New Bill Will Give Jain Refugees And Others Citizenship In India

It’s never easy to find yourself in a new country with unfamiliar people, but that’s the case for many Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain refugees who would like to stay in India. Home Minister Amit Shah wants them to know they will never have a place to stay in his country.

Shah said, “We will expel each one of them.”

This was in stark response to Chief Minister Banerjee who wants to allow the refugees to stay in India. “You will not be forced to leave India by the Centre,” he said. “Before NRC, we will bring Citizenship Amendment Bill, which will ensure these people get Indian citizenship.”

Banerjee provided land right to dozens of refugee colonies who are currently situated on government-provided plots. There are at least 237 colonies currently situated on private land, and the residents of those colonies need a place to go.

These events are transpiring during the Hindu festival of Dussehra, which some Jains are celebrating by burning a demon effigy in Monroeville. A 15-foot likeness of the demon king Ravan will be lit up using a string of fireworks affixed to its body.

Temple President Hitesh Mehta said, “All of the Hindu community comes here to celebrate.”

Jain participants have invited the general public to experience the festival as well in an effort to share common beliefs and practices — because most people don’t even know that the Jain religion exists.

Mehta said, “We plan and we fast and we worship. You are purifying the inner soul during those first nine days. On the 10th day the bad tendencies are removed.”

On that day, evil is purified through the symbolic burning of the effigy. This represents the moment in history when Ravan the kidnapper was killed by Rama, whose wife had been stolen by the demon. 

If the celebration seems familiar, that’s because it bears striking similarities to the pagan week-long holiday that used to be celebrated in Ancient Rome, Saturnalia. During this festival, Roman citizens would eat and drink, and a period of general lawlessness ensued. Everyone would choose someone to engorge with food, drink, and sex, and then at the end of Saturnalia that person would be slaughtered (having been the symbolic embodiment of evil).

Saturnalia was eventually stolen and assimilated by Christians, who used the familiar holiday to capture some of the pagan blasphemers. Saturnalia eventually turned into Christmas!

Jain Cuisine To Try On Paryushan Parv

Those who follow the Jain religion know that Paryushana is one of the most important days of the year. In 2019 it began on Tuesday, August 27 and it will end tomorrow, on Tuesday, September 3. Jains are in the midst of an unusually strong week-long commitment to a combination of fasting and prayer to place emphasis on their five most important vows: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity), and aparigraha (non-possession).

Those in the Svetambaras sect call is Paryushana, which means abiding or coming together, and celebrate for eight days. Those in the Digambaras sect call it Das Lakshan Dharma and celebrate for ten days.

All those who celebrate this event enjoy “forgiveness day,” or Samvatsari/Kshamavani at the festival’s conclusion.

During their period of fasting, Jains will stay away from a number of different food items: potatoes, onions, green veggies, garlic, etc. What can they eat? Here are a few things you might try — even if you aren’t Jain!

Daal-Baati consists of small balls of flour dough baked to perfection in a tandoor oven. The butter-flavored dish is served with lentils.

Instant Rava Dhokla is more of a breakfast food made with rava, curd, oil, and salt.

Last but not least, Jains often break their fast with Panchkuta ki Sabzi, and is composed of five main ingredients: Ker, Amchur, Sangri, Kumati, and Gunda.

Chana Moon Dal Dhokli is spiced flour dumplings and is served with lentils.

Strained yogurt, or Shrikhand, might be substituted for dessert.

During the festival Jains will read the sacred texts, focusing on the ten righteous virtues, which are: Uttam Kshama (forbearance), Uttam Mardava (supreme modesty), Uttam Aarjava (straightforwardness), Uttam Satya (truth), Uttam Soch (purity), Uttam Sanyam (supreme restraint), Uttam Tap (austerity), Uttam Tyaga (renunciation), Uttam Aakinchanya (non-attachment), and Uttam Brahmcharya (supreme celibacy). 

Jain monks are especially devoted to these particular principles.

