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Saturday, 21st October 2017
 

JAIN FESTIVAL - DAY TWO

A mother and son conducting their morning puja at the Jain temple in Kenton, Harrow

JAIN FESTIVAL : DAY TWO - RISK AND RETURN

Thank you for all your messages of support and encouragement. This helps my fast become easier.

I woke up this morning feeling weak. I also have a dry mouth. Having fasted many times before, I know what to expect, and understand that these phases will pass. Fasting never kills, it simply tests your willpower. It is a contest between the body and the soul. All our lives, we indulge in the body and ignore the soul. During fasting, you deny the body and hence purify the soul, say the Jains. And this is why it is auspicious – not only is it a detox of the body, it is an upliftment of the spirit.

Yesterday in the lectures, we heard the true story of an advocate in Mumbai, Lalit Jain, who worked very heard to stop illegal slaughter of animals, and was often threatened by the hooligans. He knew this risk, but felt that as an advocate and a Jain, it was his duty to prevent violence on animals. Sadly, he was shot dead recently in broad daylight, on his way to work. He could of course easily have become a ‘normal’ lawyer and earn a very good living from property and contract law, but he chose to fight against injustice. He took big risks for truth and justice.

I can relate to this story because I too have ‘dared to be different’. I too have taken many risks with my life and career for the sake of truth and justice. The entire focus of Diverse Ethics is to enable organisations to connect to their inner soul, and not deny it in the pursuit of profit. If they awaken their conscience, they will not need to have a ‘corporate social responsibility’ department, or a separate ‘charitable foundation’ – they will simply do this as a natural act and a duty, instead of being greedy with one hand, and throwing a few pennies (often with strings attached) with the other. Also they would not want to suppress their employees cultures and identity, and instead support them in being honest and virtuous. Sadly, very few organisations have the courage to face up to their own soul. And they are so obsessed by growth and profits that fasting is a complete no-no. This needs to change if we are to build and sustain a peaceful world.

We had a youth session yesterday, led by Jinay Shah. Interestingly, the most popular topic they chose was ‘World Problems and Jain Solutions’. Young people are seriously concerned about the world, and their own future within it. I know in our own community, the leadership qualities and capabilities of this group is very unique and admirable. In fact, I feel that we need to skip a whole generation and make these young people community leaders, and work under their wings. This will bring a real burst of fresh energy and dynamism in the community. Perhaps the world needs to do the same?

Back to my fast. My hunger reminds me of my sacrifice every moment, and that is no bad thing. It is good to sacrifice. It builds inner strength. It increases resolve. I have to discipline my thinking away from food and drink, and towards purpose and enlightenment. Fortunately, I have a lot of support from my family and community in doing this, and from you, my daily readers and followers.

Dr. Atul K. Shah, Director, Diverse Ethics

Article added on 5th September 2010 at 7:20am
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JAIN FESTIVAL - DAY 1 - Atul Shah describes the first day of his Jain festival.

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Social Cohesion - A Jain Perspective - by Dr. Aidan Rankin and Dr. Atul Shah was published in 2008