‘Mere Devdoot’ is a book of short stories written by Acharyashriji describing the people and experiences which have shaped her journey. To respectfully accept the knowledge and experience of others is very difficult, as Acharyashriji reflected at an early age and recounts in the following story from this riveting book…
Acharyashriji was taken ill acutely and had to be flown to Pune from Rajgir urgently by air ambulance. She has been treated by expert doctors , nurses and other healthcare professionals under the able hands of Dr Ajay Thakkar and has now been discharged from hospital and is now recuperating. Shri Abhaybhai Firodia, President of Veerayatan, has been instrumental in organising Acharyashriji's healthcare and has been by her bedside at all times. All Veerayatan supporters worldwide have been praying for Acharyashriji's speedy recovery!
The unwavering compassion of Acharyashriji, however, has not stopped whilst she has been in the hospital - she has been consoling patients (despite being told to rest!) and making plans with the doctors to build a specialist medical centre in Rajgir, Bihar!
Acharyashriji's message from the hospital:
Veerayatan humbly requests your esteemed presence at the 84th birthday celebrations of Acharyashriji on 13, 14 and 15 March 2020 to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
All are cordially invited to join the festivities and celebrations and take part in this next milestone in the work of Veerayatan in pursuance of its aims of Seva, Shiksha and Sadhana.
Every successful professional has a career aim. These life choices can give rise to immense satisfaction. Meer Shah, 20 years old, participated in the 2019 Veerayatan Volunteering Programme for Young Adults and was struck by the life choices made by professionals working at Veerayatan.
Read his deep reflections in this article he has written to share what he observed: ‘You can’t spell ‘Career’ without ‘Care’’
Uttaradhyayana Sutra is the last sermon of Bhagwan Mahavir. Listen to Acharyashriji lucidly and beautifully explain the powerful meanings behind these verses and share her thought provoking insights. All the explanations are available free of charge by subscribing on YouTube:
Veerayatan’s work for the past 50 years has had a dramatic impact on thousands of lives without any discrimination as to cast, creed or religion. Transforming lives, building futures – here is the story of one such child, Veer Jain, who has experienced this.
‘Veer’ - the name given by Acharyashriji to a four year traumatized boy, so that he can bravely face his misfortunes and start experiencing a childhood with the divine motherly love of all the sadhvijis. He saw his father murdered in front of him and then there was no one to take care of him, not even his mother. He was brought to Veerayatan, Kutch at the tender age of four. Today he is 10 years old. He is sharp, a keen observer and a quick learner and has grown into a young confident child. He has been nurtured, with immense love and compassion, by the sadhvijis and others on the campus and this has allowed him to let go of his past and look forward to a bright future. He is studying at Veerayatan Vidyapeeth in Grade 5 and stays in the hostel where he has made many friends to play and connect with. He also likes to learn prayers and the teachings of Bhagwan Mahavir from the sadhvijis. Veer’s favorite time pass is to ride his blue bicycle in the campus, a bike that was fondly given to him by Shilapiji Maharaj as a Diwali gift. Veer has been given a chance to reach his potential and we all wish Veer every success in all that he does!
Veerayatan organized a free eye check outreach camp in Simaria village (112km from Rajgir) and Ghoshravan village with the blessings of Acharyashriji. Just over 1000 people were seen by the doctors, of which around 330 were registered to have follow up eye surgery at Veerayatan’s Netra Jyoti Seva Mandiram Hospital in Rajgir. For these people access to healthcare is almost non-existent and such mobile facilities provided by Veerayatan go a long way towards helping achieve Veerayatan’s vision of making Bihar blind free!
Veerayatan Vidyapeeth, Rudrani is a unique initiative for children coming from low income, rural and backward tribal communities of Kutch. For the past 18 years, the school has been imparting quality education free of cost to the students, including free uniforms, books, stationary, transportation and a nutritious mid-day meal.
As there is no discrimination of caste, creed or religion there has been a positive impact in forming a harmonious society. Over time local peoples’ mindsets have been transformed with the result that:
Many activities and projects such as the running of a cleanliness campaign, poster making, poem and essay writing etc. take place regularly to instill confidence, enthusiasm and good moral values in the children attending the school. The holistic approach to learning at the school offers an invaluable opportunity for the students to change the paths their life will take. In fact, many students have joined Veerayatan to become teachers after completing their further studies.
