Jain Avenue – Step Towards the Third Year

Lord Mahavir was a great social reformer in addition to being twenty fourth Tirthankar who re-established Jainism in 6th Century B.C. He did not endorse the caste system and animal sacrifice that was prevalent during the time. He believed men and women have equal potential to grow spiritually. “Chaturyam Dharam” that existed since twenty-third Tirthankar Parshwanath’s time and was transformed into five Mahavavrats which was a heroic effort to render women their individuality as a human being and not to be thought of as a possession. Most importantly he chose to give his sermons in Prakrit, the language of masses, instead of Sanskrit which was language of elite, so that even common man can understand and practice the way of life shown by him. Language is the medium of communication and thus it is important to use the one which a person understands with whom we are trying to communicate. The one, who knows and understands, will also eventually bring it to practice someday. Jaina scriptures are mainly available in Prakrit and Sanskrit and later with passing time, there is significant work done by various Acharyas and scholars to produce the same in regional languages like Gujarati and Hindi etc. Currently many Jains cannot read in any of these Indian regional languages and the number is increasing every passing day. In addition to this, there is a persistent demand from western philosophy enthusiasts and scholars for material pertaining to Jaina philosophy. Thus, it has become very crucial to make Mahavir’s philosophy and teachings available in English and broaden its reach.

Jain Avenue, a digital magazine in English by JAINA India Foundation was launched on August 15th, 2020, to cater to this noble intention for Jainas and non-Jainas all around the world who are interested in knowing Jaina values and principles. The aim is to provide simple and logical articles to readers which can provide them with context, and perspective about Jainism. It is a non-sectarian platform that publishes informative, interesting, and thought-provoking articles without being the mouthpiece of any specific sect or a person.

As Jain Avenue celebrates its second anniversary, a look back into its journey reveals its determination and sincere effort. The second year has been a period of continuous reflection and change for Jaina Avenue. Enriching and outstanding articles on diverse subjects are selected after a lot of thinking and hard work. Many times the articles are made shorter and tailored for varied audiences. An attempt was made to cover wide variety of interests through informative articles based on Jaina fundamental principles, book reviews, excerpts from a book or research papers, travel logs, etc. The subject matter ranged from philosophy to history to art and architecture to status of women in Jainism. Special issues on “Jaina Yoga”, “Sallekhana” and “Sciences and Jainism” were also published in last year.

Today’s youth is leaning towards the application of core principles and values in their day-to-day life compared to performing rituals. In my perspective, such application in real life makes one see results and gives inner satisfaction, particularly to the young generation. “Applied Jainism” is a social platform to collaborate and discuss contemporary issues on sustainable co-existence (Parasparopagraho Jīvānām / परस्परोपग्रहो जीवानाम्) where the principle of Jain philosophy and spirituality can guide people so that one can become the torch bearer in the modern age. Articles like “Fast fashion needs to slow down”, “daily violence counter”, and “I pledge to carry a cloth bag”, which are based on core Jaina principles of “Ahinsha” and “Aparigraha”, and whose application in day-to-day life can create an overall positive impact on contemporary issues were published keeping in mind young Jains. Jain Avenue too endorses such non-violent and environment friendly philosophy by being in digital form instead of on paper.

Monarch of Jaina festivals Paryushan Mahaparva is around the corner. Most Jains try to minimize their materialistic lifestyle and spend their time in religious and spiritual activities during this time. Paryushan is an occasion for self-purification through internal and external austerities. It is time to be in Samayika or Sama Bhava. Swadhyaya is an important tool to achieve the same and Jain Avenue hopes to be instrumental in the same through its special Paryushan Edition on the occasion of its second anniversary.

The article “Paryushan Parva” talks about its origin, it’s meaning, and how it is celebrated. It gives important tips to maintain the momentum gained during the festival once it is over. The Heritage Lab gives an account of the Story of Mahavir through Kalpasutra Manuscript and meaning of fourteen dreams of Mata Trishala. Author Ravi Dharamasi’s analogy between investing and Paryushan Mahaparva throws light on how real investing should be. “Why We Say Micchami Dukkadam” justifies Paryushan to be called the festival of Forgiveness. We at Jain Avenue sincerely hope that readers too will enjoy reading the same.

And last but not the least, the editing team at Jain Avenue asks for “Micchhami Dukkadam” from all for any mis-interpretation or representation of Jaina principles or hurting anyone’s feelings even unintentionally throughout the year.

Sejal Zaveri – Assistant Editor