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JAINA Diwali Special Newsletter
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PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Jai Jinendra!

Wish you all a very happy life, a life full of flowers of self-purification. May your life be on the road of justice, morality, righteousness and rendering help to others.

Let us on this New Year pledge if possible every day at least half an hour shall be devoted to religious duties and thereby we will see that many of our problems will automatically be solved and a positive turn in your life will take place.

JAINA Executive Committee and Board of Directors wishes everybody a Very Happy Deepawali and a Prosperous, Peaceful and Healthy Samvat 2074
(Vir Samvant 2544).

Warm Regards,
Gunvant Shah
JAINA President
10-18-2017

PRESIDENT TRUMP DIWALI MESSAGE

BHAGWAN MAHAVIR NIRVANA

Bhagwan Mahavira Nirvana Divas, also known as Bhagwan Mahavir’s Nirvan Kalyanak Divas. On this day Lord Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankara had attained the bliss of Nirvana on the dawn of Amavasya of the Ashwin month (Hindu calendar), 527 B.C. at Pavapuri. It was a very dark night without the light of the Gods or the moon. So, the sixteen Gana kings, nine Malla and nine Lichchhavi of Kasi and Kosal decided, that the light of their master’s knowledge should be kept alive symbolically by lighting the lamps.

Since that time, Jains celebrate the festival of Deepawali to commemorate the attainment of Moksha by Lord Mahavira. The Jain community illuminate their houses and temples with clay lamps to celebrate this event. This act also guides the mortals to light up their inner vision by implementing the path preached by Lord Mahavira.

On this day many devotees visit Jain temples for the occasion. This is the last day of the Hindu and Jain calendar year. Some observe fast for three days in remembrance of the sacrifice of Lord Mahavira. They also recite Shri Mahavir Swami Sarvajnaya Namah on every bead of the mala or rosary (108 beads), followed by nineteen malas of the mantra, Shri Mahavir Swami Paragataya Namah on each bead.

MYTHOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF DIWALI IN JAINISM

Diwali is celebrated on the no-moon day of Aaso. Bhagwan Mahavir, the 24th Jain Tirthankara, attained Nirvana on this day at Pavapuri on Oct. 15, 527 BCE, on Chaturdashi of Kartika. The Lord discarded the body and the bondage of all Karmas on that night, at Pavapuri. In Uttara-Puraana written by Acharya Gun Bhadra (7th or 8th century) it is mentioned that in the month of Aaso, krashna paksha, swati nakshatra and on the night of the 14th (dawn of the amavasya), Lord Mahavira became a Siddha (attained nirvana). After this first follower of Bhagwan Mahavir, Gautam swami attained Kewal Gyan.

Diwali festival was first time mentioned in Harivamsha Purana (Holy Book of Jains) written by Acharya Jinasena, and composed in the Shaka Samvat era in the year 705. Acharya Jinasena mentions that Bhagavan Mahavir, attained nirvana at Pavapuri in the month of Kartika, Krashna paksh, during swati nakshatra, at the time of dawn. In Harivamsha-Purana 19th & 20th Shloka says that: "the gods illuminated Pavanagari by lamps to mark the occasion. Since that time, the people of Bharat celebrate the famous festival of "Dipalika" (splendour of lamps) to worship the Lord Mahavira on the occasion of his nirvana."

DIWALI IN JAINISM

Bhagwan Mahavir knowing his emancipation was very near, reached Pavapuri alias Apapa town. The Heavenly Gods created Samosaran (beautiful dome). Bhagwan Mahavir sat on golden throne inside Samosaran. There were twelve beautiful qualities that surrounded him. It was Kali Chaudash. His principal eleven disciples were present including Gautamswami. Heavenly gods and goddesses too were present. He had royal patronage too were present. Rich financiers and merchants, kings, queens and princes and their ministers were followers of Mahavir. Some of them were present to witness the last moments and last discourses of Mahavir.

One of them was king Punyapal. He had received eight dreams the night before. Punyapal told Mahavir that he had become scared after having these dreams. He narrated them before Mahavir and requested Mahavir to forecast its results. The mention of eight dreams is of important and the names are: 1. Elephant 2. Monkey 3. Kshirvruksha 4. Crow 5. Lion 6. Lotus 7. Beej (seeds) 8. Kumbha (pot).

These dreams seem to be beautiful but its significance was horrible relating to entire Jain four fold organizations and universe.

Mahavir gave discourses for 16 Praharas continuously i.e. two days and two nights without any break. In these 16 Praharas he spoke on 55 categories of Punya (merits) and 55 categories of Paap (demerits). These are well-known as Uttaradhyayan Sutra in Jainism. Mahavir also forecasted the horrible future of fifth and sixth Aras of present Avasarpini.

As soon as the time for emancipation reached nearer, Mahavir asked Gautam to go to a farmer named Devsharma and enlighten his soul with knowledge. This was the day of Amavasya in the month called Ashwin.

At midnight, Mahavir attained emancipation and relinquished this universe forever. He sat on the abode of Salvation. He was never returned from there. His emancipation caused extinguishing of Bhav Deepak and turned the atmosphere into darkness and hence those who were present at that time lighted Dravya Deepak. Dipavalee festival since then commenced for Jains. It is celebration of NIRVANA KALYANAK and not enjoyment of worldly pleasures. Why? Because we all wish to have NIRVANA as early as possible.

