Indianapolis ►Account of Samani Charitra Pragya ji & Samani Prasanna Pragya ji’s Stay in 2010-10

Posted: 25.10.2010
Updated on: 03.11.2010

Samani Prasanna Pragya

Samani Charitra Pragya

Samani Prasanna Pragya

By Babulal Banthia

Samani Charitra Pragya and Samani Prasanna Pragya were invited by our Jain community of Indianapolis. There are about 35 to 40 Jain families of various denominations in and around Indianapolis. They are typical mixture of various professions, such as medical doctors, engineers, IT professional, business people, scientists, and many other professions. We were very fortunate that Samanijis agreed to stay in Indianapolis for nearly one week from October 3 to 9, 2010.

Sunday, October 3

On Sunday evening the talk was started in a Q/A format. People right away started questions on such intriguing subjects related to soul, karma and moksha in Jainism and this continued all evening and some on next evening as well. Samani Charitra Prajna explained these complicated entities very well from Jain perspective. People marvelled at her depth of knowledge and fluently speaking in English. In the same way every evening program was held at different houses having lectures on different topics like stress management, comparative study of different religions, watch your words, watch your action, watch your thoughts, watch your character and watch your habits etc. by both the samanijis. We were also benefited with the practice of meditation, prayer as well as question and answer.

Tuesday, October 5:

We had prior appointment in the morning for samanijis to lecture at a religious class at Butler University, a small local university. First of all samanijis had a personal meeting with Professor, Chad Bauman at his office at about 8:20 am. Class duration was from 8:30 am to 9:45 am. And the subject was “Introduction of Jainism”. There were 22 under graduate students present. Samani Charitra Prajna ji explained main Jain principles of non-violence, non-absolutism, non-possession, etc, briefly gave historical background, about Mahavir’s life, about Terapanth Acharyas, about hardship of living of Jain monks and nuns, about daily living of Samanis, what they do, etc. Students were engaged fairly to samaniji’s lecture. They asked many questions to her about their clothes, short hair, vegetarian food, etc. She also described about student exchange program at JVB. Professor Chad Bauman was very impressed with samanis life style and her depth of knowledge.

Wednesday, October 6:

At 12:45 pm, we took both samaniji to our good American/Philipino friend, Orlando Gustilo’s house. He had requested and made prior arrangement to conduct video interview of both samanijis at his house, where he has complete setup of cameras, lights, audio & Video equipment, etc. He video recorded both of them individually and two together. He asked many questions on Jainism and their ways of living. They also spoke freely on whatever they wanted to say on Jainism. This lasted from about 1:30 pm to about 4 pm. What a contrasting personalities these two samanis have! We came to know by hearing from them accounts of their daily living in detail.

Saturday, October 9:

Today was the last day of stay by these samanijis in Indianapolis. So those who could come did not want to miss their pravachans. This desire to listen and to feel samani jis’ austere life style brought people in droves. At 9:30 am to 11 am Samani ji Charitra Prajna ji started morning with navkar mantra chanting and singing of bhavabhini Vandana. Then she taught and demonstrated to us correct way to practice Preksha meditation. After a short break for lunch, samaniji enlightened us with her final afternoon program. An undergraduate student, Ronak Shah came from Indiana University (IU), Bloomington, IN with a list of questions. Samaniji Charitra Prajna ji answered his questions. It turned out that discussions on his range of questions such as domestic crimes to capital punishment; conflict resolutions, etc. occupied rest of the afternoon session. He has created his own major at IU on conflict resolution. So he was very delighted to get this opportunity and to hear from samaniji appropriate answers based on Jain perspective.

Lastly, Samani Charitra Pragya ji gave an excellent account of Jain teachings, research potential at FIU, Miami and JVB, Ladnun. People were highly impressed by not only her mesmerizing talks throughout the week, but also to hear what is happening in terms of many opportunities available to acquire Jainism knowledge academically.

Samani ji Charitra Prajna ji has such a great convincing personality that people like to listen to her. She has the ability to speak on any subject with full confidence and such ease, that we all remember her, even after she leaves. We thank both samanijis for coming here and imparting Jain knowledge among us. Even though they stayed here for as many days as they could (6 days), we all felt that this much time was not sufficient. Though these (2) samani ji left town, but their legacy will remain among all of us for a long time to come. We think they have now energized our small Jain community; otherwise it was very passive; to spread Jain principles among population at large.

Samani Char.itra Pragya and Prasanna Pragya in Chicago

Samani Charitra Pragya and Prasanna Pragya were invited by Jain Samaj of Chicago for one week from 9th Oct. to 17th Oct. On Saturday, 10th Oct. two programs were organized at Jain Center. In morning both Samanijis delivered lectures on the topics, “why should one practice religion and “How to control our passions”? The afternoon program was arranged for youth with the combined presence of Samanijis and Dr. Dipak Jain. It was a brain storming session how youth can be attracted towards religion and spirituality as well as what projects they want to lead or involved themselves in. Samani Charitra Pragya started the session with her innovative and encouraging views. Dr. Dipak Jain invited all youths to share their ideas. It was nice to hear them and know about their interest. Samanijis visited many houses and delivered lectures while staying there. They also addressed the Samayik group and the group of Varshitap on Wednesday afternoon and in evening. On Saturday 17.Oct. the Ayambil Oli was organized at Jain Centre. Both Samaniji delivered lectures on the topic of outer penance an dinner penance. On 18 Oct. samanijis left for Kentucky.



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