For the Digambaras, one of these ten righteous virtues are studied in full on a single day of the festival, the goal being to complete them all by the time it’s over. This study must be performed once every year, but it can be completed during other holidays as well — like Shukla Panchami to Chaturdashi of Bhadrapada, etc. 

When the festival ends, Jains will beg one another for forgiveness for all the wrongs they did in the previous twelve months. The ritual begins by saying the words “Micchami Dukkadam”/”Uttam Kshama,” both of which roughly translate to: “If I have caused you offense in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word, or deed, then I seek your forgiveness.”

Who Are Some Historical Figures Who Followed Jainism?

Like any religion, Jainism has had its fair share of believers — both in and out of the public eye. This community of pacifist believers has thrived since its conception in the sixth century BC by Jina Vardhamana Mahavira. Most of the people on this list follow the core tenets of Jain faith, which includes a cycle of reincarnation in an effort to achieve ultimate salvation by living as ethically as possible. Here are a few historical figures who were Jain believers.


  • Rishab Kumar Jain. This young man has received many awards for his extraordinary work in science and research, including “America’s Top Young Scientist” and “Time’s 25 Most Influential Teens.” Those who know him describe his personality as curious, which should come as no surprise for a teen who managed to use artificial intelligence to help find better treatment for patients suffering from pancreatic cancer.
  • Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai. This Indian scientist is known for his massive contributions to India’s space program. He was a member of the Indian Science Congress, the President of the General Conference of the I.A.E.A. in Vienna, founder and chairman of the Space Applications Centre in India, and Vice President of the Fourth United Nations Conference on “Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy.” A lunar crater was named in his honor in 1973, only two years after his death.
  • Vandana Jain. The New Delhi native is known for her achievements in the field of medicine. She works as the founding Director of the Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute, which is no surprise to those who understand her level of education and the many subsequent qualifications she earned. She has been published in at least 30 national and international journals, all of which were peer-reviewed. She writes for the Deccan Herald.
  • Rakesh K. Jain. Another famous student of medicine, his work in over 600 publications has been cited tens of thousands of times. He advises all tiers of Indian society, including government, academia and the medical industry. His work focuses mainly on tumor biology and drug delivery, and he strives to find new methods to fight disease using nanotechnology. His work has led to many new discoveries in the field of medicine, and revolutionized the way many other researchers approach the subject.

  • Piyare Jain. He discovered the subatomic particle called the axion, and currently works as a particle physicist at the University of Buffalo. He made the exciting discovery using 3-D photographic medium targets from heavy-ion particle accelerators at a time when most other physicists doing similar research had moved onto new technologies. Sometimes the old way is the best way.

What Are India’s Major Religions (Other Than Jainism)?

Jainism is an important part of India’s history: it has roots in ancient religion, and it propels believers onto a path of physical, spiritual, and ethical enlightenment over a lifetime. It holds life in the highest esteem even down to the smallest microscopic organism. This non-violent religion has a number of important traditions, including festivals, rituals, worship, fasting, and meditation. But today it isn’t one of India’s biggest religions, having only about four and a half million followers spread out all across the globe. 

Although Jainism is important, let’s explore some of India’s other major religions and how they overtook Jainist beliefs and practices.

  • Hinduism. Like Jainism, “dharma” is widely practiced in this religion as well. Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world, and also one of the most eclectic because of how it came into being. This religion had no founder, but is instead made up of various ancient Indian traditions and cultures that are now long-dead. Core aspects include rituals, community, cosmology, ancient texts, and pilgrimage. A whopping 79.8 percent of Indians practice Hinduism.