Later on, Gautamswami returned after meeting Devsharma. He learnt about emancipation of Mahavir and began crying. He then went into deep thinking and converted these thoughts into meditation and concentration of non-attachments. At the dawn of first day of the new month i.e. Kartik he achieved luminous and brilliant kevalgyan (Omniscience). Heavenly Gods celebrated his Kevalgyan with all gaiety and pleasures.

On Dhan Terash: Jain Merchants carry out Pujan of Dhan (Money) and their books of accounts. They prefer to close down their shutters after this Pujan for eight days.

On Kali Chaudash:Most of the Jains start observing fast for two consecutive days. They sit in Jaap means counting rosary at night. Some go to listen Diwaleekalp. Some enter in to Paushadh for two days.

On Amavasya Day:People go to Temple to worship and meet each other. They distribute clothes, give donations and again at night, they sit in Jaap. The Jaap mantra is MAHAVIRSWAMI PARGATAY NAMAH.

On New Year’s Day people greet each other and express best wishes for the forthcoming New Year. As midnight passes those doing Jaap start chanting “GAUTAMSWAMI KEVAL GNYAYA NAMAH”.

On the second day of New Year there is a procession of an idol of Mahavir. This is called Bhai Beej.

On the third day of New Year, Derasars (Jain temples) and Jina idols are decorated with flowers.

On the fourth day of New Year people visit Temples and pray.

On the fifth day of New Year it is Gyan Panchami or Shrut Panchmi. On this day Jains worship “Gyan” with different materials, sweets and fruits. They also count rosary to gain pure knowledge.

RITUALS IN THE CELEBRATION OF DIWALI

Diwali is the occasion to pay tribute to the ardent sacrifice of Mahavira.Lots of Jains observes fasting during three days of Diwali. The festival falls in the month of Kartik (usually October-November). The devotees sing and chant hymns in praise. They recite phrases from the Uttaradhyayan Sutra which contains the last preachings of Lord Mahavira.

Unique way of celebration: Jains religion gives more stress on austerity and simplicity. Unlike other religious practices, who celebrate Diwali with lots of fire crackers, noise, songs and dances, Jainism follows a different form of celebration altogether. To Jains, physical triumph and pomp are just worldly emotions of joy and gratification. So they practice penance during the period. The temples are decorated during this period and there is distribution of sweets among the devotees. Jains from India and all over the world visit Pavapuri, the home town of Mahavir.

SAY NO TO CRACKERS AND YES TO DEEPAWALI OF DIYAS

At midnight on this day Bhagwan Mahavir, the great Tirthpati, left for heavenly abode.

Nirvana means liberation and again means total freedom from bondage. The Super Soul is always transcended it's physical limitations. The supreme soul conquered birth and death and became the recipient of eternal bliss. It is the attachment and hatred that are responsible for bondage and as a result,self-suffers from the pangs of birth and death.

The Deepawali echoes the melodious rhythm of liberation but unfortunately due to ignorance the individual fastens himself with new clutches instead of achieving redemption. Many a youth, at this time, celebrate this occasion with the crackers just out of sheer ignorance. Lots of money is drained in such things.such things. This is an evil as it results in the loss of material and natural resources.

What sort of this Deepawali is, involving precious life of Innocent persons?
Every year we hear news that number of lives are lost because of fire enraged due to crackers. Generally, this happens when innocent animal world is asleep. They get terrified for protection, they run hither and thither and meet with unnatural death. Don’t forget that one who is enjoying at the cost of other's lives is sure to reap the fruits of his deeds. It is inevitable. If you make others happy, you will be happy in return and if you make others unhappy, the same will be the consequence to you too.

On the advent of a pious day cracking of crackers cause much harm:

  1. Innocent small beings get killed.
  2. By loud explosions many get deaf.
  3. Gas emitted by the crackers is injurious to health.
  4. Crackers are made of paper. By the burning of papers and the letters there is a bondage.
  5. Mercy towards human being is also adversely affected and with the bondage of the karma the soul is bound to gravely suffer.
  6. By giving trouble to other living beings, there is a karma ( called Vedaniya) come into force and consequently leads to various diseases and one has to undergo tremendous trouble.

And besides all this, lot of money is wasted. If the same money is utilized in things such as benevolence, charity, helping in every possible way to all living-beings it would be meritorious.

The real utility of one’s intellect is in the fact that it should be used in the welfare of all living beings. The intelligence that leads to wrong path is bound to destroy one. If a weapon is properly used, it protects one, or otherwise it will bring about incalculable loss.

WELCOME SAMVANT 2074 (VIR SAMVANT 2544)

The Jain year commences with pratipada, following Diwali. Jain entrepreneurs launch their accounting year from Diwali. Diwali illuminates the temple of heart and reveals the horizon of the inner heart. Jain scriptures also mention that one of the ardent disciples of Mahavir, Gandhara Gautam Swami attained enlightenment on this day. In Mahavir's ,departure he meditated to such an extent that his soul became liberated from all karma.

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