Mahavir Janma Kalyanak 2019 | Shrimad Rajchandra’s Love For Veer

Shrimad Rajchandra’s Love For Veer

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Its the 13th day of rising moon in the month of Chaitra and yet again mumukshus have gathered at Bhalani residence to celebrate the Janma Kalyanak of Lord Mahavir. Bhalani residence can confidently boast about one of the most beautiful Ghar Derasars in the world, if not the most beautiful one.

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Lord Mahavir was born in the royal Kshatriya family to King Siddharth and Queen Trishladevi. Named as Vardhman (ever-growing) by the parents, Lord Mahavir was destined to become the last Tirthankar of this Avasarpini Kaal (regressive cycle). Tirthankars (the absolutely enlightened Lords who can liberate others) are born due to the intent from their previous birth to perpetuate the path of liberation for all living beings. Bhagwan Mahavir preached the principles of non-violence, equanimity, pluralism to name a few. Saadhaks of the current time owe everything to him as He was the Arihant dev who showed us the path to become a Siddh Bhagwan.   

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On this day it is only befitting that we understand how seamless is the amalgamation of Lord Mahavir’s teachings and Shrimad Rajchandra’s life. The living embodiment of Self-realisation, the ever-so-compassionate Param Pujya Bhaishree announces to do a swadhyay on how Param Krupalu Dev Shrimad Rajchandra worshipped Lord Mahavir, how deeply etched Lord Mahavir was in Shrimad’s heart. Bhaishree begins by establishing the connect between Shrimad Rajchandra and Lord Mahavir.

Bhagvan Mahavir and Shrimad Rajchandra

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Shrimad in his own words had been a seeker for many a lifetime. The inner revolution in his life began at the young age of seven when he recollected his past lives (jaati smaran gnaan) whilst enraptured in deep contemplation.

Bhaishree quotes Param Krupalu Dev where Shrimad cautions us all by saying that, “When I was Lord Mahavir’s last disciple, a tiny bit of distraction from the atma-bhaav (pramaad) has resulted in births and deaths for 2400 years!” That soul which had the greatest fortune of all, to be under the tutelage of Lord Mahavir in person, to hear Lord Mahavir from close quarters has taken the form of Shrimad Rajchandra in our time. There is little doubt that this great soul must have further elevated its spiritual heritage from the time of Lord Mahavir. It is certain that Shrimad’s birth in this era is to spread the pious message of Lord Mahavir to the world. Through Shrimadji several souls should find the necessary acceleration in their spiritual journey.

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Bhaishree describes an exchange of Param Krupalu Dev with the king of Idar. Krupalu Dev when in the jungles of Idar, speaking to king explains his deja-vu that the last Tirthankar and his disciples (Gautamswami and more) have been here. All his disciples have attained salvation leaving one behind which has been born in this time. It is possible that, that soul (the last disciple of Bhagvan Mahavir) is responsible for upliftment of a lot of other souls. Param Krupalu Dev could not have been more direct yet subtle about giving out this truth to us common masses for our own spiritual liberation. Bhaishree explains that for a soul like Shrimad’s, who has seen Bhagwan Mahavir in physical form, who has walked the earth with Him and His disciples, the certitude of Bhagwan Mahavir’s path can only be imagined.

Shrimad’s steadfast belief, love and devotion in Bhagwan Mahavir’s mul moksh marg

Bhaishree cites Shrimad from across his works wherever Shrimad has talked about Bhagwan Mahavir.

The religion conceived by unfettered (Nirgranth) Gods cannot be justly described by any adjectives. Bhaishree urges the mumukshus to give an adjective to the religion. He adds, the best that thoughtful souls can come up with is that giving an adjective is not possible.

Soul has aimlessly wandered since time immemorial only due to lack of such religion.

Bhaishree explains that all of us are still here in human form is because we have not understood this incomparable religion in its true sense or we are still trying to make sense of it. Due to lack of or inaccurate understanding of the original path, the efforts that we have put all this while has not helped us reach our goal of liberation.  

Bhaishree proceeds with citations as,

‘I love justice. Veer(Bhagwan Mahavir)’s style is that of justice. Developing an understanding is very rare.’

‘Uttaradhyayan sutra should be read and understood again and again.’
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‘Understand even one sentence of Bhagwan Mahavir.’

‘We should firmly accept that the extraordinary path that brings peace to the soul as it drinks the ambrosia (પરમ શાંત રસમય ધર્મ) described by the equanimously detached Lord is totally true. Due to the soul’s unworthiness and the absence of a personification of truth (Satpurush), it cannot be understood. Yet there is no other totally uplifting cure for the disease of embodiment. Contemplate over this.’

Shraddha (Faith) versus Aagrah (dogmatism)

There is a big difference between believing in something and being conservative about it. Shrimad, despite being an ardent, truthful follower of Bhagwan Mahavir's path is definitely not a fanatic.

