Sunday, January 31, 2010

दिशा परिवर्तन

From: Vikas Jain (विकास जैन) <>
To: Jcnc <>; Jcnc-DJ Group <>
Sent: Sat, January 30, 2010 9:08:42 PM
Subject: [JCNC-DJ] दिशा परिवर्तन

Dear JCNC,

Sarika and I will be moving back to India this Saturday, Feb 6th and wanted to say bye to all of you before I leave. It has been very enjoying experience living here and benefiting from the temple. I want to thank you for building the Jain temple so we could get opportunity to practice Jainism.
In fact, I moved to this area only because of the Jain temple. About 3 years ago I was in Seattle and looking to move here. My manager asked why I wanted to move here. I told her that if I move to this area, I'd be with Microsoft longer than if I'd be working in Seattle. I think that was right. I'd have gone back sooner than now if I were in Seattle.

I have learned so many things from many of you. Some of the things I really liked / impressed with:
  • Love to see that more than 300 kids/teens come for bi-weekly pathshala from all over the bay area. This is an amazing work and other centers are learning from it. I always mention this proudly to other folks here when giving them details about the temple. This also gives inspiration and example to others who don't have temple yet built and thinking about it.
  • It's good to see organized programs like monthly Bhaktamar Path, Bhavana, bhakti etc.
  • I liked having committees, their election, regular meetings, meeting action items. It's very professional way of maintaining JCNC.
  • I liked years-advance planning for activities, shala days, managing scholar visits. Sometimes painful, but good to see we adopt the things as needed and appropriate.

However there are few things I wanted to point out:
  • Shala Syllabus: JCNC should look into the syllabus we teach to the kids and teens. This syllabus is borrowed from JAINA and does not have solid contents IMO. We need to design our own syllabus or coordinate with JAINA so that it is more meaningful, appropriate than its current form.
  • Adult education: We need to have classes for adults (post-teen/collage) which is missing at large. We need to research and find out what the student needs are and find the right teachers. We may have to fund this separately to get teachers/professors teach adults at the temple, but this should be done.
  • Religious leaders: There is need to grow and follow a religious leader(s) locally. You can't depend on others all the time. You should have your own scholars who you can go to for advise, suggestion, feedback etc, who you can follow for religious guidance. I think this is somewhat personal, but JCNC should be able to guide someone in getting questions answered.
  • Jain Library: JCNC need to prepare, maintain an excellent library. Our current library is coming to almost no use for the members. It's just a place to sit and talk. We are full of technical and professional people, but still haven't organized and maintained the library system. I don't need to explain how and what a library should be. We have seen enough libraries in US to know that. Let's make one that people can give example of elsewhere. Let's make it same glorious as of our temple.

  • Asathna / अशुद्धि:  Various asathnas are happening almost daily at our JCNC center in temple, like
    • Anyone not familiar with Jainism (Hindus, rental people) touch the Pratimaji until someone stops them. Even not all Jain people know that they can't touch any Pratimjis without wearing proper puja clothes.
    • People put द्रव्य सामग्री (चावल लौंग बादाम etc.) on pratimaji almost every week. Someone has to spend hours to clean the idols later. And since we don't have that much time every day, idols end up in अशुद्ध state. Everyone can see this सामग्री on idols very clearly, but yet we have ignored to fix this issue for years.
    • Within the Gabhara , Digambar pratimajis are put with Chandan every once in a while.
    • Within Gabhara and outside, females touch Digambar pratimajis.
    • Within Gabhara, people touch Digambar pratimajis without wearing proper puja clothes.
    Note that the actions above with Digambar pratimaji are against the Digambar tradition, makes the idol and temple अशुद्ध. These should be acted upon.
    The management, various committees and members are aware of most of these asathnas for long time. This has been sent to religious committee couple times and maybe to EC as well. But no action has been taken so far. If nothing else, at least we should be allowed to put flyer/note on each vedi up-front what can be done and what not. But sadly some people are more engrossed with beauty of the temple than शुद्धि of it. I request you to work on at least asathna issues, if not on any other.

