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Unity In Jain Community UK

Published: 17.09.2006
Updated: 30.07.2015

In front, the six Samanijis are sitting: (from r) Samani Niyoka Akshay Pragyaji, Samani Vinay Pragyaji, Samani Prasanna Pragyaji, Samani Pratibha Pragyaji, Samani Punya Pragyaji, Samani Sambodh Pragyaji. Behind the Samanijis, representatives from different organisations are standing.

Samani Niyoka Akshay Pragyaji (r) and Samanijis Pratibha (2nd r) & Punya Pragya (l)

All six Samanijis in front of the JVB London Sayer centre

Christians have priests, Muslims have Imams, Jewish have Rabbis, and Hindus have priests. They have interlocutors for their faith. We have been around a lot longer than them and lay Jains have had no such media outside India for all this time. No wonder then that no one knows about us! This has been a signal failure - another example of painting ourselves into a corner. A mistake engendered by our tendency never to question and never to dare.

We as a community succumbed to the ultimate SIN: FEAR. It would be comical if it were not so immensely tragic. Imagine what the world could have been like if Jain thought had been part of the zeitgeist for the last two thousand years!! Only now after more than Two and a half Thousand years we have our interlocutors in the Western world.

2nd September 2006

Jainism is many things. It is a self sustaining permanent dialogue between Humanity and the Universe. A school of thought; a notion; a hard nosed no nonsense adventure into courage. An act of humility which imbibes the good; the bad and the downright nasty emerging from these purified whilst purifying everything in its path.

A CONSTANT REMINDER THAT THE ULTIMATE SIN IS TO BE AFRAID.

And this description is merely a minute sliver, a scraping from the tip of the tip of the grand iceberg!

Jainism carries within its seed the ultimate act of humility to believe in everything and nothing! I.e. Diplomacy with style.

It is a fact that those who have tried over the millennia to practice or sustain Jainism have had to works within its remit with patience and have as a result had to compromise themselves and their principals. An inheritance which now grates upon our collective consciousness. This and has resulted in division and dissipation.

At last we come together.

The Jain Vishva Bharti London organised a gathering of all the Jain communities in London. There are quite a few! It was hosted by the head of the Samani order Samani Akshapragyaji who urged us all to prepare ourselves before we preach to others!

As Samani Pratibhapragyaji said “working together works”.

Vinod Kapashi of the Mahavir Foundation presented the programme. Leaders in the Jain community all attended and gave their full support to JVB London.

The organisations present were:

Bhakti Mandal; Digamber Jain Visa Mewada Association;
Institute of Jainology; International Mahavir Jain Mission;
Jain Association of the UK; Jain Samaj Europe;
Jain Samaj Manchester; Jain Sangh Birmingham;
Jain Social Group;
Jain Vishva Bharati;
Mahavir Foundation;
Navnat Vanik Associations of UK;
Navyug Pragati Mandal;
Oshwal Association of UK;
Shree Digamber Jain Association;
Vanik Association;
Veerayatan;
World Council of Jain Academy;
Yorkshire Jain Foundation;
Young Indian Vegetarians;
Young Jains.

Let us learn form this. We are Jains first. Let us practice before we preach. The differences between us are minute in comparison to that which we have in common. The large number of organisations signifies not disunity but is yet another example of Anekantvada.

At the JVB London I have witnessed something, which is truly historic. We have daily practitioners of the Jain way. A task more difficult in the Metropolis that is London where the cornucopia of distraction can way-lay the strongest willed. I daresay it is a lot more difficult to be a Jain ascetic outside of India without the network of support (both material and practical) that ascetics can and do take for granted in India.

Christians have priests, Muslims have Imams, Jewish have Rabbis, and Hindus have priests. They have interlocutors for their faith. We have been around a lot longer than them and lay Jains have had no such media outside India for all this time. No wonder then that no one knows about us! This has been a signal failure - another example of painting ourselves into a corner. A mistake engendered by our tendency never to question and never to dare.

We as a community succumbed to the ultimate SIN: FEAR. It would be comical if it were not so immensely tragic. Imagine what the world could have been like if Jain thought had been part of the zeitgeist for the last two thousand years!! Only now after more than Two and a half Thousand years we have our interlocutors in the Western world.

LET US FEAR NO MORE.

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          1. Anekantvada
          2. Bhakti
          3. Birmingham
          4. Consciousness
          5. Digamber
          6. Fear
          7. Institute Of Jainology
          8. International Mahavir Jain Mission
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          27. Shree Digamber Jain Association
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          30. Vinod Kapashi
          31. Young Jains
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