Shrimad in one of his letters (letter no. 64) writes

पक्षपातो न मे वीरे न द्वेषः कपिलादिशु !

युक्तिमद वचनं यस्य, तस्य कार्य: परिग्रह: !!

- श्री हरिभद्राचार्य

What I preach or believe is not because of the bias for Mahavir or out of hatred for any other preacher but I do have a liking for, immense love for, anything that helps me realise true Self, helps me discover my Soul.

In another instance Shrimad writes, ‘On careful scrutiny of other religions I find the religion preached by the equanimously detached souls the best’.

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Shrimad’s rock solid devotion for Bhagwan Mahavir's principle of Pluralism

Shrimad was also a firm believer in multiplicity of viewpoints (સ્યાદવાદ). The truth is always multidimensional. At any time, the truth can never be realized by means of a single-point of view.

He writes, “એકાંતવાદ એ જ જ્ઞાનની અપૂર્ણતાની નિશાની.”

Ekantvaad (one sided point of view or one sided truth) is the sign of incomplete knowledge.

He writes a quatrain expressing his views on pluralism as

“જિન સોહી હૈ આતમા, અન્ય હોઈ સો કર્મ;

કર્મ કટે સો જિનબચન, તત્વગ્યાનીકો મર્મ

રચના જિન ઉપદેશકી, પરમોત્તમ તીનું કાલ;

ઇનમેં સબ મત રહત હૈ, કરતેં નિજ સંભાલ.”

Shrimad's intention to revive the exquisite path of liberation

“દિન પ્રતિદિન જૈનદર્શન ક્ષીણ થતું જોવામાં આવે છે, અને વર્ધમાનસ્વામી થયા પછી થોડાં એક વર્ષમાં તેમાં નાના પ્રકારના ભેદ થયા દેખાય છે તે આદિના શાં કારણો?”

- પત્ર 713

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It was Shrimad’s immense love for Bhagwan Mahavir and his mul moksh marg (the original path to liberation) that moved him to spread the path further. An extraordinary, almost unfettered, great personality like Shrimad wanted masses at large to benefit from the path of liberation like he himself had experienced and benefitted. He constantly harbored feelings of ‘સવિ જીવ કરું શાશન રસી' (May all the souls be interested and persevere in this path) out of his fathomless compassion for every soul in the universe. Detailed plans were in place to take up the mission but only once his own state is elevated to a level where he can do justice to his followers. He was on his way to elevate his soul at the highest level, free himself of all his worldly commitments and renounce his worldly relationships.     

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Shrimad turns down the feelings of reviving the moksh marg

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As seen, Shrimad had strong feelings of reviving the path during the early years (Age 19-20) but Shrimad later surrendered to karmic fruition (પ્રારબ્ધ)  and focussed on dwelling exclusively within the realm of his soul (આત્મધ્યાનમાં નિમગ્ન).

Shrimad had picked up this thumb rule from his idol Bhagwan Mahavir to not propound the path until and unless you elevate your soul to highest possible level and construct your readiness for the same. Shrimad has written about the state of his soul in very direct and frank words to his soulmate Saubhagbhai in several letter exchanges. In one of such letters Saubhagbhai requests Param Krupalu Dev to reveal his true self so that common masses may benefit from the person of Param Krupalu Dev. In response to that letter Param Krupalu Dev writes,

“જગતના કલ્યાણને અર્થે પુરુષાર્થ કરવા વિષે લખ્યું તો તે પુરુષાર્થ કરવાની ઈચ્છા કોઈ પ્રકારે રહે પણ છે. તથાપિ ઉદયને અનુસરીને ચાલવું એ આત્માની સહજ દશા થઇ છે, અને તેવો ઉદયકાળ હાલ સમીપમાં જણાતો નથી; તો તે ઉદેરી આણવાનું બને એવી દશા અમારી નથી.”

Feelings of spreading the path do exist somewhere inside but currently abiding by the karmic fruition has become the default way of life and such time (time for spreading the path) I don’t see it in the near future. In yet another letter (no. 621) he writes,

“એક વિનંતિ અત્રે કરવા યોગ્ય છે કે… બહાર આ આત્મા સંબંધી હાલ કંઈ પ્રસંગ ચર્ચિત થવા દેવા યોગ્ય નથી; કેમકે અવિરતિરૂપ ઉદય હોવાથી ગુણવક્તવ્ય હોય તોપણ લોકોને ભાસ્યમાન થવું કઠણ પડે; અને તેથી વિરાધના થવાનો કંઈ પણ હેતુ થાય; તેમ જ પૂર્વ મહાપુરુષના અનુક્રમનું ખંડન કરવા જેવું પ્રવર્તન આ આત્માથી કંઈ પણ થયું ગણાય.”

