“In life, if you have a solid walk with strong faith towards your principles and religious values, then you will not ever behold fear”. This is something I remind my kids in their growing age to face the modern secular world. Which, I am certain will enable them to make wise decisions in life at the right time. Being parents, it is our responsibility to nurture our children with values of spirituality and ethics making their roots grounded firmly to religious philosophy. But the generation striving today needs clarity and evidence for them to assimilate the knowledge and pursue the same. And hence it becomes our responsibility to create the scenario that they readily accept religion and its values without any doubt. Apparently, besides it being the bitter fact, is certainly challenging to motivate the current generation and incline them towards religious practices. Although, if we diversify the approach to explain religious philosophy and persuade them to understand the same, it might not be so arduous. it is always better to have little than nothing. But for this little to be more in the future, the efforts need not be minimal or be it diminishing. It is our responsibility as Jain Shravak to uphold the values and importance of Jainism and bequest the essence of it to the future generation. But this begins right from your home!
Superlatively, to pursue this pious Jain religion in life and lead an idealistic life as a Jain shravak, there need not be any second thought or doubt. This auspicious religion bestowed by Bhagwaan Mahavir in Jain doctrines is the ultimate and only a Jain shravak can understand the merits of its quintessence. But to begin with, if the approach is modified for others to pursue the same with open arms and acquiescence, then why not? We may be mobilized if needed, to develop spirituality for a social change in this society. AS a Jain Shravak, our spiritual process should also be about enhancing our perception. To bring a change and make religion progressive in the current scenario, we all need to have a critical mind, but an open mind as well.
- Understand and make others understand the essence of spirituality and religion.In our busy lives, have you ever thought about what is the purpose of your life? In this big universe, besides the materialistic gains, which you may gain today and lose tomorrow, what is the most essential element that can stay with you for life long and justify the purpose of your life? This essential element is to elevate your soul on the path of spiritual gains. These gains would stay with you till eternity and give you immense self-gratification. Though in this glamorous society it is inevitable that one can be distracted by delusive happiness. But when we understand and make others understand that these physical happiness and pleasure are just timely, and it is also followed by sorrows and pain, we would certainly seek for happiness that would be ceaseless and has nothing to lose. This immense contentment can only be enthralled by immersing oneself into the ocean of spirituality, balancing our life by controlling our senses, living this worldly life with values and principles of Jain religion, and serving our soul the purpose of this human life. By following this path of spirituality, there is no loss but just gain and that is gain of eternal peace & exhilaration, and an end to all the sorrows. Besides, these gains would give us a healthy long life and are very essential for our wellbeing. The fact is, only the human race is advantageous to have the thought-provoking machine and that is the human brain. So, let us use it wisely to understand the right source of eternal happiness, understand our internal conflicts, and eliminate those sources of suffering from humanity. But this is possible only if we comprehend Jainism in life. Understand Jain philosophy and practice the same in this modern secular world. Fortify the values of Jain principles in your children ever since childhood so that they prosper in the future with their roots firmly grounded with resilient ethics and values of Jainism. Live life with Jain moralities & makes others around us understand the same. Spread the world wisely!
- Bring Awareness that Jainism is one of the only scientific religions in today’s era.We need to accept the teachings of Mahavira and acharyas as vital essentials without any doubt, and the same we need to endeavor to nurture our children with, who would contour the future tomorrow. In this modern scientific era, when the values of everything is changing, it is necessary to understand that after 20-25 years, these old essentials taught by Jain doctrines, would appear very scientific and will become necessary to pursue to live a healthy life. Rather, we can notice the same today itself. For instance, today’s inclination of intermittent fasting is nothing but Jain’s concept of Chauvihar (Eating before sunset) & Navkaarshi (Eating after sunrise). Not eating after sunset is not mere traditionalism of Jain practice, besides the objective of nonviolence by doing so, it is also proposed for our physical wellbeing. This practice in recent times has been accepted all around the world by non-Jain individuals as well. Drinking boiled water, instead of mineral water as suggested by health advisers today, was directed in Jain doctrines for decades. Inclination towards Veganism and vegetarianism in today’s epoch is the primary canon of the Jain religion suggested by Mahavir Bhagwaan way earlier. Moreover, analyzing today’s situation of epidemic, everyone is bound to cover their mouth and wear a mask, which is inevitably comparable to Jain practice of covering mouth for not harming living beings in the surrounding (Vaayu Kaaya jeevs). Well, such a scientific façade to Jain religion can go on and on. We accept the theory of science because it is logical, rational, and structured. Jain religion is structured on the same logistics and is absolutely rational. Jain philosophy & rituals are practical and hold no existence to pretentiousness and dogmatism. It only focuses on the purification of soul, mind & self-conduct. It teaches you to live a balanced life and a comprehensive lifestyle. When these personas of Jain philosophy and rituals are understood, it would be effortless to thrive Jain practices in today’s era.
