Activities Of London Jain Community [17.03.-27.04.2005]

Posted: 29.04.2005
Updated on: 19.03.2013


    • 17.03.2005 5th Annual Lecture On Jainism at SOAS by Prof. Phyllis Granoff, Yale
    • 20.03.2005 Arrival of Samanijis in London
    • 25.03.2005 Holi at JVB London
    • 09.04.2005 Spiritual concert organised by the Jain Spirit magazine
    • 10.04.2005 Samanijis hosted a Navaratri function in Birmingham
    • 16.04.2005 Samani Pratibha Pragya’s lecture on food and Spirituality
    • 17.04.2005 Samanijis at Shishukunj Centre
    • 17.04.2005 Workshop “Health: Preksha Meditation and Yoga Lifestyle’’ with Prof. Manchanda
    • 19.04.2005 Milad-al-Nabi Lecture at the Ismaili Centre, birthday of Prophet Muhammad
    • 22.04.2005 Mahavir Jayanti
    • 24.04.2005 German Jain lady completed fourteen days fast
    • 27.04.2005 Launch of twelve volumes of The Clay Sanskrit Library


    5th Annual Lecture On Jainism at SOAS by Prof. Phyllis Granoff, Yale



    Prof. Phyllis Granoff, Dept. of Religious Studies of Yale University, delivered this year’s annual lecture on Jainism at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on 17th March 2005.

    Her topic was, “Protecting the Faith: Exploring the Concerns of Jain Monastic Rules”.
    She clearly left the audience a bit disappointed as no allowance was made for the usual question and answer session. Clarification was needed on some of the aspects covered in the lecture.

    The following day’s workshop, 7th Jaina Studies Workshop, covered a wide range of topics. They ranged from “Dharma and Religion in the Indian Constituent Assembly Debates” to “Jain Jurisprudence”, “The Pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya: Cosmology and Salvation in Practice” to “The Caves of Khandagiri and Udayagiri: Jainism in Orissa”.

    Arrival of Samanijis in London



    In the meantime, Samani Pratibha Pragya and Samani Punya Pragya returned to London on the night of Sunday, 20th March 2005. The calling of their order was immediately apparent when the Preksha Meditation classes started at 7 a.m. sharp the following morning! The other regular programmes including daily Preksha Yoga & Meditation as well as weekly study classes (Swadhaya) have also resumed.

    Holi at JVB London


    The spiritual Holi programme on Friday, 25th March at the London Jain Vishva Bharati Centre (JVB London) was an opportunity for the English based Jain community to meet the Samanijis in person, since their return from India after an absence of over three months. It is worth noting that while Holi is a Hindu festival, Jains observe Coumaasi Pakkhi Pratikraman at this time. Jains address this spiritual time by empowering themselves with the recitation of mantras. The special mantra recited was,

    “Om Hreem Shreem Loggass Ujjoyagare Dhamm Tithayare Jine Arhante Kittissam Cauvisampi Kevali Mam Manobhistam Kuru Kuru Svaha”.

    The attendants learnt from the Samanijis that while Holi is synonymous with colours, perception of psychic colours is an important part of Preksha Meditation. The audience was guided through an internal journey of colour visualization on different psychic centres.

    Spiritual Concert Organised By Jain Spirit


    On Saturday evening, 9th April a sell out charity spiritual concert was organised by Jain Spirit. Kaushik Khajuria and Party mesmerised the audience by singing with unprecedented virtuosity and playing with such dexterity, old and new eastern as well as western musical instruments. Samani Pratibha Pragya called on all the Jains to ensure the continued success of this unique Jain international magazine and Mr. Manick Choraria, chairman of Jain Spirit, echoed her words. Samani Punya Pragya recited a solo stavan [Spiritual song] in her inimitable golden voice.

    Samanijis Hosted A Navaratri Function In Birmingham



    Samanijis activities are not confined to London. On Sunday, 10th April, they hosted a Navaratri [Nine holy nights of spring] function in Birmingham. To bring awareness of Jain values to the local community, Samanijis always encourage establishment of children as well as adult learning classes and Birmingham is no exception to this rule!

