For Future generations
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
develop a plan for action
Let us take a long-term critical view.
Jainism for Next Generations
Why did Jains survive & Buddhists did not.
Role of Jain Neighborhoods
Jain population trends
Patan Jains, Agrawals, Gahois
Parsis, Jews, Swaminarayans
Jainism & mixed marriages
Historical Role of Acharyas,
Prabhavana by preaching & osmosis
Three age groups: 0-12, 13-18, 19-25
Inherent strengths of Jainism
Plan of action
Buddhism was well establied
Indian Buddhists had
Large endowments (villages & lands)
Scholarly monks (Akalanka-Nikalanka story etc)
They didnít have householder communities.
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.
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
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
84 Shravak Nyats
Jain Population Trends
2 children per couple results in negative population growth.
Case : Shravakas of Patan
746 CE: Vanraj settles Anhilvad (Patan), some shravakas arrive from Shrimal
1143-75: Kumarpal rules, guided by Hemachandra Suri, famine at Srimal cause people to move to Patan.
1300-15: Old Patan destroyed, new city built, Jains still flourish.
1763-66: Marathas take and make Patan capital
cent: Many Patan Jains move to Bombay.
Jain population: 1901: 15%, 1971: 5.6%
Neighborhoods: Shrimal, Patan, Bombay
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
Agrawal Jain inscriptions
Have not seen mentions of non-Jain Agrawals in ancient times.
texts mention half of them were Jain 200-300 years ago.
about 10% Jain today.
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
Only a few brahmanist (1 of 25
Today all vaishnav, (even with name Saraogi)
A small group were accepted by Taranpanthi Jains.
Case: Grahpatis or Gahois
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
Case: Jewish Faith
Wealthy minority in Europe, Middle East, USA. Have their own country: Israel. National Jewish Population surveys:
Childrenís 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,
31% no religion
Mixed marriages of children of mixed marriages: about 90%
Jewish identity of mixed marriage grandchildren: about 0%
encourage conversion to Judaism.
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.
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.
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
Acharyas, Bhattarakas, Pandits
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
Acharyas, Bhattarakas, Yatis
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
USA: Acharya Sushil Kumar & Guru Chitrabanu
Oswal: Acharyas of Upakesha & other Gachchas
Prabhavana by Preaching
Preaching: formal lectures and leading
Osmosis: slow, effortless absorption
essential part of being a Sharavak ("one who listens")
powerful force that can trigger transitions
impacts mostly those who are receptive
impact may be temporary
vitarag-oriented: pustimargis have advantage
Prabhavana by Osmosis
learn without effort
learned through parents' actions (not preaching)
reinforced through social interactions
spiritual activities (sat-sang)
forms very strong bonds
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
McDonald plan: Make Japanese kids acquire taste of their food, by age 12, they will be hooked.
What should parents do?
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
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
Jainism: Inherent Strengths
Jain principles are very simple, intuitive, time-invariant, and appealing.
Karma siddhant: You get what you do.
Acceptance of multiple views
Of great antiquity, but capable of renewal.
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.