- The organization, Veerayatan is made up of two words, ‘Veer’ for Lord Mahavir and ‘aayatan’ which means holy place
- Palitana will be a university with a four-year program of studies, will include a study of Jainism and also science education, a modern curriculum with a spiritual base
New Jersey (U.S.A), July 28, 2017: There is an Indian humanitarian organization by the name Veerayatan, it draws inspiration from the Jain faith and is implementing some unique projects like a university for women aspiring into monkhood, with four years of study and a concerted effort to help Nepal to build a better life for its citizens.
The organization, Veerayatan is made up of two words, ‘Veer’ for Lord Mahavir and ‘aayatan’ which means a holy place. According to its website, it was founded in 1973, by Acharya Shri Chandana ji, and was inspired by the teachings of Tirthankar Mahavir and Rashtrasant Amar Muniji Maharaj. It describes itself as “a non-profit, non-governmental, socio-religious organization,” on its Facebook page.
According to a TOI report, Acharya Shri Chandanaji said, “the projects had been well received by the approximately 5,000 attendees,” at the JAINA Convention held in Edison, New Jersey, United States, from June 30 to July 4. Veerayatan was recognized as the Best Institution of the Year, by JAINA. It may be noted that Chandana was the first ever female Jain sadhvi to have received the title of Acharya.
Acharya Shri Chandana Ji’s message at the Convention was that actions should replace talk about compassion and non-violence. “For thousands of years we have spoken on non-violence and compassion, but what is necessary is that- where we live and are surrounded by people who need food, whose eyes are filled with tears. We should do something about that,” she said.
She added that one does not have to search for God. God will come to those who will do these acts. “Our organization is just a drop in the ocean in what should be a worldwide effort,” she said, noting, “JAINA Convention very patiently listened and our message was well received.”
On the ‘Nepal Project,’ Acharya Chandanaji said that They had been working in that country for the last 2 years and wants people from surrounding countries in the South Asian Subcontinent, the U.S., and around the world, to step forward and the Nepalese will achieve a better life and good governance. She found the people of Nepal, hardworking and gentle, who need and deserve help from people skilled in various areas of endeavor, and shared this message at the JAINA Convention.
“Our vision is that surrounding nations (and others) can help Nepal in the effort for development – both spiritually and to establish a good government,” Acharya Chandanaji said.
The organization’s ‘Palitana Project ‘ named after the place where Veerayatan was first formed, seeks to create a center for Jain studies for sadhvis and those wanting to become one. This Project is led by Jainesh Mehta, a Texas-based longstanding IT software professional in the oil industry, and philanthropist whose Mehta Family Foundation is known for its charitable efforts. Mehta said that the vision is for Palitana to be a university with a four-year program of studies, will include a study of Jainism and also science education, a modern curriculum with a spiritual base. It is a place where education and worship go together. The campus would also offer- one day, one week, one month or other duration of courses to those needing them, he added.
Last year alone, around 1,000 girls and women took Deeksha in Palitana, a vow by which worldly life is given up for an ascetic life. For this transformation, they have to give up their households to live in poverty but they don’t get an opportunity to have an education. “This project helps them live their life but also get this education. It is a one-of-a-kind campus being built,” to help fill the gap, Mehta indicated.
According to its website, Veerayatan stands on the three pillars- Seva (service to humanity), Shiksha (education for all), and Sadhana (self-development) to inspire and empower lives.
Its various activities include Seva Mandirs, which include medical camps, eye surgeries, and post-surgery care for the most underserved populace; schools, colleges, hostels, and vocational training; rehabilitation and emergency relief programs in the wake of natural calamities; Brahmi Kala Mandir, an art gallery comprising inventive media to better understand life, culture, and religion; guest houses and libraries; and prayer halls, spiritual retreats, and inspirational programs for all age groups.
– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08