Uttar Pradesh - The Land of 48 Jin Kalyanak - Jatra 2019

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January 2019 Jatra (pilgrimage), took participating Raj Saubhag mumukshus to the Northern State of Uttar Pradesh, to the cities of Allahabad, Kaushambi, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Ratnapuri, Shravasthi and Lucknow, janma bhumi of 12 Tirthankars of current chovisi and their 48 Jin Kalyanak Tirths.

Uttar Pradesh, the land of Tirthankars

A land mass that holds utmost importance to Jain Mythology, where non-violence, peace and truth have been understood and practiced for thousands of years, where 17 of the 24 Tirthankars of current chovisi, were born and is home of 67 Jin Kalyanak Tirths. The innumerable Jain Shrines that dot the state of Uttar Pradesh speak of a myriad of intimate associations with the lives of Jain Tirthankars. A power-house of spiritual energy that has attracted and moulded sentiments of millions of people across the nation and around the world.

Tirthankara, (Sanskrit: “Ford-maker”) also called Jina (“Victor”), in Jainism, a saviour who has succeeded in crossing over life’s stream of rebirths and has made a path for others to follow.

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There are 5 kalyanaks (auspicious events) in life of a Tirthankar:

1. Chyavana Kalyanak: When the soul of Tirthankara enters mother's womb.
2. Janma Kalyanak: Birth of the Tirthankara.
3. Diksha Kalyanak: When a Tirthankara renounces all worldly possessions and becomes an ascetic.  
4. Kevalgnan Kalyanak: The event when a Tirthankara attains Kevalgnan, absolute knowledge. A divine samavasarana (preaching hall) appears, from where the Tirthankara delivers sermons.  
5. Nirvana Kalyanak: When a Tirthankara leaves their mortal body, it is known as Nirvana, the final liberation, Moksha.

48 Kalyanak Tirths:  

Kaushambhi Tirth:  Padmaprabhu Swami 4 kalyanaks
Purimtal:             Adinath Bhagwan 1 kalyanak
Bhelupur:        Parshwanath Bhagwan 4 kalyanaks
Bhadani:      Suparshwanath Bhagwan 4 kalyanaks
Chandrapuri:     Chandraprabhu Bhagwan’s 4 kalyanaks
Sinhapuri:       Shreyansnath Bhagwan’s 4 kalyanaks
Ayodhya:               19 Jin kalyanaks- Adinath Bhagwan (3), Ajitnath Bhagwan(4), Abhinandannath Bhagwan (4), Ananthanath Bhagwan (4), Sumatinath (4)   

Ratnapuri:    Dharmanath Bhagwan’s 4 kalyanak
Shravasthi:     Sambhavnath Bhagwan 4 kalyanak

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“બધાનાં અંત:કરણની અંદર ભગવાન પ્રત્યેનો ખૂબ ખૂબ ભક્તિભાવ જાગવો જોઈએ કારણ કે જે તીર્થભૂમિ પર જઈએ છીએ, તે તીર્થભૂમિ અને ભગવાનના જે કલ્યાણકો થયાં હોય એની જે સ્પર્શના છે એ આપણા શરીરની અંદર નવી ઊર્જા ઉત્પન્ન કરે અને અપૂર્વ ઉત્સાહ અંદરથી જગાડે કે જેમ ભગવાને આ ભૂમિ પર આત્મકલ્યાણ સાધી લીધું તેમ હું પણ મારું આત્મકલ્યાણ સાધી લઉં.”
— Param Pujya Bhaishree

Day 3: 02.01.19 - Allahabad

Visit to Triveni Sangam
Early morning start, 6:00AM, to visit Triveni Sangam. As mumukshus made way to the boats to reach holy Sangam, heavy fog obscured view of Kumbh Mela 2019 setup. Millions of tourists arrive annually for a sacred dip in the confluence of two physical rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and the subterranean mystical river, Saraswati. In Hindu mythology taking a bath in the holy Triveni Sangam is said to cleanse the soul of its sins, setting it free from the cycle of rebirth. The sight of the confluence of water of River Ganga (brownish) with Yamuna (slightly greenish), along with the flocks of chirping migrating Siberian birds flying over the boats, jostling for space for a holy dip, along with the pilgrims, is truly a mesmerising sight. Bhaishree likened the confluence of rivers to the sadhna he has blessed the mumuxus with.