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There is a request worth doing here. No discussion about this (Param Krupalu Dev’s) soul should yet happen outside of the close circle of people. As the common masses believe what they see, the current circumstances (no external renunciation) are such that people would not believe inspite of the virtues of this soul and as a result it would do more harm than good for the common people. Shrimad turning down the feelings of spreading the path in hindsight, also is a sign of his infinite compassion for the souls of this universe. It is worth mentioning here that Shrimad wanted to renounce all worldly possessions (take diksha) at a very young age but his mother did not agree and emulating Bhagwan Mahavir he too chose to be in sansaar and persevered to be equanimously detached (વીતરાગ).

Adulation (પ્રમોદ) for Bhagwan Mahavir’s virtues

“જેના એક રોમમાં કિંચિત પણ અજ્ઞાન, મોહ કે, અસમાધિ રહી નથી તે સત્પુરુષનાં વચન અને બોધ માટે કંઈ પણ નહીં કહી શકતાં, તેનાં જ વચનમાં પ્રશસ્ત ભાવે પુન: પુન: પ્રસક્ત થવું એ પણ આપણું સર્વોત્તમ શ્રેય છે.”

- Letter 52

Souls who have not an ounce of ignorance or attachment left, is equanimous, and about whose teachings nothing can be further said, it is of ultimate upliftment that we bind ourselves with words and teachings of such souls.  

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At this point Bhaishree said, “When we think of virtues of Bhagwan Mahavir it amazes us so much. Even thoughts of virtues of such souls are the reason of shedding so many karmas from our soul. Adulation for such souls and hence such virtues helps us progress on our path rapidly. Such immense appreciation should arise from within.” Bhaishree urges the mumkshus to sustain this state of continuous and innate adulation for Bhagwan Mahavir’s virtues for 24 hours and to see the benefits for themselves.

Bhaishree concludes his swadhyay at this point and thereafter mumkshus put Bhaishree's words in action by remembering Bhagvan Mahavir's life incidents, his virtues and singing his glory wholeheartedly.  Brahmnisht Vikrambhai took over for Bhakti. In his moving and soul-touching voice he starts the bhakti with a pad ‘ઝહેર અમારાં ઉતારો’. The tempo is then lifted by jaap of ‘Aum Shree Mahaviray Namo Namah’.

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The evening could not have had a better conclusion than the pad Veer haank’ - a call to the Veer in each of us. Mumukshus could feel the power singing the words of

‘વારસ અહો! મહાવીરના, શૂરવીરતા રેલાવજો,

કાયર બનો ના કોઈ દી, કષ્ટો સદા કંપાવજો,

રે! સિંહના સંતાનને શિયાળ શું કરનાર છે?

મરણાંત સંકટમાં ટકે, તે ટેકના ધરનાર છે.’   

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Grand Celebration of Prem ni Parab Annual Day award ceremonies – January 2019

As every year, the annual day celebrations of the 130 schools under ‘Prem Ni Parab’ project, was conducted in the premises of Raj Saubhag Ashram, Sayla. This is the 15th consecutive year of ‘Prem Ni Parab’ project; and all the schools sent their representatives, teachers, award winning students to attend the function.

Presided over by Pujya Bhaishree, the event had Shri Muktanandji Bapu (from Brahmanand Vidya Dham) as its chief guest. Other dignitaries present at the event included the chief of Gujarat Kelavani Parishad – Shri Mansukhbhai Salla; government official Shri Girishbhai Gadhvi, project director of Prem Ni Parab – Shri Chandrakantbhai Vyas, Smt Minalben Shah among others.

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Lighting of the ceremonial lamp was followed by excellent performances by the students. When students from small villages and poor families match the expertise and confidence of students from affluent families living in large metros, it filled every heart with pride at the milestones crossed by the entire education upliftment programme (Prem Ni Parab) in these largely neglected areas.  

Awards were given to the best student of the year – male and female category, as well as the best teacher and school award was given away too.

Best School Award – Khetla Kumar Primary School

Best Teacher Award – Dinesh Gatorbhai Waghela of Naanchandraji Smarak Primary School

Best Female Student Award – Dhrumi Muliya (Meghmani Primary School)

Best Male Student Award – Pravin Arjanbhai Palani (Kumar Primary School, Doliya)

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Expressing complete satisfaction at the progress made in education sector in and around Sayla, chief guest Muktanandji Bapu said every student should always bear in mind that he walks and follows the constructive path and not any kind of destructive path. The entire program began at 9 am and ended at 6 pm, witnessing the participation of over 2000 people.




IVY Swadhyay - January 2019

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This swadhyay was conducted in the form of a conversation between a student and his Guru, representative of the IVY kids and Pujya Bhaishree. 

