GURUDEV CHITRABHANUJI’s HISTORICAL visit
in Ahmedabad –Gujarat
International Conference on World Peace
– Shyam K. Saksena
War Is Dehumanizing
Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji, the well-known messenger of Ahinsa and Amity, visited Ahmedabad – Gujarat, India – from the 31st of December 2003 to the 4th of January 2004. Invited to attend the International Conference on World Peace, organized by the Department of Philosophy of Gujarat University, as one of the Chief Guests, he chaired the afternoon session of the conference, where a large number of the scholar-delegates presented papers on various aspects of World Peace. Gurudev summarized his message by saying that, “War is ugly and Peace is beautiful. There cannot be a good War or a bad Peace! So, we have to heighten our awareness to a level of unconditional Love and Compassion for the other. Only then can we bring about peace in our lives and in the lives of others, which is the very foundation of World Peace.”
Next morning, in the plenary session of the conference, Gurudev delivered a lecture on the subject “Universal Peace through Ahinsa and Friendship.” He spoke in a persuasive manner, and gave the message of Bhagwan Mahavira that only through Ahinsa and Amity one can get real peace. Ahinsa envisions one’s counterpart in others. Now there is no ‘others’! It is a state of universality of total consciousness. For this purpose one has to make his/her own efforts without passing on responsibilities to others. More than five hundred scholar-delegates, coming from over forty different countries, listened spellbound. While concluding, Gurudevji recited his famous song of Universal Amity, which the audience joyfully joined in a chorus.
Be Universal Man
On the 2nd of January 2004, Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji presided over a function conducted by the Gandhinagar Kelwani Mandal, Madhuri Mansukhlal School at Koba, near Gandhinagar, the Capital of Gujarat State. On this occasion, he honored the outstanding students of the school. While addressing them, he narrated beautiful stories about how they should endeavor to enrich themselves with knowledge and culture, and to acquire discerning sense of awareness for right action. He said, “Our two eyes are for seeing the outer material world. But Knowledge is our powerful third eye which makes us see our inner selves. This leads to self-knowledge, which is the basis for our becoming Universal Man. This is the key to true success in life.”
Shri Suresh Hiralal Kobawala and Ravindra Kobawala, who attended this function, were pleased to donate Rupees One Lakh each to the School. Pujya Gurudevji has always been supporting education right from the inception of this school with his generous donations. This school has been making great progress in excellence.
Banks of Discipline
On the same day at noon, he visited Tapovan Sanskar Pitha where he delivered a speech about the essentiality of discipline and decorum in student life. “Without discipline our energies are dissipated and our actions and life lack focus. It is only when the iron of Body and Mind is tempered with the fire of discipline that we acquire the strength and flexibility of steel. Lack of decorum in our lives reflects on our lack of sensitivity for the feelings of others, and it becomes a hindrance in living in Amity.” He explained it with an example: A river has two banks which help the water to flow towards the ocean. Otherwise, without the banks, the water would have been consumed by the desert. While answering questions raised by the students, he gave a brief picture of the activities undertaken by him to spread the message of Maitribhava, that is, Universal Amity to the world at large.
The Beauty of Simplicity
On the 3rd of January 2004, he attended a program organized by the International Center for Jain Studies of Gujarat Vidyapith, which is a renowned University established by Gandhiji. The Prayer Ceremony was attended by hundreds of students, professors and invitees. Gurudevji gave a talk about the cultural and academic values of student life. He reminded everyone about Mahatma Gandhi’s message of simple living and dedicated service towards deprived sections of society. He was glad that the students of Vidyapith were living out Gandhiji’s message. Vice Chancellor Dr. Arun Dave, Registrar Shri Piyush Shah, and Principal Shri Pankaj Desai welcomed Gurudevji and honored him. Earlier, the students of Vidyapith recited Chitrabhanuji’s song “Maitrebhavnu Pavitra Jharnu” in a chorus.