The origin of Kumbh Mela was transcribed by the 8th-century philosopher Shankara. The founding myth of the Kumbh Mela points to the Puranas (compilation of ancient Hindu legends). It recounts how heavenly angels and demons fought over the sacred pitcher, the Kumbh of Amrit, the nectar of immortality called the Ratna of Samudra Manthan. It is widely believed that Lord Vishnu, disguised as the enchantress ‘Mohini’ whisked the Kumbh out of the grasp of the covetous demons who had tried to claim it. As he took it heavenwards, a few drops of the precious nectar fell on the four sacred sites which are now known as Haridwar, Ujjain, Nasik and Prayag. The fight and the following pursuit is said to have lasted twelve divine days which is equivalent to twelve human years and therefore, the Mela is celebrated every twelve years, staggered at each of the four sacred sites in this cycle. The corresponding rivers are believed to have turned into Amrit at the cosmic moment, giving pilgrims the chance to bathe in the essence of purity, auspiciousness and immortality.

Once again, we can liken the fight of devas and asuras as that of Arhat conquering the four inner enemies to attain the inner nectar or the eternal bliss.

Kaushambi

Visit to Jain Shwetambar Tirth
Post breakfast, Yatris departed for Kaushambi Tirth, home of Padmaprabhu Swami’s 4 kalyanaks (chyavan, janma, diksha and kevalgnan). Immersed in bhakti bhaav, mumukshus had opportunity to do puja and chaityavandan with Pujya Bhaishree.

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Visit to Shri Prabhash Giri Tirth Kshetra Pabhosa, Ancient Gardens of Kaushambi

Next, the Sangh headed to Prabhashgiri tirth - Pabhosa, for darshan at Digambar Derasar built in 1834 with mulnayak, Padmaprabhu Swami. Digambars believe Padmaprabhu attained diksha & Kevalgnan here.

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Mahavir Bhagvan accepts food (boiled unsplit black beans) from Chandanbala and breaks 5 months & 25 days fast

Mahavir Bhagvan accepts food (boiled unsplit black beans) from Chandanbala and breaks 5 months & 25 days fast

There is also a life size idol of Chandanbala giving alms to Bhagwan Mahavir. Chandanbala was enslaved and taken to Kaushambhi. After facing several trials and tribulations with equanimity and forgiveness, she was freed when Mahavir Bhagwan accepted alms from her.

Prabhash giri, small hill, near the Digambar temple has a cave (9ft by 7ft) and a small Derasar. Padmaprabhu is said to have spent large part of his life in the cave.

Prabhash Giri

Prabhash Giri

Bhagwan Mahavir had also visited Kaushambi many times, His samavarsan was also setup here. Legend also has it, Shri Krishna and Balram visited gardens of Kaushambi (Pabhosh) after the burning of Dwarka. It was here Lord Krishna, resting beneath a tree was mistaken as a deer and fatally wounded by the arrow of his brother Jarakumar.

Day 4: 03.01.19

Varanasi (Kashi, Benares) - 16 Jin Kalyanak  
Sprawling city along the banks of River Ganges, Varanasi dates back to 11th century B.C., one of world's oldest inhabited cities with a maze of narrow alleys leading to its 88 ghats. A unique symbiotic relation exists between its diverse culture & heritage, spirituality and rituals, new and classical, all coexisting in sublime harmony.

For Hindus, Kashi is ultimate pilgrimage point, to wash away sins in the sacred waters of Ganga, to cremate loved ones, or to simply die here, in order to fast track journey to moksha. Along with Hinduism, this city of lights, is a magnet for Jains and Buddhists.