The students says: “Education is important” to which the Guru replies, “I believe education is important but meditation is more important.”

The student continues: “My education was transformational; it has made me civilised.” 

The Guru answers: “Mediation transformed me deeply; it made me realised.”

Student: “Education won me many gold medals.” 

Guru: “Meditation gave me golden moments.”

Student: “Education gave me job eligibility.”

Guru: “Meditation gave me life flexibility.”

The Guru continues giving his perspective on why meditation triumphs over all other activities in life by modestly pointing out its benefits while replying to the student. 

Student: “Education fostered appreciation.”

Guru: “Meditation fosters introspection.”

Student: “Education sharpened my intelligence.”

Guru: “Meditation deepened my awareness.”

While appreciation may be superficial and momentary, introspection will always lead to true happiness. The student says that education made him a good tax payer to which the Guru replied that mediation answered all his prayers. No matter how intelligent we are, with age the sharpness of our senses starts to fade. However, the awareness of the awakened soul always remains and deepens with passing time.

Student: “Education stimulated my passion.”

Guru: “Meditation motivated my compassion.”

Student: “Education made my job fruitful.”

Guru: “Meditation made my life grateful.”

Mediation makes one conscious of the importance of a human life.

Student: “Education made me a go-getter.”

Guru: “Meditation invoked inclusiveness.”

Student: “Education added colours to my mind.”

Guru: “Meditation cleanses our minds.”

Student: “Education pushed me outward.”

Guru: “Meditation pulled me inwards.”

Student: “Education made me who I am.”

Guru: “Meditation showed me who am I.” 

Guru concludes the conversation by saying “One must educate themselves to meditate.” The student agreeably replies with “I think meditation will make me complete.”

Continuing with the reading of “Pinnacle of Spirituality”, that narrates Shrimad’s life, Pujya Minalben read the chapter on “Detachment”. The chapter recounts Shrimad’s early detachment from the material world, spurred by the death of his grandfather, Panchanbhai. While leading his grandfather’s funeral procession, carrying the coal to burn the body, Shrimad was lost in his thoughts. He started questioning the fundamental truths about life and death and the mysteries of the soul. So immersed was he in profound thoughts, that he inadvertently stepped on a thorn and his foot started to bleed. But he did not feel a thing and continued to walk. Only when he got home and his mother asked him why he was limping? did he realise that a thorn had pierced his foot. 

During the second segment of the IVY swadhyay, Pujya Vikrambhai started with a melodious song that highlighted the significance of living in the moment while advancing through life. This is the very essence of meditation: focus in every moment, be present in what we are doing.

What is meditation?

  • It is simply to concentrate, not be carried away or overpowered by our minds. Our mind has become the jockey riding our soul like a horse into thoughts that are irrelevant. Our goal is to control the mind and make the soul our driving force, our jockey.

  • Meditation is being aware of who I truly am, while I go about my daily activities in life. I am my soul. The knower behind the senses and the mind. Our senses allow us to perceive things but our soul is the all-powerful knower and gives the senses the strength to function. 

  • It is a peaceful response to any and every ting we encounter. Pujya Bhaishree embodies peace, he is never hurried, impatient or intolerant. He is always happy, steady, quiet, measured and peaceful. 

  • Meditation is being content with what we have, because contentment leads to peace, which in turn allows for meditation. Discontent leaves us with a wandering and wavering mind which does not allow us to concentrate. 

  • It is to understand and distinguish between right and wrong and knowingly opt for the right choice. 

  • It is living in the soul, while residing in the body.


An old, loud and grumpy lady climbed on to a bus and sat next to a young lady. The old lady was carrying many bags, she bumped some of them in to her and took up a lot of space, squeezing the already-seated young woman. The person seated opposite got upset and asked the young lady why didn’t she say anything?  The person opposite was so intolerant that he could not see her in pain and was concerned about her being harassed. The young lady smiled and said “It is not necessary to be rude or argue over something so insignificant. The journey together is so short; I get off at the next stop.”

Similarly, our time together is so short and yet we darken it with quarrels, futile arguments, not forgiving others and being discontent. We waste our time and energy. We should remember and live life by this principle: “The journey together is so short.” We must strive to always be happy and cheerful and not let anyone affect our peace. We should cherish our friends, family and work, be respectful, kind and forgiving and full of gratitude and gladness - for our journey together is so short!!

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.

IVY Swadhyay - Nov 2018

Mind your Mind

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The November IVY swadhyay started with a thought provoking story of the Buddha and his 83 disciples.  All of them came up to him for a solution for a problem that each one had – therefore 83 problems.  The wise Buddha answered their question with a counter-question.  “Find me one person in the world who does not have any problem!!”  This short yet impactful tale, had a deep impact. Brahmnisht Minalben said that our problems should not overwhelm us, rather we must look for solutions. There is no problem that cannot be solved, that does not have a solution and as spiritual seekers we should march ahead and face our problems (whether mental, physical or emotional) head on.

