The Anuvrat Movement: Theory and Practice ► The Anuvrat Vows: Indian And Diasporic Perspective

Posted: 26.06.2013

Discussions in the previous chapters were limited to the responses obtained from my thirty interviews with Indian scholars, monks, nuns and laity. In the present chapter, I will analyze the responses elicited from the survey conducted in India of the demographic characteristics, attitudes and behavior of Anuvratis and non-Anuvratis regarding vows and the effectiveness of the Anuvrat Movement. Majority of my informants were followers of the Terapanth tradition, which is the origin of Tulsi's movement. Yet, I was personally impressed by their willingness to be self-reflective and honest in the way they answered the questions, even about weaknesses in the present state of Tulsi's Movement. For example, many of them in their interviews remarked that the promotion of the vows has been weak, and they were unsure whether that was a consequence of a lack of focus among the mendicants or the laypeople.

For the Jain diasporic communities in the United States, I had planned a similar survey. However, in my preliminary research my interviewees in the United States told me that they did not think there was sufficient knowledge of the Anuvrat Movement among diaspora Jains to make my survey useful. While their feedback answered one part of my research questions, I wanted to delve deeper, and so conducted nine interviews among Jain practitioners and scholars of Jainism from various backgrounds in both Miami and Los Angeles. In addition to this, I also participated in numerous informal conversations, observations, temple visits and meetings with the Jain diaspora during my two years of study at Florida International University and particularly during the last six months of my research work. Hence, in this chapter I begin my discussion with the Indian survey data and interview responses and conclude with the Jain diasporic responses.