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.
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.
This is the beginning of a new day. My good fortune has given me this day to use
as I will. I can waste it or use it for good.
What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When
tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its path something that
I have traded.
I want that to be gain, not loss; good, not evil; success, not failure; so that
I shall not regret the price I have paid for it.