The problems that we are required to grapple with are 3-fold. AADHI, VYADHI and UPADHI 

1.         AADHI or mental problems: Anything that happens to us or our close family or friends angers or worries our mind This constant over-thinking of our mind for petty reasons is known as AADHI

2.         VYADHI or physical problems: There is no one who is exempt from physical ailments at some point or another. Even the smallest of headache is the cause of Vyadhi. But this problem is of our body and not our soul.

3.         UPADHI: The problems related to people or things around us.

Since we are constantly facing problems – mental or physical, we need to equip ourselves with ways to face, handle and overcome our problems. Our faith in God and our Guru, Pujya Bhaishree will strengthen our ability to overcome problems. When under the Guru’s refuge, we would be able to to remain emotionally balanced in good times and bad.

So what can we do when we face these problems:

·             Remain a witness during times of stress or anxiety - AADHI

·             Take steps to overcome physical problems – VYADHI

·             Take refuge in the Guru in emotional situations - UPADHI

The mind is connected to thoughts. Thoughts are powerful, they have to power to create or destroy things. Minalben urges: “Learn to keep your thoughts to the present. If they wander, tame them, bring them back from the past and don’t let loose them to the future.”

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Brahmnisht Vikrambhai recounted a tale about the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Confuscius would say that hold on to a good thought, meditate on it. Good thoughts are those that create a positive affirmations on our mind. Reflection of good thoughts is required. Therefore contemplation of good thoughts is equal to meditation.

Narrating another story about Confucious and one seeker wanted to increase his self control, Vikrambhai said  that the message given by Confucious was: “There are 5 sense organs and then the Mind. If you want to maintain self-control, never mix the function of these sense organs with the mind. The minute you allow the mind to intervene, the knots will begin to form. No matter what we do, where we go, we live the most within the confines of our mind. Keep the mind separated from the activities of the sense organs.”

So in this swadhyay, not only did we gain an understanding of how to handle the problems in our lives, but also about the huge role our ‘MIND’ plays. If the mind is not  pure and divine, neither will our current life or future births be pure and divine. Quality of our thoughts, determine the quality of our life.

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Param Pujya Bhaishree's Amrutotsav 2018

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Param Pujya Bhaishree, spiritual head of the Raj Saubhag Ashram, Sayla, has lovingly and masterfully guided disciples for 25 years as their guru.  He also turned 75.

Param Pujya Rakeshbhai (Bapaji) of Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur, Param Pujya Ben Prabhu of Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Delhi, Param Pujya Sarmishtaben, Param Pujya Gokulbhai and Shri Kurmapral Desai, Param Pujya Acharya Chandanaji, Pujya Sadhviji Sanghmitraji, Pujya Sadhviji Chatanaji and Pujya Sadhviji Vibhaji of Veerayatan graced the festivities which marked these two anniversaries.

On the first of the five days, there was a wonderful and uplifting Sidhhachakra Pujan, followed in the evening by an inspiring session of Bhakti performed by the band called “Sparsha”, formed by followers of Shri Pappaji of Parli Ashram.  On the second day, a wonderful Gautam Swami Puja was performed, followed in the evening by Bhakti performed by the renowned Sachit Limye and his wife Ashitaben, followers of the Art of Living. Sadhviji Sanghmitraji also presented some glorious bhakti that evening.

On the third day, the full moon of Kartik, the birth anniversary of Shrimad Rajchandra, there was a morning procession and installation of a plaster cast model of Shrimad installed in the nearly complete Raj Mandir Hall. Sanghmitraji shared half an hour or so of Bhakti that day. In the evening, Shrimad’s poem Mula Marg was presented in dance form and the innovative and moving play Tejovalay was performed. On the fourth day, Bhaishree’s birthday, there was the performance of a play on the life of Dadu Dayal and further dance presentation.

The performances of the 3rd and 4th evenings were by Raj Saubhag members.  It was also wonderful to witness the tremendous teamwork, behind the scenes of so many Ashram members, a great sense of empowerment and dedication.  A number of the visiting dignitaries and other guests remarked on this favourably..

Throughout the course of the 5 days, Bhaishree and the other saints and speakers gave inspiring swadhyays or expressions of their feelings.

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Param Pujya Bhaishree had visited Pujya Ben Prabhu at the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission in Delhi, during a Jatra in January 2015.  Ben Prabhu has translated all of Shrimad’s poems into Hindi. She inspires introspection about our mental inclinations and thought processes, which can lead us to an inner focus.  The thoughtful, devoted, disciplined, Ben Prabhu analysed various types of Bhakti, and explained how the eternal, unchanging soul can be seen in the midst of the the ever-changing world by means of devotion.  

