14th Biennial JAINA Convention 2007 - PressReview - JAINA Convention Summary

Posted: 24.07.2007
Updated on: 23.03.2017

JAINA Convention 2007
Federation of Jain Associations In North America



Convention with Many Firsts

After 25 years this was the first convention designed and produced by JAINA with the help of many Sanghs. Almost 6,000 people attended the JAINA Convention reversing recent trend of declining attendance. The convention board was chosen from all over North America - from Toronto to California – people with years of Convention experience worked for 18 months to produce this convention. Dhrumil Purohit, Co Chair of YJA was also included in the convention board so that the planning for the entire convention always included youth perspective. Registration was handled by Toronto Sangh; Food was served by Jain Center of America (NY), Scholar invitation was handled by Washington Sangh, Jain center of Connecticut helped the scholars, Jain Center of NJ gave us volunteers, Cherry Hill Jain Sangh produced the Beautiful souvenir and the program book.

The collaborative effort of various Sanghs and pathshals was the hall mark of this convention. This convention was also carefully designed to be more religious than any previous convention Thursday, the first day of the convention was most inspiring day. Dev Guru Shastra Pooja, Parswa Padmavati Poojan, Pathshala Teacher's conference, opening of the Ashtapad & Three Chovishis exhibition and Ashirvachan of our monks and scholars set the right religious tone of the entire convention. Samovsaran – the greatest peace assembly in the history of the universe was the running theme of the convention. Samovsaran Rangoli exhibition opened on Friday afternoon. Friday evening musical "SAMOVSARAN" wherein 130 children from six different pathshals choreographed by Divya Jain of NJ and presented by Veeraytan won 10 minute standing ovation of every one in the auditorium.. Rangoli exhibition was so stunningly beautiful that some visitors went back five times to get another perspective., a 5' x 8' model of Samovsaran by Cherry Hill Jain Sangh pathshala students and cover design of the program book all were the reminder of Mahvir's last sermon.

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Famous German photographer Thomas Dix lent his photographs of Ranakpur and Abu Temples to decorate the hall with. Huge prints of his work adorned the walls, ceilings and the stage of the main hall creating a pious ambiance. Many of the prints used in decorating the hall were purchased by attendees. Programming committee team under the leadership of Nitin Talsania made the entire convention experience pleasant. Under his leadership, facilities committee headed by Varshaben Mehta created a Ranakpur Temple ambiance in the main hall and Himanshu Shah provided superb audio video services beyond expectations as studio quality sound was produced in such a large hall – a miracle indeed!

"TATWARTHA SUTRA" a book by Manubhai Doshi of Chicago and published by JAINA was inaugurated at this convention by Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji and a copy was included in every registration bag. Educations Committee's E book project – a 2 DVD set consisting of 250,000 pages of Jain literature and Long Range planning Committee's hand book of "Jain Way of Life" were inaugurated by Sri Dayanad Sarswati and Dr. Dipak Jain respectively. More than 1,500 JAINA E-BOOK DVDs were sold.

Final round of JAIN ACADEMIC BOWL was attended by 800 parents. Moderator of the Final round Muni Sri Jin Chandraji and Dr. Bipin Doshi complemented the JAB team of Education Committee and JAINA for their effort in creating new young Jain scholars in North America

The Convention entrance was beautifully decorated and included symbols of many religions to project the theme 'Peace through Dialogue'. Interfaith participants from several institutions toured the convention on Saturday and attended many sessions. A statue of Lord Mahavir that adorned the main stage for four days was gifted to the Monmouth Center of World Religions and Ethical Thought.

A symposium on 'Communicating Jainism' in the American Society generated a chain of questions from youth and yielded five volunteers. The women's forum packed with participants included four multi-faith women leaders on its panel. Numerous Jains witnessed the Kesh Lochan ceremony of Mata Shubhamati.

JNF (Jain Network Forum) and other youth activities for about 1500 young Jains took place in Holiday Inn and Magic Touch workshop for children age 5- 11 was organized by Shivani Mehta and Chaitali Malde in the main hall.

A keepsake Souvenir with contribution from many scholars and beautiful program book helped conventioneers plan their days through the maze of multiple activities in various locations. Many visitors were able to take advantage of Bus tours to the Temples of New York and Siddhachalam.

It was announced that 2009 JAINA Convention will be in Los Angeles area.


Scores of speakers – Keynote address of Sri Sri Ravishankar and Sadhwi shri Shilapiji, inspirational speeches of Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji, Dr. L M Singhavi, Pujya Shri Rakeshbhai Jhaveri, Acharya Shri Chandanaji, Swami Chidanand Sarswati, Dr. P Jayraman, Prof Nalin Shastree, Samanji Shrut Pragya Swamiji, Samani Mangal Pragyaji, Padm Shri Kumarpal Desai, Dr. Sudhir Shah, Sri Dayanad Sarswati, Baba Ramdevji, Dr N P Jain, Mataji Subhamati, Chandrakant Mehta, Tarlaben Doshi, Pandit Dhirtubhai Mehta, Bhattarak Charukeertiji of Moodbidri, and many many more were the real stars of the convention.

