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The Jain Philosophy

The Jain Philosophy
Item Code: NAT933
Author: Virchand R. Gandhi
Publisher: World Jain Confederation, Mumbai
Language: ENGLISH
Edition: 2009
Pages: 288
Other Details: 9.00 X 6.00 inch
weight of the book: 0.49 kg
About the Book

The volume ‘Jain Philosophy’ by Virchand Gandhi was published ten years after his death. A thinker and a philosopher, an orator par excellence, Virchand Gandhi was the first exponent of Jain Philosophy in the western world. The volume of Jain Philosophy reflects his unbounded love for and faith in Indian culture and his ire against the nefarious practice of proselytisation in India. His exposition of the tenets and principles of Jainism is in-depth and in a style which is so lucid. He was well-versed not only in Jain philosophy but in philosophy of other religions too. Yoga, Psychology, Science of food and nutrition are other areas in which he delved and spoke about them with authority. He has succeeded eminently in projecting a vivid picture of real India, with its rich cultural and spiritual heritage, the ethical lives of the people of India, its industrial progress and the Indian womanhood. He, therefore, comes across as a true representative of India in all its menifestations.

Shri Virchand Raghavji Gandhi (1864-1901) made his indelible mark not only as an ardent and committed champion of the vital concerns facing the Jaina community in India, but even more significantly as a distinguished exponent of Jaina religion and philosophy in particular and Indian philosophy and culture in general in the Christianity centered Western World. And all this in a short life span of 37 years only.

His great moment of being ushered into the global limelight was the historic first ever Parliament of World’s Religions at Chicago (U.S.A.) in 1893. He was deputed by reverend Jaina Monk Acharya Atmanandji to attend on his behalf as a pioneer flag-bearer of Jaina religion outside the borders of India.

Virchandbhai lived up to the confidence of the Jaina monk. At the age of 29, he articulated most persuasively and cogently the fundamental theories and principles of Jaina religion, its philosophical perceptions and its ethical dimensions. And this he did in the context of Jaina phitosophy’s integrated perception of Ahimsa, Aparigraha and Anekant in perception (Darshan), knowledge (Gyan) and conduct (Charitra).

Beginning with his scintillating and soul-stirring speech in the Parliament and his subsequent interventions during the 17 Gays session, he was invited to deliver a series of speech on Jainism in Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington and other cities during his three years sojourn in U.S.A. On the return journey he was invited to deliver many speeches in London in U.K. It was his speech at the Parliament of World’s Religions that opened the gates of the western world unaware about the history, legacy, principles and philosophy of Jainism as one of the oldest religions of the world.

Chicago Daily Sun wrote on April 3 1894 :

"Mr. Virchand R. Gandhi who represented Jaina religion at the Parliament of Religions has been listened to by larger and more enthusiastic audience then any other oriental religion during and since the parliament". Reverend A White of Chicago considered him as one of the best equipped of the many scholarly men who represented the various religions of India at the Parliament. In an interview with St. Joseph Gazette on May 8, 1894 Rev. Pastor Addison Parker of laporte (Indiana), observed that Gandhi impressed him as one of the brainiest and most stirring of the representatives of the Far East.

Hon’ble Mame Marium Marie Snell succinctly summed up : "Virchand Raghavji Gandhi has brought home to the Western audience and the largely Christian world that there exist other oriental religions like Jainism which surpass in philosophical depth, rational and logical approach, ethical intensity and stress on integrating perceptions, thought and conduct in the day to day life behavior."

It has been the great fortune of the Jaina community that within 10 years of his passing away, Mr. Bhagu Karbhari, editor of 'The Jaina’ and the 'Patriot' of Bombay collected all the speeches and writings of Virchandbhai on the Jaina philosophy in U.S.A. and U.K. and published it with his preface in 1911.

Now 108 years after his demise and 116 years after his impact creating speech at the Parliament of world’s religions World Jain Confederation (W.J.C.) is bringing on this fresh edition. We in the W.J.C. felt that the content cf Virchand Gandhi’s speeches would be as relevant in the 21* century as they were in the 19" century. Time has changed. Jaina religion has become increasingly globalized with the settling down of indian professionals and business persons first in South Africa and later in large number in U.S.A., Canada and U.K. Jaina temples and Sthanaks have came up in USA, Canada, UK, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand and a number of other countries.

Jainas abroad are not only following the traditions of Jaina religion but are also actively functioning as Jaina philosophy’s envoys at interfaith meetings and conferences, environment protection meetings and programs and conventions on non- violence and world peace.

Virchand Gandhi’s speeches lucidly elaborate with convincing logic,on the theoretical concepts of Jainism in respect of the existence of universe, the Jaina Karma philosophy and eternal nature of the soul in comparison to other religion. He has also analyzed the scientific, rational and logical base of Jaina philosophy. Above all, he has explained with the help of interesting stories and anecdotes the ethical dimensions of the Jaina philosophy and how they have formed the roots of India’s compassionate philosophy of tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

What is also of great interest is that Virchand Gandhi boldly endeavored to correct misconceptions and prejudices about Indian Culture as well as Hindu customs and traditions. He impressed western audience as a wise, broad minded, liberal hearted , spiritual person as well as a scholarly and well educated emissary of India’s age old heritage of non violence, compassion equanimity, fraternity and tolerance. .

The collected speeches and writings vividly bring him as a global citizen with universal perspective, an outstanding -Karmaveer’ as well as "Dharmaveer’ and above all he come as a charming personality with an brilliant and lustrous face, well chiseled physical bearing and eloquent voice. When the parliament of worlds religions was reconvened after a gap of 100 years at Chicago (USA) in 1993, had the privilege of being invited to address the Parliament, spoke on an universal reliance of Jaina religion in contemporary times. Jaina delegates comprised 25 representatives including prominent saints from all sects leading Jaina scholars and prominent community leaders. On this occasion, the everlasting contribution of Virchand Gandhi was highlighted and his statue was unveiled at the Jaina temple in Chicago.

It is most welcome that WJC is endeavouring to created awareness not only among Jainas but Indians in general about the historic role played by V. R. Gandhi for putting Jaina religion on the world stage and correcting and prejudices and misconceptions about Indian culture and philosophy in the western world.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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