For Jains, Varanasi is a home for 16 Jin Kalyanak, 4 kalyanak each (Chyavan, Janma, Diksha & Kevalgnan) for Bhagwan Parshvanath, Suparshvnath, Chandraprabhu and Shreyansnath, respectively.

Varanasi : Chintamani Parshvanath Temple, Ramghat
Ancient temple of Chintamani Parshwanath, over 2,500 years old temple, built over three floors. Mumukhsus had opportunity to do seva puja and darshan of the several prachin murtis before settling down for Parshva Padmavati pujan.

Mulnayak Shri Chintamani Parshwanath Bhagwan

Mulnayak Shri Chintamani Parshwanath Bhagwan

Shree Shantinath Bhagvan - Shree Parshwanath Bhagvan - Shree Ajitnath Bhagvan

Shree Shantinath Bhagvan - Shree Parshwanath Bhagvan - Shree Ajitnath Bhagvan

Ancient murtis

Ancient murtis

On the ground floor of the temple, a beautiful idol of Lord Parshwanath atop Padmavati Devi has been installed, at the Kamath Yagna Sthal, the very spot where the first interaction between Kamath and Bhagwan Parshwanath occurred.

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Legend goes, once Prince Parshva, passing by this area, witnessed a mendicant named Kamath conducting yagna outside the city. Coming closer to yagna sthal, the Lord noticed some logs of wood burning around the mendicant. Inside one of these logs was a pair of serpents, writhing in pain from the intense heat of the flames. Overcome by compassion the prince requested the mendicant to remove the log, "Burning a five sensed being in fire, what sort of self improvement do you strive for?" To that the mendicant replied angrily, "Prince! You are a child; go and enjoy your princely games. It is mendicants like me who know about religion not you."

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When all efforts to persuade him were in vain, Parshva ordered his attendants to pull out the particular log from fire and split it open. As soon as the attendants did that, a pair of partially scorched serpents, fell on the ground writhing in pain. Realising that they were about to die, Prince Parshva asked them to remain equanimous during the last moments of their lives and not to have hatred towards the ignorant mendicant. He then recited the Namokar Mantra. With equanimous bhaav and hearing the Namokar Mantra in their final moment, the pair of serpents, after death were born in heaven as the king and queen of the Nag Kumar clan (Dharanendra and Padmavati - yaksh & yakshini of Prabhu Parshvanath).

Parshva Padmavati Pujan
Mumukhsus settled for an uplifting Parshva Padmavati pujan lasting about 3 hours.

The pujan was led by Bhaishree, comprising of mantras, stuti & prayers officiated by Hiteshbhai, and augmented by soulful bhakti rendered by Deepbhai. The power of the mantras with mind gripping bhakti and aatma bhav of the devotees, the entire temple reverberated with pure, divine energy. A truly profound experience.

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Visit to Trailinga Swami Math
After pujan, mumukshus headed to the nearby Trailinga Swami Math (Ashram).

Trailinga Swami, was a Hindu Saint from Benares recognised as an Avadhuta, a great Saint, by Ramakrishna, Yogananda, and other Saints of his time. Referred to as the “The walking Lord Shiva of Varanasi”, he was believed to live for around 280 years, 150 of which residing in Varanasi. Ramakrishna had said that Trailinga Swami had exalted state of knowledge, and no body-consciousness, a real paramahansa ("Supreme swan") illuminating Benares.

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Day 5: 04.01.19

Visit to Shwetambar Parshavanath Bhagwan Tirth, Bhelupur

The day started with visit to Shankeshwar Parshavanath Shwetambar Tirth in Bhelupur. Located in south of Varanasi town, Bhelupur Jain Tirth is dedicated to Lord Parshwanath where 4 kalyanaks are located.

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A charan paduka (a sacred rock having the foot impressions) of Bhagwan have been installed to mark the sacred spot. Mumukshus had opportunity for seva puja, darshan and chaityavandan with Bhaishree.