    Samani Pratibha Pragya’s Lecture On Food And Spirituality


    A week later on Saturday, 16th April the Samanijis were invited to the Jain Oshwal Centre, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Samani Pratibha Pragya delivered a lecture in Gujarati on the topic ‘Food and Spirituality’ (Aahar ane Adhyatama).
    A new Jain temple will be ready in August. Programme for the consecration from 19th August to 29th August 2005 will be available soon.

    Samanijis At Shishukunj Centre


    Samanijis have an inclusive approach and they do not believe in cutting off themselves from the cultural activities of other organisations, Hindu or Jain. They were invited to the Shishukunj Centre [Hindu cultural centre] on Sunday 17th April. The aim of the charity trust is to educate children in Indian culture and values by organising workshops, retreats and giving practical lessons in music and arts.


    Workshop “Health: Preksha Meditation and Yoga Lifestyle’’ with Prof. Manchanda



    Later on in the afternoon of 17th, a workshop on “Health: Preksha Meditation and Yoga Lifestyle’’ at JVB London took place. Prof. Manchanda gave a lecture on “Health: and Yoga Lifestyle’. Prof. Manchanda is an eminent cardiologist and the former head of the Department of Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He is closely involved with Adhyatma Sadhna Kendra, New Delhi, headed by Swami Dharmanandji.
    The talk was delivered with great lucidity. Prof. Manchanda discussed the methods by which it is possible to reverse heart diseases, diabetes, blood pressure and obesity. He emphasised that his methods are backed by researches conducted by AIIMS. He also quoted extensively from the results of research done in USA, Europe and Israel. These findings illustrate the way in which 21st century science is obliterating the traditional gap between mind and body.

    Milad-Al-Nabi Lecture At The Ismaili Centre, Birthday Of Prophet Muhammad


    Dr. Atul Shah, editor of Jain Spirit and myself attended the 2005 Milad-al-Nabi Lecture at the Ismaili Centre on Tuesday, 19th April. It was delivered by Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, the Pakistan High Commissioner to England. The topic of the lecture was: “Islam and the West - Perceptions and Reality”. The lecture is delivered annually to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

    Mahavir Jayanti


    This year’s birthday of Lord Mahavir fell on Friday, 22nd April. Over the weekend quite a few programmes were organised by various Jain bodies to celebrate his birth anniversary. Most of these programmes consist of prayers, children’s plays, religious songs and general talks on the life of Lord Mahavir.
    The Samanijis attended such programmes in Manchester and London. However; this is a routine, which has not changed in a generation. I feel with a population of Jains in excess of over 30,000 in England, we should host an ‘Annual Mahavir Jayanti Lecture’ in London to be attended by people from various faiths, different walks of life and a variety of organisations. Samani Pratibha Pragyaji feels we should also host an ‘Annual Mahavir Jayanti Festival’ with all Jain organisations participating under one banner of Jainism. Perhaps a start could be made in 2006.

     Ahimsa NO VIOLENCE

    German Jain Lady Completed Fourteen Days Fast


    Gabriele Helmer from Germany came to London last week to meet the Samanijis, members of the British Jain community and also to visit some Jain temples. She is studying for a PhD in Jainism at the University of Luzern, Switzerland.
    Gabriele is now following the Jain faith and has completed an extraordinary feat of fasting for fourteen days. Her fast breaking ceremony of Parana [Breaking of fast of the previous day] was performed in the presence of Samani Pratibha Pragyaji and Samani Punya Pragyaji at the Manchester Jain Community Centre on Sunday 24th April. I bow down to her!

    Launch Of Twelve Volumes Of The Clay Sanskrit Library


    My wife Latika and me were honoured to attend the launch of the first twelve volumes of the ‘Clay Sanskrit Library’ at the Nehru Centre in London on Wednesday, 27th April. The ceremony was performed by His Excellency, High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom, Mr. Kamalesh Sharma, in the presence of the general editor of the library, Richard Gombrich, Professor Emeritus of Sanskrit, Oxford University and other dignitaries. One of the volumes, “The Epitome of Queen Lilavati” was written in 1297 CE by the Jain poet-monk Jina-Ratna.
    The book narrates how embodied souls undergo all too human adventures in a succession of lives, as they advance to final release. The ‘Clay Sanskrit Library’ has been founded by John & Jennifer Clay, residents of the USA.
    This is another great example of true international philanthropy that transcends the barriers of religion, caste, colour and creed. More details about this can be found on

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