Shravanabelagola, January 28, 2006: Jainism is the only religion that recognizes women have equal rights as men and provides canonized (dharmic) protection to the same. But, evils such as destruction of female foetus are plaguing even the Jain community today and corrective measures in the form of proper education in Jain value systems and
role of women need to be taken, said the speakers at the ‘Mathru Vandana’ programme held on Saturday as a part of the Mahamastakabhisheka Celebrations.
The Speakers, including leading scholars such as Mrs.Hanumakshi Gogi, Deputy Director Co-operatives, Hubli, and Dr. M S Padma, Chairman of the Post Department of Jainology, Mysore University, said though women have been accorded equal status in nearly all spheres, the contribution of women to the protection and preservation of Jain
culture and heritage has not been recognized enough. More publications need to be brought out highlighting the lives and deeds of various Jain sanyasinis who have donned various mantles dictated by the faith and Jain women who have proved their prowess in all other fields.
Conceding that essentially Jain women’s role was as a wife and a mother, the speakers pointed out that Jain Sanyasinis and women of Jain royal families have emerged equal to their male counterparts.
This has been recorded in history and the earliest written inscription of the deeds of the Sanyasinis is found in Shravanabelagola. While the first Teerthankara Adinantha himself led by example by educating his daughters Brahmi and Sundari, who in turn developed the script for Prakruth language, history is replete with examples of Jain Sanyasinis initiating others as munis, being philanthropic and encouraging philanthropy, and building temples. Jain women have excelled themselves in all other spheres of life too, be it art, culture or literature, they said.
Inaugurating the Sammelan Ms. Shobha Vimukthakumar, Chairperson of the All India Jain Women’s Sammelan, said the meet was very relevant and the challenges faced by women need to be given proper focus through such meets.
Ms. Manjula Abhaya Chandra Jain, wife of Karnataka Legislative Assembly Chief Whip Abhaya Chandra, who presided reminded the delegates of the age old saying that home is the first school for a child and added this was very true in terms of the over all development of a child, especially in the spheres of ethics and values. She warned that if mothers fail, nobody else could succeed. She also lauded the role of Jain sanyasinis in being a bridge between the monks and the society.
Releasing a souvenir brought out on the occasion, Ms. Usha Bahubali Kumar of Kerala said the role of Kalaladevi in getting Chavundaraya to sculpt Bahubali was immense and added that all women should hold their maternal values and instincts with pride.
Aryika 105 Surathamathi Mataji warned the women against falling into the fast track lane without heeding to time tested covenants on feminity, female body and the role of women in society, proven both by science and faith across cultures.
Chief Guest Mrs. Bouridevi Bhandari, who released by Jalaja Jain’s book ‘Sadachara’, translation of a Hindi work ‘Nari Bano Sadachari’, by Arika 105 Vishudhamati, said women should accept their role in society with responsibility and aid in protection of values.
Jagaduguru Karmayogi Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamji graced the occasion. MMC06 Working President Mr. A R Nirmal Kumar delivered the introductory address. Ms. Shanta Sanmathikumar, Sammelan Convener welcomed.
In the Acharya Vandana programme that preceded, Acharya 108 Vardhamana Sagar Muni Maharaj, Acharya 108 Sanmathisagar Muni Maharaj, Acharya 108 Kushagrinandi Muni Maharaj and Acharya 108 Thapasagar Muni Maharaj, spoke on the role of women as the backbone of Jain culture and added it was their responsibility to ensure that the values enshrined in Jainism was carried forward. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service (JHCNS)