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Pujya Gokulbhai has often met Bhaishree at the Ashram and on various Jatras.  A striver, a yogi, with vast scriptural knowledge, he has purified his life with reflection, meditation and penance. Focused on the Nishchay (absolute) point of view, he brings a strict and precise interpretation which often awakens the audience in a striking way.  Gokulbhai described the soul as independent while karma bears its fruits, but that we surrender that independence by identifying and engaging with the fruits of karma.

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Pujya Rakeshbhai, founder of Shrimad Rajchandra Mission, Dharampur, has inspired a large number of youngsters in India and abroad, bringing them closer to a life of contemplation and purity.  He fondly remembered Bapuji, to whom he was greatly attracted, and expressed the great impact on all of us of Saubhagbhai of Sayla, Shrimad’s soulmate. In his humorous and analytical style, he covered a wide variety of examples, and differentiated between suffering and pain, describing pain as the fruition of inauspicious karma, but suffering as self-inflicted, the result of negative reaction and feelings towards that pain.

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Unfortunately, Pujya Atmaandandji of Koba was not able to join us, but we were graced by the peaceful, motherly, spiritual prsence of Sarmishtaben, his spiritual and life partner, whoread out a message from Pujya Atmaandandji in a gentle and peaceful style.  

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A recipient of the Padmashree, author, scholar and friend of the Ashram Kumarpalbhai Desai, has ancestral connection to the village of Sayla, and has long been associated with the Ashram.  He spoke of attaining the vision to see the invisible by grace of the True Guru, and to rise above the dependence we have on external material things, adopting a much greater perspective.

Acharyaji Chandanaji had first heard of the village Sayla in 1962, when she was in Rajkot, but had not been able to come here.  Param Pujya Bapuji, the previous guru of Raj Saubhag Ashram had visited Veerayatan a number of times, and in January 2018, Param Pujya had visited Rajgir and stayed at Veerayatan with several hundred pilgrims.  It was at this time, that he had personally invited Acharyaji, especially during these celebrations. Vikrambhai of Raj Saubhag Ashram had fondly called her Ma in Rajgir as well as in Sayla, likening her to Mother Teresa.

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Acharyaji expressed her feeling of delight at being there.  She said that she would direct anyone looking for heaven to come to Sayla.  In her own sweet and loving style, Acharyaji explained that Bhakti cannot exist where the notion of “I” persists, that such Bhakti can be attained at the shelter of a True Guru.  She expressed her revolutionary ideas of service (seva) as striving (sadhana) and that God can be seen (and served) in those less fortunate than ourselves.

She was keen for Veerayatan and Raj Saubhag to cooperate, meet and work together. Among the Sadhvijis accompanying her Pujya Sanghmitraji sang bhajans in her supremely  melodious voice. Needless to say, she set the mood each time she took the mike.

Param Pujya Bhaishree was fecilitated for his many years of continuous service to seekers and to those suffering materially. He was noted for his tremendously tolerant, open-hearted nature. This could be seen by the wide variety of viewpoints shared during the celebrations. On various days, he took swadhyay on verse 129 of Atma Siddhi, describing the True Guru as the highest doctor, capable of curing the disease of delusion by compassionately prescribing contemplation and meditation in his agna.

On some of the days, the audience was privileged to hear Bhaishree speaking personally about his own experiences on the path.  He expressed much gratitude to Param Pujya Bapuji, his guru, for opening his eyes to the beauty and depth of the message of Bhagwan Mahavir, and to the teachings of Shrimad Rajchandra.  He opened Bhaishree’s eyes to Saubhagbhai of Sayla, Shimad’s soulmate: to understand Shrimad, one has to understand Saubhagbhai, and Bhaishree was grateful to connect to the living tradition and lineage of Saubhagbhai in Sayla.  Bhaishree also spoke fondly of the late, Param Pujya Gurumaa, who was a leading disciple of Bapuji and anointed at the same time as Bhaishree. He spoke about Bapuji’s fondness for her striving and character. How she progressed swiftly and silently.

The five days of celebration allowed Raj Saubhag Ashram and its members to come closer to the love, care, service, devotion, spirituality, and scholarship of the noble guests, forming deeper connection, gaining inspiration. Ultimately, we learned yet more about our beloved Bhaishree, through the praise and respect accorded to him, through the experiences of other saints and scholars, and through the precious opportunity to observe him closely, deeply equanimous and tolerant throughout the five days of celebration.

Let the divinity of the enlightened saints grace the world!


