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1 Jainism For Future generations Yashwant K. Malaiya JAINA Convention, Cincinnati 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Jainism For Future generations Yashwant K. Malaiya JAINA Convention, Cincinnati 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Jainism For Future generations Yashwant K. Malaiya JAINA Convention, Cincinnati 2003

2 2 Dharma for Next Generations Next one Generation: 20 years Objective: next two centuries: 8-10 generations (typical genealogical chart) We must consider –our recent past –similar cases –develop a plan for action Let us take a long-term critical view.

3 3 Jainism for Next Generations Why did Jains survive & Buddhists did not. Role of Jain Neighborhoods Jain population trends Case studies: –Patan Jains, Agrawals, Gahois –Parsis, Jews, Swaminarayans Jainism & mixed marriages Historical Role of Acharyas, Bhattarakas, Pandits Prabhavana by preaching & osmosis Three age groups: 0-12, 13-18, Inherent strengths of Jainism Plan of action

4 4 Buddhism was well establied Indian Buddhists had Grandest temples Famous universities Largest libraries Large endowments (villages & lands) Scholarly monks ( Akalanka-Nikalanka story etc) They didn’t have householder communities.

5 5 Why are WE Jain? Buddhism, a popular and powerful force, disappeared from India. Why did Jainism survive, in spite of great odds against? We are Jain because we have lived in Jain neighborhoods. Neighborhood: community where being a Jain is "normal", not "odd". The Jain neighborhoods are disappearing.

6 6 Neighborhood: hierarchical model A simplified hierarchical model: Town neighborhoods: watch people with shravak vratas Jnati or nyat : traditional 84 endogamous group (e.g. Srimal, Agrawal, Pancham, Parwar etc) Regional: nyat clusters (e.g. Nav-nat, 12 1/2 nyat etc): mutual social interaction Shravak Sangh: Network of nyats: linked by routes of monks & traders

7 7

8 8 84 Shravak Nyats

9 9 Jain Population Trends 2 children per couple results in negative population growth.

10 10 Case : Shravakas of Patan 746 CE: Vanraj settles Anhilvad (Patan), some shravakas arrive from Shrimal : Kumarpal rules, guided by Hemachandra Suri, famine at Srimal cause people to move to Patan : Old Patan destroyed, new city built, Jains still flourish : Marathas take and make Patan capital Late 18 th /early 19 th cent: Many Patan Jains move to Bombay. Jain population: 1901: 15%, 1971: 5.6% Neighborhoods: Shrimal, Patan, Bombay

11 11 Case: The Agrawals Largest merchant community of India (4 million) –Legend: Raja Agrasen of Agroha gave up vedic sacrifices & accepted Ahimsa. –Agrawal Jain authors: 13 th century onwards –Agrawal Jain inscriptions –Have not seen mentions of non-Jain Agrawals in ancient times. –texts mention half of them were Jain years ago. –about 10% Jain today.

12 12 Case: Grahpatis or Gahois They were the greatest builders of Jain temples in Bundelkhand (central India) during Chandella kings (10-13th century) –Lord Shatinath of Ahar –All the Jain temples of Khajuraho –Sahasrakuta temple of Banpur etc. Only a few brahmanist (1 of 25 inscriptions) Today all vaishnav, (even with name Saraogi) A small group were accepted by Taranpanthi Jains. Maithilisharan Gupt

13 13 Case: Grahpatis or Gahois

14 14 Case history: The Parsis Among most successful in India: JTD Tata etc. –Fled to India to avoid persecution –Flourished in India, helped their brethren in Iran to survive Populations peaked in 1960 at 100,000; about 50,000 now. Reasons: –marry late when they are settled in life –some don't marry –many marry outside Great controversy about outside marriages –Dastoors oppose, reformists support bhojakas

15 15 Case: Jewish Faith Wealthy minority in Europe, Middle East, USA. Have their own country: Israel. National Jewish Population surveys: Children’s Jewish identification: –Mother & Father Jewish: 90% –Mother Jewish, not father: 40% –Mother not, father Jewish: 16% Raising of children of mixed marriage: –28% as Jewish, 41% non-Jewish, 31% no religion Mixed marriages of children of mixed marriages: about 90% Jewish identity of mixed marriage grandchildren: about 0% Jewish conclusion: encourage conversion to Judaism.