Service to Living Beings Is Service to God
In the afternoon on the same day, he specially visited ‘Manthan,’ a Non-Government Organization working for the welfare of the Handicapped, Disabled and Mentally Retarded young, teenage girls. Smt. Niruben and Shri Girishbhai Patel, who have been working hard to run this center, welcomed Gurudevji and others. They appraised for Gurudevji the significance of the ‘Manthan’ and its activities. Gurudev blessed the children, who were smiling and happy. Despite their handicapped condition, the girls gave beautiful performances of dances, garba, songs and enactments of scenes, etc. on the stage. Gurudev blessed them with his compassionate heart and inspired them by narrating a real life story of an American lady who lost her dear one and struggled to live a peaceful life by way of working with devotion and dedication for the good of children. Gurudevji donated a cheque of Rupees one lakh to this Organization on behalf of Divine Knowledge Society of Mumbai. On that occasion people also donated generously. Fruits and sweets were distributed to the girls. He explained that when we see any physically or mentally challenged people, it is not enough to ascribe their fate to their Karma and to close the matter in our minds. By being a passive sympathizer without Karuna, we are in fact earning negative karma for ourselves. Therefore, it is necessary for us to actively contribute in as many ways as is possible, to help those who are less fortunate than we are.
Common Remedies for Uncommon Diseases – MAITRI
On 4th of January, Gurudevji attended the International Conference of the Jain Doctors’ Federation which was arranged at Koba, Gandhinagar. Acharya Shri Padma Sagarsuriji Maharaj, Acharya Shri Pradyumnasuriji Maharaj, many monks and nuns, and more than a thousand doctors were present at this function. Gurudev addressed them on the subject of “Common Remedies for Uncommon Diseases.” He emphasized that ultimate liberation – Moksha – is possible to attain only after getting rid of sects, creeds and fundamentalism. For that, one has to develop a friendly attitude with every living being. A sense of Maitri or Friendship keeps the mind healthy and cheerful. Even physical ailments can be cured by this attitude. After that he spent some time with Acharya Pradyumnasuriji and discussed the Dynamics of Jaina Meditation System, and they requested him to teach the same to the munis and the household persons. “In the light of awareness, one can experience one’s Being,’ he said.
Belief in Superstition Makes Life Superficial
He also attended a gathering of the Jaina Jagruti Organization and delivered a lecture advising the people to refrain from meaningless rituals and beliefs and to shed fear and frustration. He said, “Rituals can at best be salt in the dinner, to just add flavor to it. Surely, salt entirely cannot be the dinner itself!” Similarly, he advised people to free themselves from the bonds of superstitions. The power of the mind makes us act according to our damaging beliefs, which tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies and to reinforce our belief in the irrational. When there is enthusiasm within, that is the best time and the best course of action, for we are filled with ‘Enthios’ then.
Believing number 13 as inauspicious is a case in point. To free oneself from superstition, he advised that we “go with the flow.” He narrated a story of a man who realized that he had stepped on the thirteenth step, only after he had done so. Being superstitious he realized his ‘mistake’ and decided to skip the thirteenth step on his return. So, on this return he jumped from the fourteenth step to the twelfth step and in the process stumbled and hurt himself. Thus, he proved to himself that his superstition is true!
While at Ahemdabad, Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji also met the renowned Jain Scholar Muni Jambuvijayji at Koba and spent some nice time discussing the system of meditation.
The whole programme of Gurudev’s stay at Ahmedabad was organized by Shri Bhadrabahuji. Dr. Y. S. Shastri, Dr. Sudhir Shah, Dr. Manaharbhai Shah, Neeraj Hattisingh, Dr. Purnima Mehta, Smt. Surekha Hemant Shah, and many others who served him very devotedly.
Our Thanks to Mamataji, Jain Meditation Int’l, P O Box 230244, Ansonia, New York NY, Tele & Fax 212 362 6483 for sending us this article