13.02.2013 ►Tapra ►Meet of the Awardees and Dinner

Published: 13.05.2013
Updated: 02.07.2015

Being on the way in India, it may occur that the quantity of experiences changes the sense of time in terms of measurability and bygone already. Time on this day had stretched for me to an unexpected length, from present to present, from situation to situation. Everywhere there was to discover something, in the landscape, on the road, in a village. This string of small shatters of present was melting into a living whole filling my inner with deep joy. Near to surprise, I noticed to have reached Tapra already, and at the same time finally. This magic-kiddy experience of present made me assume for a short moment to be arrived in the morning with the greatest part of the day ahead.

But it was not like this. Hardly descended from 3-wheeler, Swami Dharmanandji rushed to us and exclaimed, “Finally you have arrived!” Why finally? It was short after 15:00h in the afternoon. But not early afternoon, ok. But this was not the reason. Unexpectedly it had been announced that on the day before the awards would be handed over, an afternoon session for all awardees with dinner thereafter would take place, in other words, this afternoon. “Please hurry, it will start immediately.” We hasted after Swami Dharmanandji into a big assembly tent, which had been erected besides the buildings where Acharya Mahashraman and the monks were accommodated.

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On the gents' side: Christian Geerdes (1st row r) und Swami Dharmanandji (1st row, 2nd r.)

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On the ladies' side: Carla Geerdes (1st row l)

The walls consisted of white drapery fixed on wooden frames. The ceiling was built of white cloud-like panels, also fixed on wooden frames, but lighter ones. This extemporaneous hall was only to admire. It was functionally and technically very well done. Even seats in form of white plastic chairs were there. All awardees had a sticker for themselves and their family members with their names and the event written on it. All awardees had been invited for this session. The audience persisted of nearby or farer dwelling people, as well as from all parts of the subcontinent. We were the only Europeans and did not know anybody except Swami Dharmanandji. This did not matter, as we got the impression that most of them did know us.

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v.l.: Babulal Surana, Bajrang Sethia, Binod Choraria, Hiralal Malu, Bimal Surana,?

These six nice gents are leading members of Jain Swetamber Terapanthi Mahasabha and had organised the afternoon session, taken care for mikes, loud speakers, and most of all provided the assembly hall. Further they had informed all who were concerned. After a short time they took seat on the podium and surveyed unobstructed sequence.

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Members of Mahasabha Organisation Commitees on the podium

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the photographer at work

Bimal Surana, photographer, Binod Choraria, Bajrang Sethia

The shiny blue colour of the huge poster with a picture of HH Acharya Mahashraman had a nice cooling effect and gave a nearly transcendental outlook to the podium. This was very useful, as the blazing sun since that morning had shined directly on the white drapery. It had worked hard to make the audience transpire. There was no breeze, but it seemed as if most of the people were used to this. Only that I had started somehow like floating and some difficulties to concentrate. An unreal coenaesthesia was spreading in my body. Unfortunately I did not have something to drink with me, which should be a must when travelling in India because of the climate. But it’s easy to be wise afterwards.

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Kishanlal Dagalia - Mahasabha Vice-President - first speaker

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Hiralal Malu - Mahasabha President - second speaker

The first speaker apparently gave some principal explanations and reflections on the awards, and further gave all names of awardees. 252 people had been awarded in 2012, two of them, another lay follower and me, were granted the spiritual title of “Kalyan Mitra” (friend of spiritual welfare). When the speaker called the name of an awardee the latter got up and showed his face to the assembly. The audience then honoured this person by showing a gesture of approval in lifting the hands and turning them, accompanied only by a quietly murmured “Om Arham”. For spiritual gatherings clapping of hands is disapproved, as this gesture is seen as an expression of Himsa because of the hands’ beating gesture and the clapping sound.

The second speaker addressed me directly and said something about me, which I was not able to understand, as he was speaking Hindi. All looked approvingly at me, and the speech was finished with a wonderful “Thank you, Madam!” It really was a very special experience.

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Gathering is over

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View on gents' side

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View on ladies' side

Meanwhile everyone seemed a little bit exhausted because of the heat in the tent. After two hours we got up and went to a tent nearby. There was a wonderful buffet with delicious dishes, and a soft breeze! The tent was open, without wall like drapery. All of us dined together before sunset, like monks and nuns always do. For them it is not possible to take meals after sunset or to drink water. Voluntarily some lay followers are also observing this rule. It exists for different reasons. Two of them are: 1. After nightfall there cannot be seen very much and involuntarily small living beings (insects) might be swallowed with the food. 2. The digestive system is working at its best during the day; after sunset it is not working efficiently.

After dinner we were lucky and got a lift by car for Balotra. There we rather fell into bed. We were very tired, but very much looking forward to next afternoon 14:00h when the bestowal ceremony in the auspicious presence of HH Acharya Mahashraman was scheduled.

Sources
Photos by HN4U
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Mahashraman
  3. Arham
  4. Balotra
  5. Binod Choraria
  6. Body
  7. Carla Geerdes
  8. Christian Geerdes
  9. HN4U
  10. Himsa
  11. Hiralal Malu
  12. Jain Swetamber Terapanthi Mahasabha
  13. Kishanlal Dagalia
  14. Mahasabha
  15. Mahashraman
  16. Swami
  17. Tapra
  18. Terapanthi
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