It has been a matter of intense delight for me to put together
Some of the hundreds of letters written to Gurudev Chitrabhanu by
of Non- Indian origin over the last two decades constitute the
basic inspiration and substance of the book.
The purpose of the book is to appreciate and understand the
refreshing as well as abiding impact of Jainism on the thought
processes, behaviour pattern and meaningful changes brought about
voluntarily and enthusiastically in their life style as well as
values of life.
Principles of Jainism have been understood and assimilated by them
in their most basic and broad humanitarian parameters, and sincere
efforts initiated to practise them in day-to-day life.
Their ‘experience’ of this teaching underscores the universality
of the deeply compassionate Jain philosophy. As a religion, its
doors are open to anyone irrespective of place, region or country
of birth, or colour, caste or creed. In a scientific and rational
manner Jain philosophy seeks to enhance knowledge (gyan),
(darshan), and conduct
in the right
direction, and to wean
the humanity away from the evil and the devil, violence and
hatred, cruelty and intolerance. The practice of the principles
of Jainism makes the mind and the body tension-free, tranquil and
full of equanimity and spiritual vitality.
few months back when I was with Gurudev Chitrabhanu at his
residence in Bombay, we happened to discuss about his prolific
correspondence with young and old American and European seekers.
When I requested him to share some of the inspiring paragraphs
from his students’ letters, he read the paragraphs to me and I
felt they contained pearl drops of wisdom and knowledge which
deserved to be shared widely to promote love and compassion all
over the world.
Gurudev instantly welcomed my proposal to digest them in a book
form in order to bring out how well, how clearly and correctly,
how enthusiastically, spiritually and emotionally had so many
foreigners embraced Jainism not merely as a religion but as a way
of life in terms of their vegetarian habits, meditation
discipline, study of Jain scriptures and vital grasp of the need
to attain self-control and self restraint which alone could be
instrumental in victory over one’s inner self and release of
tremendous soul energy for the good of oneself as well as for the
good and happiness of others.
That is how I came to write this book from those inspiring gist of
the letters dating back a sixtees and continuing since to the
present times. I read them once, read them again and again. It
was like reading Jain scriptures. Everytime I ‘experienced’ a
delightful directness, an awareness full of soul-power, a feeling
of greatefulness at having been able to come so close to the
deeply humanitarian and compassionate philosophy of Jainism, and a
desire to become a better Jain.
American and European students have also taken an integrated view
of the value of tenets of Jainism in terms of spreading peace,
love, truth and feeling of brotherhood in this world which is
otherwise so full of agony, hatred, mistrust suspicion,
separatism, conflicts, terrorism and violence.
The letters are so genuine, so Since and so naturally written that
they not only catch your imagination but hold you enthralled with
delight, admiration and elation. I have not met all of the
writers, but I feel as though I Know them so well.
All these and many more have opened their hearts to the philosophy
of respect for life, have accepted the logic, reasoning and
rationality of anekantavad, have gained insight into the
implications and justifications for aparigraha (non-attachment and
non-possessiveness) and have committed to non-violence, truth and
the reality of equality of souls.
One needs to see and admire their enthusiasm; one needs to observe
and emulate their sincerity; one needs to be as inquisitive about
unravelling the truth about life and universe. The candle of
their faith is burning bright, their universe. The candle of
their faith is burning bright, their commitment is exemplary,
their involvement is infectious.
have been a born Jain; but after reading these letters and
grasping the spirit and the inspiration behind them, I feel like
‘a Jain reborn.’ I do hope Indian Jains residing in India and
abroad would feel the same way, and draw the inspiration from our
new friends for renewed commitment to the principles of Jainism in
thought, expression and action.
have taken Gurudev’s blessings to write this book. I do not lay
any claim to originality in it. The originality stems from the
minds and hearts of Americans and Europeans who have made a very
deep impression on my heart and soul.
million thanks to them to allow me to wander about in their
heart-land and to unfathom their spiritual urge and upsurge. May
they all move steadily towards greater and greater enlightenment,
expanding vistas of awareness and comprehension,
non-possessiveness in thought and deed, and relativity in
thinking. May they ever-deepen their spiritual awareness, feeling
of oneness with life in all forms and understanding the