a disciple of Pujya Tai Maa, to articulate his observations on the beautiful journey he undertook of a 30 day fast.
The Covid-19 pandemic has left millions of people worldwide below the poverty line with people struggling to meet even their basic requirements. In times of such need Pujya Tai Maa wants everyone to come together and support each other. She emphasizes that this is not to be viewed as charity, but that it is our responsibility to support livelihoods. With this in mind Pujya Tai Maa made an appeal and, in no time Tai Maa’s disciples came forward and, since early lockdown, thousands of people in Bihar have been supported.
Food parcels containing 16 Kg of essential food items (such as flour, rice, dal, sugar and oil) are being distributed to those in need. Thank you to all who have made this possible!
With the blessings of Pujya Tai Maa, we are pleased to announce that after five and a half months, the eye hospital at Veerayatan Rajgir campus (NJSM) re-opened on 3 September 2020. Full Covid-19 safety and hygiene protocols are being followed by staff and patients and every patient is sanitised and masks are distributed to all and worn within the hospital. There is a good number of patients attending as many of them have been desperately waiting for the eye hospital to reopen and seek treatment for their eye conditions.
For the past 19 years, Veerayatan Kutch has been supporting single parent, orphans and economically challenged students by sponsoring and waiving their fees. This year it has been extended to almost all the students. There is no pressure on students and parents to deposit school/college fees by a certain time and with assurance given that the students’ studies will not be hindered in anyway.
We are pleased to announce that none of the Veerayatan Kutch staff have been asked to terminate their jobs. All the staff are allowed to work from home.
All the students of all the Institutes running under Veerayatan Kutch are attending online classes regularly. The staff are conducting online classes with utmost dedication. And even the laboratory based practical classes are being delivered online by the lecturers. This kind of online learning experiences are easier to organise in cities but the successful running of such programs in remote areas such as Kutch can be regarded as a major achievement.
One of our students, Raj Bhatt, undertook the exams set by the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research and achieved an excellent ranking in all of India so as to be considered for Masters and Doctoral degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences. We congratulate him for his brilliant performance and wish him good luck for future endeavours.
Second year BCA students and second and third year BBA students have done extremely well in their exams and all have passed with flying colours!
A one-day webinar on Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) was conducted for the school and college girls and female staff in collaboration with GIWA (Global Interfaith Wash Alliance) and WSSCC (Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council). This interactive session went through all relevant information about menstrual health and hygiene, myths, taboos and safe sanitation practices. Due to the overwhelming response from the students, a follow up question and answer session was organised where expert mentors and gynaecologists answered students’ questions.
Another webinar was held on 'Global Handwashing Day' in collaboration with Global Interfaith Wash Alliance. Faith leaders from different communities worked together and became enthused to achieving a water secure world where all would have access to clean and healthy water, sanitation and hygiene. Pujya Tai Maa has been inspiring us to conserve and utilise water wisely for many many years thus resulting in the beautiful lush green campuses of Veerayatan. Her message was effectively presented by Pujya Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji at the webinar making people aware of not just conserving water but also on the importance of hygiene and cleanliness. Sadhviji also emphasised the importance of handwashing specially during this pandemic.
With the blessings of Pujya Tai Maa, Shri Adinath Netralay, the eye hospital, re-opened it’s doors after closing down during the lockdown. A stream of patients is coming through and receiving the required treatments. In the two months since the hospital re-opened, 1998 patients have been seen in the outpatient department, 113 patients have had specialised investigations and 93 patients have had eye surgeries. What a good start!
It is also our great honour to announce that Dr Gullapalli Rao, the founder of the world renowned L.V. Prasad Eye Institute based in Hyderabad, has agreed to join our medical advisor board. The expertise and experience of Dr. Rao will be hugely beneficial for our eye hospital and for the residents of the surrounding towns and villages. We humbly welcome Dr. Rao with open arms!
The optical shop, which is part of the hospital, opened in early October. Patients will be able to purchase their spectacles here at very reasonable cost.
A new Vision Centre has been opened in the premises of Sewa Samaj, in the heart of Palitana. The aim of the Vision Centre is to conduct preliminary investigations, come up with a diagnosis and decide on the management plan including the need for further treatment in the hospital. This primary care centre treats patients free of charge and spectacles are given to patients where necessary at a minimal cost. Since it’s inauguration, around 20 patients are being seen on a daily basis.
The school is closed due to the Covid-19 restrictions, but as is the case with all other Veerayatan centres, the students are receiving online education. Teachers are being trained to deliver classes online and the students are well supported in their learning.
Veerayatan UK and Young Jains Nairobi supports over 117 children with Cerebral Palsy. The centre is served by specialist teachers, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Read further to find out what inspired the leaders to carry out such outstanding work which is transforming the lives of these children……….
Vaishali, a bright student, is in her final year of the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree program at Veerayatan Kutch. She is a clever student, interested not just in pursuing her academic studies but is good at drawing, painting and also enjoys athletics for physical fitness.
She came to Veerayatan in highly unfortunate circumstances. Her vocal cord is damaged and has already been operated on twice but without success. It was her dream to become a pharmacist but with her father being paid so little in his job as a driver and having incurred debts for the operations which Vaishali required, there was no way Vaishali would have the opportunity to receive higher education. However, Veerayatan came forward to support this girl to pursue her dreams. Vaishali says that she wants to carry on and study for the Master’s program and earn well not just to support her family but she also really wants to sort out the problem with her vocal cord. We wish her every success…..
All the children’s classes and adult class started again in September and because of Covid restrictions these classes are conducted online. The children are connecting well, learning and exhibiting their creative talents! Children have learnt about Mahavir Bhagwan and his qualities, some have learnt about Neminath Bhagwan and his immeasurable compassion whilst the older children have learnt, amongst other things, about self-discipline and it’s role within Jain philosophy.
All at Shri Chandana Vidyapeeth (South London) have been inspired by the Vyom Veerayatan initiative, particularly as we have had tighter restrictions introduced again due to COVID-19. We express our appreciation and gratitude to Pujya Tai Maa and all the Sadhvijis for their tremendous zeal, encouraging us to get through these tough times with their spiritual discourses. Pujya Tai Maa's vision of this initiative is proof of her experiential knowledge and exceptional compassion.
We have continued with our Saturday morning adult class, but we took a break from our regular study of The Jaina Path of Purification by Professor P.S. Jaini. Over the past four weeks, Dr. Mehoolbhai Sangrajka explained the text of Chapter 8 of Acharanga Sutra - The Pillar of Righteousness. It was an eyeopener for many of us to put into perspective our miniscule discomforts that have dominated our lives lately and to understand the relevance of Samayik and Meditation as taught by Mahavir Bhagwan.