BARTLETT, IL (TIP): The Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago’s (JSMC) Bartlett, Illinois temple celebrated a weeklong festivity on the occasion of Birth Anniversary of Bhagwan Mahavir. The celebration started in a very spiritual manner where discourses by Shrenikbhai Shah from Mumbai, India were arranged. Shrenik Bhai is connected with various Religious, Jivdaya (Saving Life) and many other such spiritual organizations back in India.
Mahavir Janma Kalyanak (Jayanti) is celebrated across the world as birth anniversary of Bhagwan Mahavir, the 24th Tirthankar (enlightened one) of Jain Philosophy. He was born in 599 BC and this year marks the 2,614 years since the birth of the apostle of peace. His message of Ahimsha (Non-Violence), Aparigraha (Non- Possessiveness) and Anekantvad (Non- Absolutism) are universal in nature and has been the guiding force for generations of Jains and many cultures in the Indus Valley Civilization.
He was the son of King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala. On the night of conception his mother, Trishala, had a dream depicting 14 different auspicious things. The Astrologers interpreted the auspicious dreams and predicted that the child would be either an emperor or a Tirthankar. This year JSMC is celebrating its 20th Anniversary and, it being the first major event of the year, the Chairman of JSMC, Arvind Shah and Board of Trustees, presented the state of the JSMC.
Committee also presented important information on the current and future initiatives undertaken by the managing team and shared the financial health of the society. JSMC President, Tejas Shah, said that the entire Jain community throughout the Chicago land area, Indiana, and Wisconsin celebrated Mahavir Jayanti here at the Bartlett Jain Temple. The entire facility was beautifully decorated including the Pratimaji (Idol) of Mahavir Swami.
Mahavir Swami is the Main Deity at the Jain Temple of JSMC. Secretary, Vipul Shah thanked all the Volunteers for their Dedication and unconditional Support to make this event a memorable one. This is also an auspicious time of Ayambil Oli. Ayambil is a penance where the observer eats only once a day where a completely boiled Jain VEGAN menu is served. The Ayambil Oli is observed over a course of 9 days and this year it is in parallel to the Mahavir Jayanti celebrations.
About 65 members observed penance for the entire 9 days and many more did it for a day or two. On Saturday April 20th, a grand poojan of Sri Panch Parmesthi was organized in the main Prayer Hall. Almost 50 families simultaneously performed the poojan. The evening started with the most sought after event, The MJ Cultural Night. The cultural team put together an electrifying show.
It was attended by more than 2,000 people in the evening. About 250 kids and youths, from 3 yrs to 50 yrs in age, participated in this cultural show and presented a variety of artistic dance, garaba and skit. The morning of Sunday April 21st, started in a very spiritual way. A Digambar Mahavir Janma Jayanti Pooja was organized making sure that Jains from all walks of life were able to attend and take part in this spiritual journey.
The Digambar Pooja was performed by almost 30 families and around 100 people attended the poojan. In the afternoon the 15th annual declamation contest for various age groups was organized. About 72 students and members participated. Group1, Age 8 to 9, topic: “My favorite Moral Story”, winners are 1) Labdhi Jain, 2) Om Gandhi & 3) Riya Jain.
Group 2, Age 10 to 13, topic: “If you were granted three boons, what would you ask for”, winners 1) Siddhi Jain, 2) Sneha Shah & 3) Priya Shah. Group 3, Age 14 to 18, topic: “Practicing Jainism- Cultural and generation gap”, winners 1) Vinita Choradia, 2) Anand Shah & 3) Satej Shah. Group 4, Age 19 and above, topic: “Anekantvad in daily life”, 1) Sejal Jain, 2) Navita Choradia & 3) Vaishali Jain.
Bhagawan Mahavir was a great teacher, his philosophies and teachings taught mankind the true path of happiness. His teachings on non-violence and importance of austerity have shown us the path to achieve salvation and spirituality. For further information and detailed program schedule, please visit www.jsmconline.org. Piyush Gandhi, Membership Secretary.
About Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago: Founded in 1970, the Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago (JSMC) is a nonprofit, tax exempt organization registered in the State of Illinois and operates under IRC Title 26 U.S.C. §501(c)(3) status. Gifts and donations to JSMC are tax deductible to the extent allowed. JSMC has a membership of about 1,500 families, the largest membership representation of all Jain Centers in North America.
JSMC is a proud member of the Federation of Jain Associations in North America (JAINA) and has the distinct honor of building the first significant Jain Temple of North America in 1992 on a 15.4 acre property it owns in Bartlett, Illinois. Jainism is a religion and a way of life for Jains around the world. The primary mission of the JSMC is to provide a temple for religious services and a community center for religious, social, cultural, and educational needs of the Jain community.
Other objectives of JSMC are to increase the awareness of the principles of Jainism, achieve the unity of all Jains, provide a platform to project the voice of Jain religion, promote the feeling of amity and brotherhood among Jains, promote interfaith understanding, to establish communications between scholars of Jain philosophy and members of the Society, and celebrate Jain festivals and holidays.