Param Pujya Acharyaji Shri Chandanaji is the founder of Veerayatan and under the dynamic leadership of Acharyaji and with the untiring efforts of all the Sadhvijis, Veerayatan has blossomed into one of the leading NGOs, making a real difference in the lives of millions. Acharyaji has touched the lives of countless people through education, health care and spiritual development with complete dedication and courage.
It was with Acharyaji’s blessings and with the leadership and motivation of Pujya Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji Maharaj that Shri Chandana Vidyapeeth Jain School was established in London over two decades ago.
Pujya Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji Maharaj has been a huge source of inspiration for everyone over a number of years. People who have been inspired describe Sadhviji as brilliant, heart-warming, dedicated to service, passionate, a deep thinker and someone who has profound faith. Pujya Sadhviji’s frequent visits to the UK, enlightening everyone on Tirthankar Mahavir’s teachings in a practical and modern way has made a profound impact on us living in the West.
Pujya Sadhviji’s latest visit to the UK in July this year has been hugely energising, inspiring, and spiritually elevating for everyone and we have all been blessed in her presence.
We had a series of three evening discourses where Sadhviji with her innate clarity delivered inspirational and powerful words of wisdom with practical takeaways to make it relevant to today’s society.
On the first evening Pujya Sadhviji gave a very stimulating and inspiring discourse on Unleashing the Spiritual Power within. Sadhviji beautifully explained that whilst Darwin’s theory of evolution is on the external body from apes to humans, Mahavir Bhagwan’s research and teachings are on the progress of the soul from the tiniest of organisms to a human being capable of thinking and listening. Sadhviji highlighted that human life is a great opportunity and that we all need to learn to unlock the power within and light our own “Deepak”! Sadhviji gave us all some wonderful take-home messages –
“let friendship be your religion”; “accept people beautifully as they are”; “learning to let go on small trivial matters”; “moving away from a relationship of give and take to having no expectations”.
In the second discourse entitled Life is a Celebration, Sadhviji highlighted that we all tend to live our lives with various permutations and combinations and we seem to lack the instruction manual on how to live in reality. Sadhviji posed an interesting question – “Are we ready to go if life ends today? Do we have regrets on missed opportunities?” We learnt that everything in our life is based on cause and effect and there is a constant cycle of action and reaction. Sadhviji expressed that true practice is really living life with Mahavir Bhagwan’s philosophy that we are all indeed totally responsible for everything in our lives. Sadhviji left us with some truly inspirational messages to make our lives joyous and a celebration –
“happiness is an art that we need to cultivate every moment”; “enjoy the present moment and don’t postpone happiness”; “live life with awareness”; “learn to see happiness in little things in life and have gratitude for everything”.
On Friday evening, Pujya Sadhviji graced SCVP School where the children from all the classes and the adults showed their appreciation and gratitude to Sadhviji in a moving and touching assembly. It was Sadhviji’s foresight and vision over two decades ago that helped establish SCVP Jain school. Today, under the guidance of Pujya Sadhviji and with the selfless work of numerous teachers, this is the oldest Jain school in London and thousands of children and adults have benefited learning values and Mahavir Bhagwan’s philosophy in a fun and creative manner. Sadhviji also visited the various children’s classes where children showcased their learnings and interacted with Sadhviji. Members of the newly established mindfulness classes also had the opportunity to be graced and blessed with the presence of Sadhviji. It was truly a joyous and blissful evening!
At the weekend in a tranquil retreat, we were truly blessed with Sadhviji unpeeling layers of the profound text, ‘Kathoupanishad’ in a lucid manner with her deep clarity and elevated knowledge. Over two days Sadhviji took everyone on a journey of the relevance of this text, the certainty of death and what happens beyond and beautifully explained the amazing truth of the divinity around and within us. Sadhviji with a very clear, simple and articulate interpretation of the text showed everyone the right path to attain the knowledge of the Self and also guided everyone on remaining positive constantly and shedding our egos. It was truly a fascinating experience and all the participants of the Shibir left feeling inspired and spiritually uplifted.
On Saturday evening, we had a memorable celebration of Veeryatan’s tremendous humanitarian effort over the last 50 years in the presence of Pujya Sadhviji. The evening was lit up with wonderful performances from the young children of SCVP sending a message of love, peace and compassion to all. Pujya Sadhviji, touched the hearts of the audience with the emotional journey of Veerayatan’s phenomenal work in helping the underprivileged. It was truly inspiring and moving to hear how Acharyshriji and all the Sadhvijis have put into practice Mahavir Bhagwan’s philosophy of helping others and making a huge difference to millions of lives. The evening was rounded off with soulful devotional music and the audience left feeling overjoyed and inspired having been part of such a unique celebration!
In the third and final discourse on Inner Harmony, Sadhviji outlined the need for internal progress as we tend to focus largely on external progress in terms of career, property, etc. We learnt that making a proactive vision for our internal life and being constantly aware in every action will bring harmony to our lives. Sadhviji highlighted that just as the body needs cleaning, so does the mind – a pure and clean mind will lead to bliss and harmony. The mind takes photographs every moment and the choice is ours of what photographs we allow the mind to click! Sadhviji gave us all some inspiring nuggets in how we should lead our lives –
“appreciation of the good things that we and others do”; “expression of gratitude in our lives”; “small acts of kindness, love and compassion on a daily basis”; “disseminate friendship, love and peace and you can expect that in return”
We were also hugely fortunate to have early morning meditation sessions with Sadhviji and every one of us who attended those sessions felt a sense of calmness and a huge amount of positive energy to tackle the day ahead! Sadhviji, in these early morning sessions also explained Patanjali Yoga Darshan in a simple and beautiful manner showing us the path to adopt positivity at all times and how to focus on not reacting to situations but to remain in a state of constant awareness.
Pujya Sadhviji also visited South London and met up and interacted with all the teachers from SCVP leaving everyone hugely inspired and energised with her words of wisdom.
Pujya Sadhviji has gone beyond thinking of her own existence. Her one aim is to transform and beautify everyone’s lives by putting into real practice the essence of our beautiful religion. This was clearly evident in the recent visit with people from all walks of life finding the sessions truly inspiring and moved to make transformational changes in their lives.
Our heartfelt gratitude to Pujya Sadhviji for taking time out and gracing us with her presence in the UK. We are indeed humbled and pray from the bottom of our hearts to seek this continued grace and blessings from Pujya Sadhviji to guide and help us on our spiritual journey.