Jain Avenue: An Insightful Journey

When Googled, the search result for the word “Jainism” unambiguously paints the picture of an ancient religion. Even after passage of thousands of years,identity of Jainism remains closely & mostly associated with religion. While Jainism is most certainly a religion, it will be unfortunate if its identity remains one-dimensional as that of a religion because Jainism is more than religion & rituals, it is a Way of Life. True sense of Way of Life or a Religion is understood when it is embraced by an individual based on his/her own conviction rather than based on the premise of belonging to a group or family or by birth:

  • Does one need to be born in a Jain family to be identified as Jain?
  • Does one automatically become a true Jain based on the only fact that he/she is born to Jain parents?
  • Does a person need to mandatorily follow certain rules, practices, and rituals in order to be called Jain?

Answers to these questions are neither easy nor deserve a collective debate beyond a point. It eventually comes down to our intent and ability to associate Jainism with either “Jain by birth” or “Jain by Beliefs & Actions”. (Janm se ya karma se?) What are these beliefs and actions? One can even argue that these beliefs and actions too are part of religion itself and hence religion is encompassing. Well, rather than arguing in favor of or against this view, we need to see these beliefs and actions in themselves. Common sense suggests that religion is just one important facet of our lives and our lives are truly multi-faceted. Any philosophy or doctrine that guides us in multiple facets of our lives is a Way of Life and Jainism certainly offers a Way of Life. There are beliefs that play out well when adopted by individuals based on his/her critical analysis and then such individuals can be identified as belonging to a group – religious or otherwise. The concept of the group here is based on commonality in beliefs of several individuals rather than these individuals automatically belonging to the group by birth and expected to blindly follow group mandate or the same beliefs.Essentially, group identity should be a by- product rather than a starting point. Such an approach is centered around an individual rather than a group. This requires individuals asking right questions, having access to the right information & knowledge, critically analyzing and coming to their own answers based on their own conviction. Every day, each one of us is bombarded with huge amount of data and information. There is non-stop, round-the-clock “noise” around all of us. TV channels host non-stop debates where everyone talks past each other & no one listens. There are experts and celebrities who thrust upon us their perception and world views, there are publications full of data and information, there are well-wishers ready with a solution to every problem without even understanding the problem. In short, rest of the world seems to be thinking, analyzing, deciding, and prescribing for us rather than each one of us going thru the process of discovery, critical thinking, analysis and conclusion. This process requires the ability to listen to multiple points of view with an open mind, meaningful debate with others regardless of their views, and understanding any philosophy or an issue at its core. Understanding the difference between “noise & signal” as well as “information & knowledge” is critical. This requires an individual to introspect, have meaningful dialogue with self, and society. This is not easy in today’s world where we are surrounded by every type of stimuli that constantly trigger our senses. What is needed is the right kind of trigger that nudges us in the right direction, allows us to absorb information and seek knowledge from it, enables us to have a balanced world view, makes us think & question, leads us to uncover deeper truths and get out of the traps of many echo chambers and our own biases. This is not easy in an era where everything is expected to be done in an instant. Most of the information sources around us today encourage instant gratification but the right kind of trigger must allow deeper engagement that is possible only when we spend quality time without distraction. Books and magazines are such instruments capable of providing such a trigger provided they have the right content supported by right intent. Our magazine will provide a platform thru which readers can engage beyond superficial layer, across range of topics and fields, thereby exposing readers to a full spectrum of knowledge areas. We are aware that demands placed on all of us by our circumstances severely restrict time that we can spend even on the activities that we enjoy. We are also cognizant of the fact that, not every theme and topic will be of interest to every reader. Format of a magazine lends itself nicely when it comes to covering a wide range of topics in a single issue, and flexible length of an article in a magazine allows reader to complete entire article or a few of them without committing long continuous time. We cannot ignore realities of the world where an individual may like to (or maybe constrained to) consume article on the move, in between other tasks and so on. This requires flexibility that is offered only by on a digital platform. Digital magazines can be consumed by readers on any device and it can always be printed by those who still love the smell of paper and ink or preserve it in their library. Digital form clearly has other advantages of publishing/printing economics, being eco-friendly, ease of archival and search.

Key features of our E-magazine

  • Excerpt of every edition of our magazine will be emailed as a PDF document to interested readers. Excerpt will include a snippet of every article published in that edition. If a reader finds the snippet interesting, the reader can click the “Read More” button below that article snippet, which will take reader to the entire article on our website.
  • Our articles will be multi-media and leverage audio, video & PowerPoint presentations in addition to text.
  • We wish to make this a truly interactive magazine. We want to hear your opinions and suggestions to make this a better magazine. You are invited to write individual authors for deep dive in their subjects.

The team behind this endeavor includes –
Mentors – Dilip V. Shah & Dr Bipin Doshi
Editor – Dr Sejal Shah
Co-editor – Dr Arihant Kumar Jain
Administrator – Rajvi Shah

We sincerely believe that our readers will find our magazine as not just ‘one more magazine’ but rather a window to relatively unexplored avenues in an unchartered way.