16 16 Case: Swaminarayan Faith Pushtimarg founded by Vallabhacharya. Sahajananda Swami founded Swaminarayan sect as Pustimargi Vaishnav Sampraday. Bochasan (BAPS) groups breaks away with non-hereditary, non-brahmin leadership. BAPS reaches Gujaratis worldwide in past few decades. Emerging as most visible Hindu sect.

17 17 Jainism and Mixed Marriages Some communities were once almost entirely Jain, even when they become brahmanical, their personal values were Jain-like. Intermarriage was sometimes permitted within a few nyats (Agrawal, Shrimal etc): –girls got married at a very early age –they absorbed, learned and followed husband's religion (Ex. Br. Pandita Chandabai of Arrah) –statistically drifted into Brahmanism There are people with names "Sanghavi", "Saraogi" even "Jain" who are no longer Jain.

18 18 Jainism and Mixed Marriages Things are different today: Girls are fully intellectually mature when the are married. Wife has great influence over the religious choice for children. Children of mixed marriage will consider non-Jain matches equally. –Brahmanical choices are 80%/0.4% = 200 times. Social circle will have an impact

19 19 Acharyas, Bhattarakas, Pandits Founder: Ratnaprabh Suri: Osia, Raj.: Oswal Jinasena Acharya: Khandela Raj.: Khandelwal Lohacharya: Agroha, Haryana: Agrawal ?:Untouchables of Udaypur Acharya Vijay Indra Dinna Suri:Tribals of Vadodara/Panchamahals

20 20

21 21 Acharyas, Bhattarakas, Yatis Preserver: Parwar: Bhattarakas of Chanderi MP Pancham: Bhattarka Lakshmisen of Kolhapur Nainar: Bhattarak Lakshmisen of Melsittamur, TN Bundelkhand: Pandit Mohanlal Kavyatirth, compiler of Jain text books Organizer: USA: Acharya Sushil Kumar & Guru Chitrabanu Oswal: Acharyas of Upakesha & other Gachchas

22 22 Prabhavana by Preaching & Osmosis Preaching: formal lectures and leading Osmosis: slow, effortless absorption Lectures (pravachan): –essential part of being a Sharavak ("one who listens") –powerful force that can trigger transitions –limitation: impacts mostly those who are receptive impact may be temporary vitarag-oriented: pustimargis have advantage

23 23 Prabhavana by Osmosis Osmosis: learn without effort learned through parents' actions (not preaching) reinforced through social interactions –food (roti) –marriage (beti) –leisure (hukka-pani) –spiritual activities (sat-sang) forms very strong bonds

24 24 Dharma for Formative age (1-12: age of innocence) This is when they form their personality: value system, tastes They accept parental wisdom without questioning –is it teaching "brain-washing"? – if you don't teach values, they will learn from elsewhere TV, friends, school teachers McDonald plan: Make Japanese kids acquire taste of their food, by age 12, they will be hooked. What should parents do?

25 25 Dharma for Exploration Age (13-18: age of change) They discover the rest of the world. Their bodies are changing. –they seek same-age companionship (skt vayasya = same age, friend) –they start accepting peer values. –they are still learning to learn. What should the parents and the community do? –Need for a virtual Jain neighborhood Prapte tu shodashe varshe

26 26 Dharma for beginning maturity (19-25) Starting working to acquire a living & wife/husband. College friendships lasts a lifetime Most memorable period of life They seek attention of potential suitors They are very open to religious beliefs of someone they will fall in love with –"Shahide-mohabbat" Buta Singh became Muslim. –Many Hindu girls in India and UK become Muslim. What can community do? –Provide opportunity to meet Jain suitors Recent movie: ghadar

27 27 Jainism: Inherent Strengths Jain principles are very simple, intuitive, time-invariant, and appealing. –Karma siddhant: You get what you do. –Compassion –Acceptance of multiple views Of great antiquity, but capable of renewal.

28 28 Plan of Action Careful study of long-term trends Learn from others –Christian, Jewish and BAPS organizations. –They have studied, experimented and perfected approaches. Reach Jains at the fringes. Reach others interested.


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