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Kashi Vishwanath Temple Visit
In the afternoon, yatris visited the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple, also known as the Golden Temple, due to the massive gold plated dome on 15.5 meter high spires, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Revered Hindu pilgrimage site, the Temple enshrines one of the 12 jyotirlingams of Lord Shiva. Shiv devotees believe one who prays and worships Vishweshwar, the “Lord of All”, with devotion will attain liberation.

Evening Ganga Aarti Cruise
An amazing Ganga Aarti cruise was organised for the evening. Mumukshus boarded the boat from Assi Ghat, the southernmost Ghat in Varanasi. Hindus believe that it was at Assi Ghat that saint Tulsidas left for his heavenly abode.

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The cruise enabled a beautiful view of the sunset, with its hues adding a delicate tint to the river, as well as the opportunity to witness, from the boat, the Ganga Aarti  – a daily ritual of offering devotion to the holy river Ganga – held at several ghats almost simultaneously. The entire experience was simply divine, just magical.

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View of Aarti from the boat

View of Aarti from the boat

Pujya Bhaishree’s inspiring message after the aarti,
“Ganges gives nourishment and life to all beings from one sensed to five sensed. We are indebted to the Ganges for inspiring spirituality to so many people and we see them doing aarti with so much ‘bhaav’. This devout aarti looks much more stunning from the river than from the ghat. The Ganges is such that it takes peoples’ dirt and sinks it into the ground and in return gives them it’s pure water. We should take inspiration from Mother Ganga, it is our duty to strive hard to progress on our spiritual path and for inner purity. We should have unshakable faith and devotion for the path given to us.

Every house in Varanasi has a temple, be it small or big! There must be some reason behind it. We must take inspiration from this.”

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Mumukshus returned to the hotel feeling exhilarated.  

Day 6: 05.01.19

Bhadaini Tirth

Morning visit to Bhadaini Tirth, also known as Jain Ghat, home of Suparshwanath Bhagwan’s 4 kalyanaks. After puja and chaityavandan mumukshus settled down on the terrace for Bhaishree’s swadhyay.

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Bhaishree reminded mumukshus of their good fortune, to be able able to be present on bhumi of 4 kalyanaks of Tirthankar Bhagwan. He then explained the Suparshvanath Bhagwan stavan by Devchandraji Maharajsaheb. Devchandraji described Suparshavnath Bhagwan as ‘Avyabadh sukh na Swami’ (Master of unimpeded happiness). For a striving sadhak,  observation of such “sukh”, would trigger within him, a desire to awaken the same sukh (eternal bliss) that is dormant within him.

Sarnath

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Sarnath is a sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Jain devotees alike.

It is an immensely important Buddhist pilgrimage site. It is also referred to as Isipatana, a city mentioned by the Buddha as one of the four places of pilgrimage which his devout followers should visit. After enlightenment in Bodh Gaya (528 BCE), Buddha traveled to Sarnath. Delivered his first sermon to his 5 disciples teaching the “four noble truths” and setting in motion “The Wheel of Dharma”. Emperor Ashoka had also erected magnificent stupas and monasteries and engraved pillar here, in 3rd century BC.

Visit to Wat Thai Sarnath Temple
Referred to as Thai Temple, the Hinayana Buddha temple built in 1933, is located amid lush and manicured gardens. There is a statue of a laughing Buddha just before the main Thai temple and on the right side is an enactment of Buddha delivering a sermon to his disciples. There are other statues of Buddha in various mudras.

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Visit to Sinhpuri Tirth
Birthplace of Shreyasnath Bhagwan and home for 4 kalyanak (Chyavan, Janma, Diksha and Kevalgnan). A beautiful temple complex with a Samavasaran with paduka of Bhagwan at the top.

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Visit to Chandrapuri Tirth
Onwards to Chandrapuri Tirth, birthplace of Shree Chandraprabhu Swami and home for his 4 kalyanak (Chyavan, Janma, Diksha and Kevalgnan).