- Evolve the religion with evolving technologyWhen we observe this world, we are living in and picturize if every human on this earth pursues the values of Jainism, the displayed photograph would be a “picture perfect”. But for that, it is very much vital to make the world aware of these ideal values what the Jain doctrines have portrayed. And in this changing globalized world of technology and media, when the current generation understands the languag0e of technology more feasibly, one of the modified ways for spreading the word of Jain doctrines would be through technology. When the world is made aware of the essential benefits earned by practicing Jain principles, certainly an individual would be inclined to pursue the same. Using social media and Satellites to spread the word is much in practice in today’s eon but taking a few more advanced steps towards it might help. In today’s contemporary time, social media and technology is the key while communicating with the youth. When the current generation is leaning towards programmed languages and IT media, why not use the same to enhance the religious teachings and make it spread worldwide? In current busy life, when essential teachings of Jain doctrines can be made available with just one click then why not? Why not make it more convenient? To appeal to youth may be proposed teachings of Jainism making it more interactive using quiz apps, games, animated visual arts, and explore technology to reach masses, persuade young cohorts who are responsible to prosper the future. Technology can enable the conduction of information and teachings more quickly, accessible, and achievable. Let us rediscover the style of imparting Jain religion. When nurtured from childhood, the values will be endorsed within the soul & they will make the imminent society seamless & optimistic.
- Slender modification by conveying through discrete languageFor The essential religious values of Jainism to reach the future generation, it is very much indispensable to explain the same in the language they understand. It is sad but true, that today the youth who are to pursue Jain religion have accepted the foreign language “English” as their first language. Besides the language of technology, it is vital to scroll down the barrier of linguistics & use the English language as a conveyor of knowledge to reach the youth and the international community. Though, the essence thrives in epic Prakrit and traditional phonetics of Jain doctrines & philosophy. But, with the modified times, it is constitutive to implement the current world language which is English. If we as Jain adherents craft a Milieu that would invite the youth & wider community, then the intents would be accomplished. The practice of worship, the practice towards the spiritual route, the expression of faith, and belief need not have any linguistic or dialectal barriers.
Besides all these modified processes of teaching Jain religion, it is very essential to understand that we need to conduct the rituals of understanding and practice it every day, not just occasional. Ritual word is subordinate to the word Spiritual. Rituals are essential to practice in order to captivate spirituality. And devoutness is the only way one can attain eternal happiness & peace. Hence the more religious rituals get polished, the more will shine spirituality. Reciprocate to the spiritual knowledge you aspire and breathe through it, live with it, practice it at every stage of your life, and explain the same to others around you. Make spirituality, religion and its philosophy as an essential part of your life. If you understand this with the right approach and practice the same with true sanctity, you will be able to disseminate the same to your children. As Mahatma Gandhi always mentioned, if you want to bring a change in the world, change yourself first! Practice it thoroughly before you preach.
The depiction of our future picture depends on how we paint it today and spread the essence of beautiful colors around!
Born & raised in devout Jaina family, author lives her life on the ideals of compassion. Currently she is based in NJ, USA and works as a Graphic designer. Prachi serves as a Gyanshala director/chief coordinator for Jaina Society of New Jersey and is also an active member of EC at JVB. She is a regular writer of the honorary monthly magazine “Prabudha Jeevan”, a well-known publication since 1929. She has also been associated with various NGOs to fulfill her social responsibilities.
co-edited by Sejal Zaveri