  • Islam. Many Indians also practice Islam (around 14.2 percent) and most of them belong to the Sunni sect. Muslims arrived during a period of trade from Arab states in the seventh century CE. A temple was built and the religion began to spread. This wave grew higher when Turkic invasions began in Northern India during the 12th century.
  • Christianity. Around 2.3 percent of Indians are Christian believers. “Tradition” suggests that Thomas the Apostle came to the Malabar Coast in 52 AD to help spread the new religion. Although there are other stories, historians acknowledge that Christianity had been firmly rooted throughout India by the sixth century AD.
  • Sikhism. This religion is practiced by about 1.7 percent of Indians. It was founded by Guru Nanak and has been an important part of Indian culture for about 550 years. They have many traditions including uncut hair, wooden combs, steel bracelets, cotton underwear, and small swords to protect the weak.
  • Buddhism. Although it is the world’s fourth-largest religion, relatively few people practice in India (around .7 percent) even though it originated there around the fifth century BCE. Buddhists believe that the cycle of life and death occurs from continual rebirth. The purpose of the religion is to break this cycle to defeat its inherent suffering. Those who achieve this goal reach Nirvana.

Jainism comes in sixth place! It is practiced by only .4 percent of Indian citizens.

Understanding Jain Cosmology

Most religions were created to explain what was unexplainable – why is there day time and night time? why do we have rainbows? Jainism is no different. Jains believe that the Universe in which we live in is real and not some matrix. They also believe that within the Universe there are two different things:

  1. Jivas – which consist of living souls
  2. Ajivas – which includes everything else

Jains believe that the Universe is neither created nor destroyed, just that they change from one form to the other. This is very similar to the Law of Conservation of Energy which states that energy can also not be created nor destroyed.

Jains do not believe that the Universe itself was created by a god but has just always existed and will always exist. Jains also believe in something called Loka. Loka is the world in which we live in now, and the world does contain heaven and hell.

Jains believe that the Universe is broken down into 5 parts:

  1. The Supreme Abode – where liberated souls will live forever
  2. The Upper World – where celestial beings live but not forever
  3. The Middle World – where current human beings live and where they can move upwards in the Universe
  4. The Lower World – where souls are tormented in seven layers of hell but they are not tormented forever
  5. The Base – where the lowest forms of life live

Jains also believe in something called Dravyas or Substances. All of these types of substances are confined within the Universe:

  1. Jiva – the soul
  2. Dharma – motion
  3. Adharma – non-motion
  4. Pudgala – matter
  5. Akasa – space
  6. Kala – time

Jains believe that Jiva is a form of energy that is eternal and conscious. It is believed that Pugdala is what gives the Jiva the sensations of pleasure, pain, birth, and death. It is anything that can be seen, touched, tasted or smelled.

What do you believe? Were Jains onto something with their science?

What Is Sallekhana?

In Jainism, there is an ethical code of content which consists of many vows. One of the vows found in the code of conduct is the vow of Sallekhana, which is the vow of volunteering to fast to death.

This vow can only be done at the end of a person’s life. The person vows to fast to death by gradually reducing the intake of food and liquids. Jains consider this a pure death because it is voluntary, panned, undertaken with calmness and peace. While fasting, the person continually recites the Namokar Mantra to keep his mind focused.

Jains believe that withering of the body and focusing the mind on spiritual matters will end something known as the “rebirth cycle” because the body is withdrawing from all physical and mental capabilities and removing the human passions of the body.

Elderly Jains choose to voluntarily face death through fasting coincides with the Jain belief of Ahimsa or non-violence.

This practice has been dated back to 5th Century BCE and can be found even in today’s Jain communities. According to Jitendra Shah, the Director of L D Institute of Indology in Ahmedabad, an average of about 240 Jains practice Sallekhana each year in India.

According to Jain religious text, every time a soul is reborn it accumulates karma. In order to achieve spiritual enlightenment, it must not have any negative karma attached to it. A pious death, according to criminal defense, reduces any negative karma attached to the soul.

Many modern scholars debate on whether or not the vow of Sallekhana is a form of suicide. According to Jains, the difference lies between the intention. Suicide is not death in the “proper way” because it is done in anger, desire or delusion. India has a history of criminalizing suicide but Jains argued that preventing the vow of Sallekhana is a violation of their freedom of religion.

Where Are The Biggest Jain Communities?