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Day 7: 06.01.19

Ayodhya Tirth Kshetra -19 Jin Kalyanak Bhumi
Day spent travelling from Varanasi to Ayodhya. Important pilgrimage center for Hindus, Jains & Buddhists, alike. Name derived from Sanskrit ‘A’ and ‘Yudha’, meaning place of no conflict; the invincible, “one which cannot be conquered by vices”.

River Saryu, that flows through Ayodhya, has been a silent witness to great personalities that once walked the earth here.  

Besides association with Hindu mythology, Ayodhya has also nurtured spiritual values from Jainism. It is place where five Tirthankars, were born and preached the profound Jain values and is home for 19 kalyanaks.

Bhagwan Mahavir and Gautam Buddha too had visited this pious city many times.

Shree Ajitnath Shwetambar Jain Tirth, Ayodhya
Early evening arrival for a night stop at the Dharamshala within Derasar campus. Derasar is located in Katara mohalla near banks of Sarayu & Ghaghara rivers.

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Evening spent with aarti and mangal divo at the temple, presiding deity Ajitnath Bhagwan in copper colour, and visits to Shri Digamber Jain Derasar and to Kanak Bhavan.

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Day 8: 07.01.19

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Ratnapuri Tirth
The Derasar has a beautiful chaumukhi (idol facing in all 4 directions) within shikharbandi stupa. The 4 Kalnayaks of Bhagwan Dharamnath (Chyavan, Janma, Diksha and Keval Gnan) took place here.

Four corners of the temple compound are anchored by Shree Dharmanath Bhagwan’s 4 Kalyanak Mandirs.

Four corners of the temple compound are anchored by Shree Dharmanath Bhagwan’s 4 Kalyanak Mandirs.

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The temple is mentioned in Acharya Shri Jinprabhusurishwarji’s book, " Vivid teerth Kalp" written in fourteenth century of Vikram Samvat. The ancient temple is associated with number of miraculous stories. Temple pujari talked about sound of temple bells ringing in the night and of saffron rain falls. Stains, dried droplets of a recent rainfall were visible on temple campus paving.

After seva puja & darshan, yatris settled down, mumuksus at the ground level, and Bhaishree, Brahmnishts Minalben and Vikrambhai up above near mandir doorway, to revere the Lord with bhaav pujan (chaityavandan), stavans and garbas.  

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Sravasti Tirth, Shravasthi   
After lunch at Ratnapuri, the sangh proceeded towards Shravasthi, to Sravasti Tirth. A sacred historic place celebrating 4 Kalyanak of Bhagwan Sambhavnath, (Chyavan, Janm, Diksha and Keval Gnan). A beautiful Derasar of white marble, with a white pratimaji of Sambhavnath in padmasan posture.

Shantinath Prabhu had also visited Shravasti and Mahavir Swami had spent several chaturmas here with Samosaran erected for Him on number of occasions. First meeting between Keshi Muni and Gautam Swamiji occurred here. Goshala had struck Mahavir here with tejoleshya (lightening ray produced out of his body).  

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After aarti and mangal divo mumukshus retired for evening at the hotel.

Day 9: 08.01.19 - Shravasthi

In the morning mumukshus gathered at the Derasar for final seva, puja, darshan and chaityavandan.  

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And thus ends, a spiritually divine jatra. 9 days spent in presence of Param Pujya Bhaishree on the revered bhumi of the Tirthankars, enabling a unique opportunity for spiritual development, steadiness of mind, meditation and eternal peace.

Vavania, Morbi and Rajkot Jatra 2016

Vavania, Morbi and Rajkot Jatra

6th September 2016

The week-long Jain festival of Paryushan aims to cleanse the heart and soul of ill-feelings borne towards any and every living being by seeking and granting forgiveness for hurt caused through thoughts, words or deeds. Cultivating the quality of forgiveness and humility elevates the soul, opening the door to virtues like compassion and kindness.