  • जीव-विराधना:
    • The पूजा सामग्री collected after Digambar puja is kept in a bucket. Often this सामग्री is wet and put in the bucket. It causes large जीव-उत्पत्ति / fungus in the bucket. This is also bad for environment. This सामग्री should be dried first before dumping in the bucket and should be disposed very quickly within couple days or so. If nothing is possible, it's better to do पूजा with dry सामग्री.
    • Shwetambar puja starts before sunrise during winter days. Though I am not familiar with Shwetambar Puja tradition as much, but I don't think starting anything at temple before sunrise is allowed in any tradition. Just like we don't cook food before sunrise, puja, abhishek / prakshal can't be performed before sunrise. If this is not the case for Shwetambar tradition, you can ignore this point.
    • Consuming flowers for puja is as bad as using कंदमूल. कंदमूल and flowers are same in the sense that इन दोनों के use मे अनंतकाय (infinite living beings) का घात है.
      If we can't eat कंदमूल, how can we use it for the daily puja!! This also causes ants problem on the वेदी.
  • प्रतिमा-प्रक्षालन clothes: The clothes used for प्रतिमा-प्रक्षालन are torn, worn out and very small. त्रिलोकीनाथ भगवान के पूजा हेतु इस प्रकार के साधन प्रयोग किए जाये, यह महान दीनता (poverty) का सूचक है.
    Ashok bhai and I talked to Kirti bhai few times about this and found out washing the clothes in washing machine makes any new cloth torn out in a few days. Washing clothes is also against Jain principles as you are not using filtered water and unnecessarily consuming lot of water and electricity. Kirti bhai even started washing clothes by hand and drying them on the stand. But some people didn't like it and stopped him from doing so because it was not looking good!! Again people are more concerned for the beauty than शुद्धि and avoiding जीव-विराधना.
  • What you can do: If above things look like you can't do anything about it because you are member only, not an officer or volunteer, do this - Make the temple like temple, do not socialize within temple, do not talk within temple, do not talk anything, no hi/hellos/JJs. Do darshan yourself and let others do what they are here to do. All talks / greetings can happen outside the temple. You go to a library and do not make a single noise. Why can't you do same in the temple? Except singing सामूहिक पूजा / स्तवन and guided temple tours, there is absolutely no reason to talk to others. Even if there's need, you can find w/out talking they can be accomplished. Do at least this or try!!

It has been a long list. There are some more, but I'll just keep those out for now.
These are my observations and thoughts. You don't need to necessarily agree on any of it. I thought to pass these on if anyone is interested in knowing and making JCNC better place.

At last during our stay here, our actions, speech and thoughts may have caused you inconvenience. We want to apologize to all of you for such wrong doing and ask for your generous forgiveness.

Thank you all for your support,

PS: You may have some questions, so I wrote a section below. If you are interested, read along.


Where will I be in India?

I'll be in my hometown Indore. This would be my address for at least some time:
Vikas Jain
53 Malharganj Main Road
Indore, MP. 452002

Can I come and visit you?

Absolutely! Give us a call or mail in advance. We can plan some swadhyay, visiting temples at Indore. We'd be glad to see you again :)

What will I be doing once I go back?

I am going to spend most of the time with Jainism studies, understanding and implementing in my life. If time allows and there are people, I'll be teaching the same.
Someone asked me how much time I'll take to read/understand all books. I thought how much time I need and realized I can read all the books maybe in 5-7 years, but to really understand/implement a single book or even a single sentence it may take entire life time. So learning is not the end goal, it's starting point only.

Is my family ok with it?

Totally. You can ask them :-)

Do I have enough money?

One of my friends and some others asked me 'do I have enough money to go back and retire?' I asked him when we have enough money? I haven't seen any person here who has enough money though they have been working for years, days and nights; but still don't have enough money. They all want more. When does this end! I am not going back because I have enough money. If this is the reason for my returning back, I'll be in misery after very short time. Think what would happen when this money goes away. Can I make sure this money will always be with me? Can I make sure I will never make any mistake to lose this money? I don't think so; nor do I think anyone can assure that. So the answer is there is not enough money, but this is the end to my तृष्णा. I am learning how to be content. That's the key to return, not money.

I am leaving USA to do dharm. Does that mean you also have to leave US to be धार्मिक?

One thing I wanted to clarify that you shouldn't be discouraged if you are not able to move back to India. You shouldn't be thinking that you can't do any धर्म while you are in USA or any other country. There are plenty of things you can do here. And I am not talking about only physical activities. I mean understanding the real Jainism. In fact, you can start the actual धर्म here. Remember धर्म is not bound to द्रव्य, क्षेत्र, काल or भाव. इस क्षेत्र मे इसी काल मे अपने भावो के साथ आप धर्म की प्राप्ति कर सकते है. अतः पूर्ण पुरुषार्थ और रुचि के साथ इसकी प्राप्ति मे लगे.
Do not make excuses to hide your own weakness. I am going only because I need more time than what I get currently with work. Do not wait to achieve the same thing, Start now if you really want to be religious!

How can you help me?

There are items in this mail that you can work on. That's how you can help. Besides that - Study well, practice Jainism, spread Jainism, live Jain, donate books to libraries, learn and teach, give what you got!

Why am I retiring and moving back?

I am not going to India for a relaxed comfortable life, or to roam around the world/places, or not to live materialistically. I am not expecting that I won't have any problems in India; nor am I hoping anyone is waiting for me there. I am not expecting that I won't have any issues because I am doing धर्म. Please remember those are phases of the life that would come anyway (IOW कर्म उदय). You need to learn how to be detached with all such situations / things. I am learning that now and will continue learning and practicing it. That's why I am going back.

Will I miss you?

There are lot of things that I'll miss and the list is long, but the most part I am going to miss is the evening MMP class, its students, their commitment, regularity, support to the class, sending notes, asking questions, tolerating my strictness. I have learned a lot during this time from all of you. Each student is an example in himself/herself. Class – you'll be missed!