Gallery of photos

Day 1:

Ashirvad viklang mobility aid distribution and sewing machine distribution

Siddhchakra Pujan

Bhakti evening with Sparsha Band from Shri Pappaji of Parli Ashram

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Day 2:

Shri Gautamswami Pujan

Sant Sabha, Satsang and Swadhyay

Bhakti evening with performance by the renowned Sachit Limye and his wife Ashitaben, followers of the Art of Living as well Sadhviji Sanghmitraji soulful bhakti.

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Day 3 (Kartik Purnima - Shrimad Rajchandra’s Janma Jayanti):

Morning procession and installation of a plaster cast model of Shrimad in the nearly complete Raj Mandir Hall.

Sant Sabha, Satsang and Swadhyay

Sanghmitraji’s Bhakti

Evening cultural programme included: Shrimad’s poem Mula Marg was presented in dance form by Nilpa and Naytika Shah, and the innovative, moving play ‘Tejovalay’ was also performed.

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Day 4: (24th Nov - Param Pujya Bhaishree’s Birthday:

Sant Sabha, Satsang and Swadhyay

Evening cultural programme included the film presentation of Bhaishree’s spiritual journey: ‘Niranjan, In love with Truth’, the performance of a play on the life of Dadu Dayal, and further dance presentation.

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Day 5:

Sant Sabha, Satsang and Swadhyay

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Swadhyay Videos

23rd November 2018 - Param Krupaludev Shrimad Rajchandra’s Janma Jayanti

23rd November 2018 - morning

On the occasion of Param Krupaludev Shrimad Rajchandra’s Birth Anniversary, the sabha held in Sayla Ashram had swadhyays by Pujya Ben Prabhu, Acharya Chanadanashriji and Param Pujya Bhaishree.

23rd November 2018 - afternoon

On the occasion of Param Krupaludev Shrimad Rajchandra’s Birth Anniversary, the sabha held in Sayla Ashram had swadhyays by Pujya Ben Prabhu and Acharya Chanadanashriji.


24th November 2018 - Param Pujya Bhaishree’s 75th Birthday Amrutotsav

24th November 2018 - morning

On the occasion of Param Pujya Bhaishree’s 75th Birthday Amrutotsav, the sabha held in Sayla Ashram had swadhyays by Pujya Ben Prabhu, Param Pujya Gokulbhai, Param Pujya Rakeshbhai (Bapaji), Shree Kumarpal Desai, Acharya Chandanashriji and Param Pujya Bhaishree.

24th November 2018 - afternoon

On the occasion of Param Pujya Bhaishree’s 75th Birthday Amrutotsav, the sabha held in Sayla Ashram had swadhyays by Shree Kumarpal Desai, Param Pujya Gokulbhai and Acharya Chandanashriji.


25th November 2018 - Param Pujya Gurumaa’s Birth Anniversary

25th November 2018 - morning

Param Pujya Rakeshbhai (Bapaji), Param Pujya Gokulbhai and Param Pujya Bhaishree’s swadhyay on the final day of the Amrutotsav, also the birth anniversary of Param Pujya Gurumaa, Shree Sadgunaben C U Shah.

When students turn teachers

Many primary students studying in the schools in Sayla Taluka lag behind their classmates in reading, writing and mathematics.  70 girl students studying in schools run by Raj Saubhag Ashram Sayla offered to tutor extra classes to help these students cope, taking the load off from the State Government.  Over 2000 students from 65 schools in 35 villages are receiving extra coaching in this novel initiative where students have turned teachers.  This is their way of giving back to the society – a valuable lesson they were taught in school.

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The primary students that will receive extra coaching hail from Kashipara, Naliya, 4 schools in Sudamada,  9 primary schools from Sayla, Navaniya, Khitala among others.

The girl students who have benefitted from a hugely subsidised education in L M Vora College, have volunteered to take extra classes on the weekends. Along with the coaching classes, they are making progress and report cards to monitor the progress of each child.

Tejal Aal and Payal Katosana say: “It is our goal and earnest desire that every student reaches 100% of their potential, and they are able to read, write and calculate effortlessly.”

Applauding their initiative, Principal and Director of Prem ni Parab project, C K Vyas said: “This Prem ni Parab project has been instrumental in imparting quality education to over 25,000 students in the region. And now these college students are using their spare time to coach underperforming students and nurture their growth right from the beginning.”

Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Vijay Rupani visits Raj Saubhag on 72nd Independence Day

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Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Vijay Rupani  visits Raj Saubhag on 72nd Independence Day

15th August 2018

The Honourable Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Vijaybhai Rupani visited Shree Raj Saubhag Ashram on 15th August, India’s 72nd Independence Day.

The purpose of the visit was to witness the Ashram’s achievements in the fields of education, social welfare, medical and ophthalmic services which are provided to the local community; as well as to honour and motivate the staff members who provide these services. Due to the quality of equipment used, the commitment of doctors and educationists, complete dedication of care givers and the services provided, these institutions have often been described as ‘centres of excellence’ and ‘unique, especially in India’.