Tapaswi Darshanaben from Ahemdabad – lifted everyone's spirit as she keeps performing her Tapsharya Attham followed by Aymbil followed by Attham …) for the past 14 years to win back control of Samet Shikhar Teerth to Jains from the meddling hands of the Government.

There were so many lectures and seminars on topics such as Jeevdaya, Jain rituals, Jain Diet, Jain Philosophy and Jain literature that four days seemed to pass as quickly as a sweet dream. Sunday had a record breaking 3,000 + crowd (a record for the closing day of the convention) in anticipation of Dr. Dipak Jain's speech. They were handsomely rewarded as Dipak Jain talked about ethics, values and leadership through Jain perspective.


More than 100 gemstone idols - three Chovishis – Past Present & Future with Ashtapad replica in natural crystal and three mini Chovishi (Emerald, crystal and assorted gemstones) was the main attraction of the convention. Literature on the research work being done on Ashtapad was also made available.

Another major attraction at this convention was a 16' x 20' Rangoli by 5 artists from Kenya who flew in specially to create an amazing "SAMOVSARAN" The Rangoli team was headed by Reshmaben Shah and they worked day & night to bring this masterful display of devotion. They carried with them 200 Kgs of marble powder in 500 different shades and colors that produced a three dimensional effect with nearly 100 figures - never before seen in USA.

Many Jain Artistsof North America: Alka Dalal, Surbhi Pandya, Mahendra Shah, Shefali Ajmera, Chandu Desai, Sudhir Shah and Yogendra Sethi also displayed their art work on the convention floor. The entire artist gallery was displaying various themes of our spiritual heritage.


More than 160 children from 7 different Pathshalas gave mesmerizing performances. Boston Pathshala gave a musical play on 5 Kalyanaks of Bhagwan Rishabh Dev and Jain Center of America (New York) gave us another musical play ASHTAPARIHARYA. These two Pathshala performances on Saturday evening won every heart in the auditorium.

Every convention before this one had an evening of competition of various Pathshala Children and a trophy was awarded to the winning Pathshala. This year we retired the trophy. Instead of competition, we offered collaboration of various pathshalas to give us a musical play "SAMOVSARAN" that was produced by Veeraytan. Sadhwi Shri Shilapiji explained 36 gathas from UTTARADHYAN SUTRA as children danced to the original melodious composition of sutras in Prakrit. ……….Singing was by Ashit Desai / Hema Desai, Alap Desai of Bombay and Mangalam.

Apurva Avsar the play on life of Shrimad Rajchandra was the prime offering on Thursday evening. That mesmerized the audience for more than 2 hours.

Bollywood star Sanjivanee gave a melodious performance of MEERA - the supreme example of Bhakti – Devotion … and later sentimental songs from 40's and 50's mixed with some modern songs…..


JAINA inaugurated the first ever forum on JAIN DIASPORA at 14th JAINA convention held in Edison, NJ on saturday,July 7th 2007.

Dr.L.M.Singhavi chaired with Acharya Chandanaji, Ambassador Dr.N.P.Jain and Padma shree Kumarpal Desai co-chairing. Dr. Dhiraj Shah, former president of JAINA moderated the meeting. Among the 150 who participated in the seminar were Delegates from Belgium, Canada, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Germany, Singapore, Dubai., United Kingdom and U.S.A. Dr.Singhavi stressed the need for such a forum and congratulated JAINA for taking a leadership role in fostering Jain Unity in North America and now world wide. This kind of gathering can go long way and benefit Jain community world wide not only to present generation but generations to come.

It was decided that at every JAINA convention in the future, one day pre-convention seminar will be held on the subject and web bases discussion group will start very soon with views of Jain leaders from. The forum will be non-sectarian and non political.

This may be the most important "take away" of the convention. This forum intends to be voice of Jains around the world and initiate the actions to benefit Jain community anywhere.

Valliant Volunteers

Above all, it was the volunteers that delivered the most successful JAINA Convention ever. Food Committee, Registration Committee, Transportation committee, Program Committee and the Scholars committee volunteers working with TEAM NJ headed by Vinay Vakani and Virendra Shah of Jain Center of NJ gave scores and scores of dedicated volunteers. These volunteers worked 18 hours a day and gave service with the smile. Transportation arrangements between the convention center and hotels, to the Newark airport and to the Temples of New York and Siddhachalam were plentiful and smooth. No unhappy incident was reported anywhere on the convention floor in four days.

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