Sixteen students graduated from Shri Chandana Vidyapeeth (SCVP) Jain School at a colourful ceremony on Sunday 3 November after completing a 10-year Jain study program. The spiritual study at the Jain School teaches students the timeless values of the Tirthankaras and empowers them to think and behave righteously and to face challenges and difficulties with a balanced mind. The graduating students were awarded and recognised for their achievements. It is with immense pleasure that we announce that several of the graduates are to return to be trained as student teachers as a way of giving back! This joyous celebration was made even more special as other SCVP students gave performances that brought out Acharyashriji’s teachings such as truthfulness, gratitude and devotion. The youngest class sang a song to alert the audience to be awake and be alert to the world around them.
The morning ended with brunch where parents were able to mingle with the teachers and students of SCVP.
To show deep gratitude to Bhagwan Mahavir for teaching us the path to compassion, love and friendship, Young Jains together with Shri Chandana Vidyapeeth (SCVP) Jain school hosted the Veer Jaap and Bhavna to celebrate Diwali. The mesmerising Jaap consisting of prayers in praise of Bhagwan Mahavir created a serene and positive atmosphere enjoyed by all present.
“This was our first time and we completely enjoyed the experience and fully understood the significance of Diwali”
“The atmosphere was calm and serene, a joyous festival celebrated with love and devotion”
These were some of the comments made by some of the Jains who attended the unique Veerayatan UK Diwali celebrations. The event was filled with so many varied and wonderful items such beautiful songs and lively music depicting Mahavir Bhagwan’s life, Megha Kumar’s story performed by young SCVP students in the form of a skit, a Diwali card and Rangoli competition, a family Chopda Poojan performed by almost 300 people and conducted by Shri Vinodbhai Kapashi OBE. This was followed by a delicious Jain Vegan lunch. What a wonderful way of celebrating Diwali!
All the children and adults of SCVP Jain School celebrated the beautiful festival of Gyan Pancham on 1 November 2019. We all learned about the importance of respecting knowledge and to be grateful for all the learning we receive, whether it is in school, at home, from friends, or from acquaintances or at work. We also learned how important it is to take care of all the implements of knowledge. We ended by paying respect to all our scriptures, the eternal words and wisdom of Bhagwan Mahavir. What a beautiful annual festival!
On a cold, rainy winter night, seven youth teachers from SCVP Jain School participated in the feeding the homeless in London. In 90 minutes, over 350 homeless people queued up to collect the dry food and warm clothes that had been provided in an orderly manner for them. The youth teachers were not only taken aback by the sheer number of people who had queued up but also saw first-hand the conditions under which these people were living their lives. For the youth teachers it truly was an eye-opener and also inspirational to witness the way the Jalaram Institute and Lions Club had organised the distribution of food and clothes – and especially the fact that they have been doing so on a weekly basis for a number of years. At the end of the evening all the youth teachers were humbled by what they saw and left feeling inspired to do more such seva work in the future!
On 16 November a group of fifty children and adults from SCVP Jain School participated in the planting of trees to create the Ahimsa Peace Forest and Peace Garden. This activity was an initiative by OneJAIN to celebrate the life of Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary. A large group of individuals from various UK based Jain organizations planted over 1000 trees and 500 flower bulbs in the short period of a few hours, with children and adults enthusiastically digging deep holes on a cold and wet morning, respecting the wildlife whilst doing so and nurturing the saplings with love and prayers to give them a good future. Acharyashriji 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.
Veerayatan UK, partnering with Shisukunj UK and Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur UK, has been chosen by UK’s National Health Service (NHS) to promote the importance of organ donation amongst the Jain and Hindu communities. Veerayatan UK actively promoted the organ donation campaign of ‘Life after Death – Pass It On’ to around 300 people at its Diwali function this year. Organ donation is a topical issue as the UK government is actively encouraging those amongst the ethnic minority communities to donate organs. With a change in the UK law on this topic imminent, there remains a huge amount of work to be done in this area which Veerayatan UK fully supports