Every year mumukshus of Shree Raj Saubhag Ashram accompany Param Pujya Bhaishree for a spiritual Jatra to the birthplace of our Aradhya Dev Param Krupalu Dev –Vavania, Morbi and Rajkot.  This ritual was followed by Param Pujya Bapuji diligently as a mark of respect to our supreme benefactor Shrimad Rajchandra.  This year, on the 6th of September, mumukshus departed for the pilgrimage in the morning hours.

Morbi

The first port of call was Morbi, the place where Shrimadji was married to Jhabakba. Visiting these premises mumukshus could sense the pure vibrations emanating here – the place where Shrimadji was required to enter into matrimonial alliance inspite of being completely detached inwardly.  This is the power of karma.  Requesting eternal companionship of Shrimad, mumukshus sang soulful bhajans like “જોડે રેહજો રાજ”.

Vavania – the birthplace of Shrimadji

As the entourage arrived at the beautiful Janma Bhuvan and Rambai Mandir - Vavania, they felt a sense of divinity and awe.  The grandeur and the serenity filled everyone with a sense of gratitude. Inspirational quotes of Shrimadji were engraved at the entrance and entry doors of the entire Bhuvan.

After lunch, mumukshus assembled at the Swadhyay hall.  Each mumukshu was absorbed in his own sadhna – either doing meditation, or reading the quotes all over the place or in deep contemplation and introspection.

As Pujya Bhaishree arrived, he first bowed his head in reverence to the idols of the Tirthankara, Chandraprabhu Swami, Rushabdev Swami and Mahavir Swami Bhagwan.

On the right side of the Mandir was the Guru Mandir, in which the idol of Param Krupalu Dev was placed.  Mumukshus sang devotional songs like “Amee bharela ae nayan, Het bhinu ae vadan, Yaad aave aaj”, and chants of  “Dev Krupalu, Dev Krupalu, Dev…” filled the air and their hearts, reverberating through the halls, enhancing the divinity of the place.

One mumukshu said: “A thought that came to my mind was that such a great Yug Purush was born is such a remote place, but this shows that even great elevated souls and saints have to bear the fruits of their own karma.”

Rajkot

The last destination of the tour was Rajkot. This city to all the followers of Shrimadji denotes an element of sadness.  This is the place where Shrimadji breathed his last as he continued on his great onward journey to salvation, Moksh.

Mumukshus visited the Samadhi Mandir, the place where Shrimadji was cremated. Even the Father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi paid rich tributes to his spiritual master, his Guru – Shrimadji here.   

Here also after a short Bhakti session, the tour proceeded to Narmada Mansion, the place where Shrimadji spend the last few months of his great life as he recuperated from his illness.  Shrimadji had even written an extremely memorable and inspiring spiritual poem here and it was in Narmada Mansion, that this divine soul breathed his last.

As the pilgrimage drew to an end, mumukshus departed while making a resolve to follow Shrimadji’s teachings more diligently.

Devotional worship of the original Atma Siddhi Shastra handwritten by Krupaludev Shrimad Rajchandra

Devotional worship of the original Atma Siddhi Shastra handwritten by Krupaludev Shrimad Rajchandra

On a Jatra to Idar Mountains, a land of spiritual striving for both Bhagwan Mahavir and Param Krupaludev Shrimad Rajchandra, Shree Raj Saubhag Mumukshus had the wonderful opportunity of viewing the original Atma Siddhi Shastra handwritten by Krupaludev.

Idar Dharmayatra - March 2016

Idar Dharmayatra - March 2016

Param Pujya Bhaishree undertook a Dharmayatra to the sacred mountains of Idar where Bhagwan Mahavir meditated with his disciples, Param Krupaludev gave bodh to Saubhagbhai and Laghurajswami along with 7 monks and where he spent 3 months for his personal sadhana. This yatra included the inauguration of the new library in the Ashram and the opportunity to worship the original Atma Siddhi Shastra handwritten by Krupaludev. Bhaishree undertook 3 swadhyays here.