Jain Vegans ►Sponsor Chaitra Ayambil Oli ►Oshwal Centre, 22nd to 30th March 2010

Posted: 08.03.2010
Updated on: 30.07.2015

Jain Vegans

Jain Vegans is proud to sponsor Chaitra Ayambil Oli

Oshwal Centre, 22nd to 30th March 2010

The forthcoming Chaitra Ayambil festival at Oshwal Centre (22nd to 30th March 2010) will be sponsored by Jain Vegans, a decision that was inspired by the late Devendrabhai Virchand Shah, a true friend of Jain Vegans, who passed away in June 2008 (see tribute beneath this article).

Jains all over the world are choosing to follow a vegan lifestyle rather than a lacto-vegetarian lifestyle. Jains following a vegan lifestyle choose to refrain from consuming any animal products including cow’s milk and products made using cow’s milk (e.g. butter, dahi, paneer, ghee, etc.), either by simply avoiding such products or replacing them with widely available animal-free plant-based alternatives (e.g. dairy-free spreads, soya yoghurts, tofu, vegetable ghee, etc). In addition, they also avoid wearing clothes made from animal products such as leather and silk.

The primary reason why Jains choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle rather than a lacto-vegetarian lifestyle is to avoid the inherent violence (‘hinsa’) to animals arising from the production process of animal products in our modern commercial society. Many Jains understand that modern milk production is cruel because of the use of chemicals, milking machines, and the separation of calf from mother - but feel that this could be partially avoided by using free-range or organic animal products.

Unfortunately, regardless of whether labelled organic or free-range, commercial milk production also involves the killing of innocent cows.  All male calves born are either slaughtered immediately or reared for meat and leather (it would not make commercial sense for a farmer to keep a bull unless there was some way to make money from him). A female (milk producing) cow could naturally live to twenty or thirty years of age, but she will be slaughtered when between five and ten years old for meat or leather.  This is because her milk production drops and it is no longer commercially viable for a farmer to keep her.

The Jain Vegans egroup was launched in March 2008 to provide support and advice for Jains who wish to reduce their hinsa footprints by avoiding the consumption of all animal products (including dairy) and to advise on plant-based alternatives among other aspects of the vegan lifestyle. The egroup has now got a membership base spanning four continents and continues to attract new members all the time, who exchange valuable thought-provoking information, helping the Jain community to progress towards greater ahinsa.

Ayambil is particularly special for vegan Jains. This is because during the nine days of Ayambil, thousands of other Jains also observe a diet that excludes a variety of foods including dairy products such as dairy chaas, dairy dahi and dairy ghee, and thus observe a restricted vegan Jain diet. (Of course, adopting a vegan lifestyle doesn’t mean one is adopting an Ayambil diet all year round.)

We mustn’t also forget that by consuming dairy products, we are inflicting grave hinsa on five-sensed beings and therefore we are binding more hinsa karma by consuming dairy products than when we consume grains.

At a time when Jain values are in such great danger of being eroded, especially with regard to the treatment of animals, the continued celebration of this auspicious festival shows that the Jain spirit is still very much alive. It is our sincere wish that in sponsoring the Chaitra Ayambil Festival 2010 we can do our small bit to raise awareness of some of the current challenges facing our community, and offer our fellow Jains all the assistance we can to preserve Jain values in this modern age.

For the first time in the twenty-five years of the biannual Ayambil festival at the Oshwal Centre, all the food served to volunteers will be vegan. In addition, for both the Ayambil participants and the volunteers, organic ingredients will be sourced as far as possible, and the rice will be fairtrade as well as organic.

If you would like to learn more about the vegan lifestyle and the Jain Vegans group, please visit: www.jainvegans.org


http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/pics/organisations/Jain_Vegans/Devendrabhai_Virchand_Shah.jpgThe late Devendrabhai Virchand Shah (1945 - 2008)

The beloved Devendrabhai, a valued friend of Jain Vegans, was the inspiration behind Jain Vegans sponsoring the March 2010 Ayambil event. In 2008, he warmly invited all Jain Vegans members to experience the Ayambil event at Oshwal Centre. For those who made it, they were treated to a special informative guided tour, by Devendrabhai himself, of the various Ayambil activities taking place at the Oshwal Centre, before sitting down in the dining hall for the Ayambil meal.


The March 2008 Ayambil was a very important one for Devendrabhai, as this marked his completion of fasting nine consecutive Navpad ni Oli (i.e. 81 Ayambils).


To learn more about this extraordinary and much loved Jain, including the vegan dimension which was a major part, please visit the special tribute website set up by Drijen, his son: http://www.devendrabhai.com

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