Jainism is noteworthy for being one of the most pacifist religions in the world. It’s not something they preach endlessly without practicing. They follow through. They make up less than a half of one percent of India’s population, where their biggest community thrives. There are also a number of Jains who identify mostly as Hindu, which makes the actual figures harder to find. Where are the biggest Jain communities?

In India, the biggest communities can be found in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh, which also have populations of Jains that exceed ten percent. Karnataka falls just under ten percent, while Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu all fall below five percent.

If you needed more reason to respect the Jain religion, here’s a big one: they’re great for the economy and humanitarian efforts. They make more money than any other community in India, much of which is shared or donated to charity. They also enjoy one of the highest literacy rates in the country, which leads to more highest graduates.

Jains have a major community in Karnataka called Jain Bunt.

Another smaller community called Jain Komati can be found in South and Central India. These followers have their own Jain institutions.
Another community called Saraks is located throughout Bihar, Bengal, Jharkhand, and Orissa. The followers who make up this community have believed for thousands of years.

Navnat is an umbrella term for several Jain communities in East Africa.

There is a community of about 70,000 who practice in Kenya, most of whom live near big cities.

About 80,000 practice in the United States. Alongside Kenya, these followers make up about half of all who practice outside of India. Most arrived in the 1970s.
Around 17,000 live in the United Kingdom, where they arrived in the 1800s. Although the number of Jains who live there is small, they have a big “presence.” There is a Jain library that was built in 1930 by Champat Rai Jain. He was a scholar who studied law there in the late 19th century.

Smaller communities of Jains still live and thrive in Canada (over 12,000), Tanzania (over 9,000), Nepal (just under 7,000), and then Uganda, Burma, and Malaysia with just over 2,000 people each. Considering the religion’s impact, it’s a wonder it hasn’t spread further around the world!

How The Doctrines of Jainism Are Still Relevant In Today’s Society

The traditions and teachings of Jainism have been around since the second century BCE. Although Jainism is close to  Buddhism and Hinduism and all three religions mutual respect each other, Jainism is a religion who’s doctrines preach non-violence, looking at the world from many points of view, and non-attachment to worldly possessions. And although these ancient texts were written thousands of years ago, what they teach us about human nature and how to behave is enlightening especially in today’s society.

In Jainism, the first Tirthankara or spirit teacher Rishabhanatha believed that peace should be achieved through non-violence. In today’s world where this growing violence and hatred, there’s something to be gained attempting to achieve peace through non-violence. Similar tactics were used by Gandhi when Indian was trying to gain Independence from the United Kingdom. Violent crimes are not the answer to helping to achieve peace.

Another important Jain doctrine is the concept of the three jewels; Samyak Darshan (right perception), Samya Jnana (right knowledge) and Samya Acharan (right conduct). In today’s world, with some much hatred and violence that is being conducted in the name of religion, Jainism has the opposite approach. Jainism emphasizes compassion for all creatures (which is why most Jains are vegans).

Another principle “Ahimsa Paramodharma” which translates to non-violence is the highest moral value isn’t just about abstaining from violence but also indicates caring for human beings.

In regards to climate change, Jainism also has a principle that applies, “Aparigraha” which means not taking what is more than essential to live. With the overconsumption of food and energy, deforestation, and other exploitation of nature in today’s society, ancient principles of Jainism show an alternative way of living.

What Is The Jain Diet?

Jainism is a pacifist religion based on the premise that all living things should live in peace and harmony because they are interconnected. If you have a soul, you are part of an eternal cycle of reincarnation as you seek to liberate that soul. It should come as no surprise that the Jains have an extremely strict diet. Some believe it is the strictest diet followed in India today, where the majority of Jains continue to live and practice. These are some of the rules and restrictions that Jains follow.

Jains are restricted from eating a number of foods, including: potatoes, garlic, onions, green vegetables, and other vegetables that grow underground. Why these and not others? Followers do not eat meat or fish either, but the reasoning is easier to follow.

