Thousands of Jain devotees converged in Gurgaon on the weekend to celebrate the 75th birth anniversary of Acharya Bahubaliji Maharaj, the spiritual Guru of Digamber sect of Jain community and perform mass rituals.
Acharya Bahubaliji Maharaj, during his sermon, laid stress on the need to educate the masses for a progressive Indian society.
"I bless all castes and religions of the society. All religions should bring in home Sanskars (ethical values). When we have ethics at home, we can look forward to the creation of an ethical society. Education should be emphasised on by all religions as education is the key self-improvement," said Acharya Bahubaliji Maharaj, spiritual head of Digambar Jain community.
The Digamber Jains, under the aegis of their Acharya, provide free primary education to children at various places.
"Besides spreading word about religion, our Acharya is keen to spread education amongst the youth. He has schools at various places. We are soon planning to open a Jain University," said Kanwar Singh, President, Digambar Jain Association.
Jains have an ancient tradition of scholarship. The Jain community is the most literate religious community in India, and the Jain libraries are India's oldest.
Jains are a small but influential religious minority with at least 4.2 million practitioners in modern India.
The Jains follow the teachings of the 24 Jinas (conquerors) who are also known as Tirthankars. The 24th Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira, lived in sixth century B.C.
It is believed that after 200 years of Mah?v?ra's demise known as Nirvana (freedom from rebirth) the Jain faith witnessed a split in which two sects namely Digambar and Swetambar emerged.
In Sanskrit, 'ambar' refers to a covering like a garment. 'Dig', an older form of 'disha', refers to the cardinal directions. Digambar therefore means those whose garment is only the four directions, or "sky-clad". 'Svet' means white and Svetambaras are those who wear white coverings.
Digambar Jain monks do not wear clothes because they believe clothes are like other possessions, increasing dependency and desire for material things, and desire for anything ultimately leads to sorrow.
Svetambar Jain monks wear white seamless clothes for practical reasons and believe there is nothing in Jain scripture that condemns wearing clothes. Sadhvis (nuns) of both sects wear white. (ANI)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Digambar Jains celebrate 75th birth anniversary of Acharya Bahubali Maharaj
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