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The Chief Minister and first lady were warmly welcomed by the spiritual head of Shree Raj Saubhag Ashram, Param Pujya Bhaishree (Shri Nalinbhai Kothari), along with Brahmanishts Minalben and Vikrambhai on the steps of Raj Mandir (the new hall which is nearing completion).

The column-less, brilliantly lit auditorium with its intricately carved marble and stonework has seating capacity for almost 2000 people, is an architectural masterpiece, which resonates divinity.

Raj Saubhag Ashram follows the teachings of Bhagwan Mahavir as explained by Shrimad Rajchandra. Outside the Jain community, Shrimad Rajchandra is better known as the spiritual guide and mentor of Mahatma Gandhi. Disciples of Raj Saubhag Ashram living in India and abroad spend days, weeks and even months in its hallowed premises pursuing their spiritual growth.

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Smt Minalben formally welcomed the Honourable Chief Minister and other invited dignitaries, as Pujya Bhaishree presented him with a crystal engraving of Shrimad Rajchandra as a momento.

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Compering the event, Minalben and Vikrambhai described the various humanitarian activities undertaken by the Ashram, and introduced the people in charge. Each head was called on the dais and honoured.   

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Shri Chandrakant Vyas – Director of Prem Ni Parab Education Program

Shri Chandrakant Vyas – Director of Prem Ni Parab Education Program

Dr Kamal Shah - ophthalmic surgeon at the Eye Hospital

Dr Kamal Shah - ophthalmic surgeon at the Eye Hospital

Dr Vidhyut Shah - Opthalmic Surgeon at the Eye Hospital

Dr Vidhyut Shah - Opthalmic Surgeon at the Eye Hospital

Shri Rambhai Jadav – director, Ashirvad Trust for the Disabled Children

Shri Rambhai Jadav – director, Ashirvad Trust for the Disabled Children

Dr Dharmendra Sharma - Dental Surgeon

Dr Dharmendra Sharma - Dental Surgeon

Dr Ambalal Raval - Community Health Centre  

Dr Ambalal Raval - Community Health Centre
 

Pujya Bhaishree then delivered his address. First, he expressed his extreme pleasure with the visit by the Chief Minister on the country’s Independence Day. He went on to explain that the Ashram was located at Sayla primarily because it was the hometown of Shrimad’s soulmate, Saubhagbhai and that the founder of the ashram, Late Shri Ladakchand Manekchand Vora (Param Pujya Bapuji) was also from Sayla.

Pujya Bapuji firmly believed that one should always give back to society and that spirituality cannot flourish in the absence of compassion. Inspiring kindness in the hearts of disciples who came to the ashram, welfare activities in the region bloomed.  Starting from a small scale, the humanitarian projects have grown exponentially, with women’s education getting a tremendous boost. Until some years ago, Sayla taluka was regarded as having an extremely low female literacy rate, now has over 1000 girls attending Raj Saubhag High School. Similarly medical and social welfare has grown tremendously, said Pujya Bhaishree while thanking the Chief Minister once again for his visit.

Responding with equal warmth, the Chief Minister said that it was his earnest desire to visit the ashram since he had heard so much about it. He conveyed greetings of the national Independence Day and spoke about a number of patriotic Indians right from 1857 to 1947, who had advanced the cause of India’s independence. He singled out Mahatma Gandhi for his courage, perseverance and above all, his moral ethics including ahimsa and aparigrah (living with less). These characteristics were inspired in Gandhiji by Shrimad Rajchandra.  He also spoke about Jain philosophy and illusory happiness, while giving an indication that there would be a 150th anniversary celebration for Mahatma Gandhi in a similar style to that of Shrimad Rajchandra.

The Chief Minister sincerely congratulated Raj Saubhag Ashram for its selfless service to the poor in the region, adding that in reality this was the duty of the government.  He added that the state government has been increasing its allocation for welfare activities, especially in the field of education and gave details about his government’s current education project ‘Mission Vidhya’, while highlighting the major contribution being made by the teachers in developing the education.  

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Chief Minister having lunch with Bhaishree

Chief Minister having lunch with Bhaishree

The auditorium was live with the cheerful voices of over one thousand girls from Raj Saubhag School and college and over 900 teachers from schools in Sayla taluka. Leading members from various communities in Sayla were also present.

Link: Chief Minister’s facebook post on his visit to Raj Saubhag

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2062749413777968&id=320511514668442

News Coverage:

Gujarat Samachar, dated 17 August 2018

Gujarat Samachar, dated 17 August 2018

Fulchhab Newspaper, dated 17 August 2018

Fulchhab Newspaper, dated 17 August 2018

Divya Bhaskar newspaper, dated 17 August 2018

Divya Bhaskar newspaper, dated 17 August 2018