Many vegetarians don’t believe in the slaughter of animals for food. Not only are many farmed animals treated poorly, but some vegetarians think we have enough other sources of sustenance that there is simply no need to continue this cruelty. The Jain way of life runs parallel to this pacifist idea. Jains believe that the killing of animals for any reason is no different than the killing of humans. Murder is murder, and these are the kinds of acts that result in bad karma.

This idea doesn’t just concern larger animals. Smaller insects and microorganisms are a part of it. Because farming underground vegetables can harm these tiny forms of life, Jains are barred from eating them. The same reasoning applies to drinking or eating fermented foods (which have a large number of living organisms in them). That means many types of alcohol are off-limits.

This practice is often taken to extremes. Many traditional Jains abstain from nighttime eating because light attracts insects. Many refuse to eat foods that have been left out at night because doing so would kill more microorganisms that have multiplied on food surfaces.

Jains practice lacto-vegetarianism, which means that in addition to meat they cannot eat eggs. They are still allowed dairy products, but some scholars and followers prefer a vegan diet because even animals that are farmed for milk must still face cruelty.

Before tap water became available, Jains filtered their water. Some still do the same thing today as a matter of tradition.

Many Indian foods were developed over the centuries with Jain practices in mind. Some Jains own vegetarian restaurants in order to provide other Jains with more options.

What You Need To Know About Paryushan In Jainism

Paryushana is a festival that involves reflection in Jainism where the Jains seek to be forgiven for sins. This festival is known as Das Lakshana Dharma by the Digambar Jains, while the Svetambara call this festival Paryushana. The Jains celebrate the festival by observing a fast as well as partaking in a number of spiritually enlightening meditation sessions. Paryushana is observed in the way of reciting the 10 chapters of the Tattvartha Sutra for the Digambara Jains, along with organizing several processions. The Svetambaras celebrate this festival by reciting Kalpa Sutra which is in Jain text.

The Significance And Purpose Of Paryushan

The true significance and real purpose associated with this particular festival involves repenting and asking for forgiveness against all sins committed, according to New Jersey Employment Attorneys. As the participants observe fasting, they forget about the needs of the body and focus on enriching their souls and their minds. They atone for any sins and take vows to avoid doing wrongs in the future. The fasting is what helps to purify the body and the mind, while the actual festival offers opportunities for introspection and reflection.

The Jains believe that Ratna-Tray, which stands for the 3-jewels of Jainism which translates into right conduct, right faith, and right knowledge is essentially important facets of the religion. To achieve these goals, the Jains are encouraged to always be truthful, non-violent, non-stealing, renouncing all attachments and to be celibate. While many of the Jains find it hard to follow the tenets throughout the year, they focus on following these directives to the best of their abilities during Paryushan.

When Is Paryushana Festival Celebrated?

The festival occurs in the rainy seasons where it becomes difficult for the Jain monks and nuns to go outside barefoot. Chaturmas is the holy period which is held over a period of four months over the rainy seasons. The wandering monks will take up a temporary residence in one spot for these 4 months, while Paryushana is regarded as the most vital part of Chaturmas. It is during these periods where the monks are residing in a specific place, they become accessible, where they are made available to people who seek instructions or the guidance which is set in place by the 24 Tirthankars or the teachers of Jainism.

Rituals Practiced During Paryushan

Fasting forms an important part of this festival. Some of the Jains will fast over the entire celebration while others will fast on the 1st and the last day. On these days, the Jains will eat before the sun goes down and then only drink purified or boiled water. They will avoid eating any leafy and green vegetables. They will also read holy Jain scriptures and books, while meditating and praying to God. The Jains will also listen to lectures and speeches by the Jain monks, along with singing devotional songs.

The reason why fasting is so important over this period, is that it offers the opportunity to eliminate any bad karma. It also helps to develop self-control, patience and discipline. Repentance and forgiveness are some of the most important aspects about Paryuhsna. Every day of the festival will focus on the elimination of several impurities such as greed, deceit, pride and anger along with building up of good virtues.