Born on July 26, 1922 in a small town of Rajasthan, India, Gurudev spent the first five years of his monastic life in silence and meditation (when he was 20 years old). With this experience, he realized that the ultimate purpose of all life is to expand one 's awareness and to liberate the consciousness from attachment and aversion. This enlightened spirit brought wisdom, and with lucid language and eloquent speech, he made a home within the hearts of millions all over India.
For five years he was moving in the woods, mountains and villages observing silence, fasting and meditation under the inspiring guidance of a Jain Acharya. After self-realization, he has been sharing his experiences to make people aware of their divine potentiality and their inherent freedom of choices, to make it or mar it. This teaching of compassionate living and of self-realization opened the door to the East and West: He was invited to address the Second Summit Conference in Geneva in 1970 and then the Third Spiritual Summit Conference, arranged by the Temple of Understanding series, at Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts,in October 11-12, 1971, where his message was so inspiring The Boston Globe in its write-up titled Jain Sect "A Saint" . . . said he was the hit speaker of the day . . . explaining basic tenets of his sects belief . . . and he does not try to convert anyone.
JAIN MASTER Gurudevji Chitrabhanuji was once asked, "What would you want if you could be granted one and only one wish?" "Right Vision" was his response."
He continued, "This universe in which we find ourselves is a vast home with more planets in our galaxy than there are people on earth. Of what significance can this small span of eighty, ninety or even one hundred years be in the midst of this vastness?" These were the questions coming to a young awakened mind whose purpose was to find some meaning to life. The quest for the answers inspired him to leave home to become a Jain monk.
In the same period, the successful nonviolent struggle for India’s independence, led by Mahatma Gandhi, awakened worldwide awareness of the power of Ahimsa Nonviolence - and left them wondering how to address the challenges of those times. It was a time when the West was still healing from wounds left by Hiroshima, the Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King assassinations, struggling with involvement in the subjugation of Vietnam, and in the terrorization in Cuba, the Mid-East and Iran. It was in these trying times that Gurudev Chitrabhanuji envisioned the role of Ahimsa in the world and accepted an invitation of the Second Spiritual Summit Conference in Geneva in 1970, becoming the first Jain master to come to the West. Jain monks are not allowed to travel by any means except by foot. (Accompanying him later in 1970 was a long-time student, Pramoda, whom he eventually married.)
Thereafter he addressed other leading institutions of learning, such as Princeton, Sarah Lawrence, Yale, Cornell and State University of New York. He is the founder and advisor to the Jain Meditation International Center in New York City, a spiritual guide of 67 Jain Centers in North America under JAINA, and of other centers in England, Africa, Japan (Kobe), Singapore, Dubai and India. He is a world-renowned author of over twenty-five books which reflect his philosophy of world peace and nonviolence, emphasizing the need to appreciate the sanctity of ALL life and to build solidarity in the larger family of mankind.
Gurudev's schedule of lectures and events during the summer when he is in America include talks on certain Wednesdays in New York City and on weekends at various centers and institutions throughout the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. He speaks directly to the problems and frustrations of a complicated and materialistic society in lucid language and eloquent speech. A favorite quote is:
"What our hands do
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