Sunday, May 28, 2017


Though I started "JAIN ENLIGHTENMENT: A COSMIC WAY OF LIFE" some time ago and  today own over 100 hours of incredible digital video.  Research showed over 99% of Westerners have never heard of Jains, they see it as another section of Hinduism. The other 1% belong to other Asian and Buddhist faiths and have read about Jainism and again believe it is part of being a Hindu.

To capture the imagination of the Western mind set - we will have a blond, blue-eyed American host visiting Palitana who discovers for himself/herself: "Who Are Jains, What is Jain Dharma and Why Ahimsa, Anekant and Aparagraph are the three major principles and the essence of Jain scientific philosophy - factors that are so important for the world today ...

After filmimg beautiful sunrise film footage ... the American host visitor stands spell-bound on the hill below Palitana trying to explain: "All sacred religious sites in the world - churches, mosques, gurdwaras and temples celebrate a theme, a form, a story, a legend, an episode of life through the beauty of design, forms, sculptures and archecture. The grace of Jain temples is so unique that it is compellingly complex ... Aesthetically speaking, Jain temples are perfection in designs and archectures ... They are a part of world heritage."... Few sacred places can match the grace, the setting, the rapture of elegance, of Jain sculptures ... offering a personal experience, at once inspiring and uplifting in search of the Divine ...

Every pilgrimage is the sense of the sacred. Every pilgrimage brings that which is sublime and noble in human nature.
This Jain pilgrimage is like no other ... It is rooted in a wise understanding and the affirmation of nature. And that is why it is an invitation to transcend ..
The film: "PALITANA - City of Temples on the Hill" focuses on the architecture of Jain temples and concentrates on the particular uniqueness, partly because - most were built in ancient time during the affluence of Jains ... as rulers, Emperors of great Empires ...

They reflect the sense of exquisite beauty ... Of cultural refinement. Palitana is a majestic saga of "that which is truly poetic" in glorifying aesthetic style --


2. RELIGION OF THE FUTURE: Jainism is one of the least understood and propagated religion/philosophy because belongs to TODAY. Yes, it would lie on top of the Maslow's pyramid amongst other religions/systems and it also means that it is highly individualistic. "you are your only savior" is the underline ... There is no external sang, guru or miracle would save you ... Now this is a teaching for tomorrow, as the world is heading for highly INDIVIDUALISTIC society.

3. THINKING IS BEING: You become what you think repeatedly. Jains' mantra NAMO SIDDHANAM ... salutes all the human and beings with a soul who have attained siddhi. It simply means that by repeatedly thinking of great souls, you become like them. This is also reflected in Chaandogya Upanishad. I would name it as World's simplest principle of achieving greatness.

4. SIMPLICITY & SUSTAINABILITY: Jain values of vegetarianism, simple living, non-violence have a deep 'Systems thinking' towards universe. The great SUSTAINABILITY debate that western countries have started, is built to the very foundation in Jainism. There is a need to reinterpret this live-and-let live-thinking from Jainism and modernism perspective.

5. SECRET of WEALTH: Why are Jains successful businessmen around the world ? This alone is a message for the World.  How do they get the intellect and drive to be on top of the most fields they have chosen as careers ? It does connect to fundamental value systems which by now would have brought about genetic changes.

Hope these realities will help in further understanding Jain Dharma.

From the moment I started this film project, I was told you are working on a great project. There is a need to bring Jainism in modern perspective and rationale of the 21st millennium - which has been missing from the ritualistic and ancient articulation the gurus have been preaching. Let me know what help would you need from me, I would be happy to associate on this project.

'JAIN ENLIGHTENMENT' TV SERIES



Filmmaker Vinanti Sarkar is to produce a TV series for mainstream America on Ahimsa (Non-Violence), Forgiveness and Peace in Jainism.

After six weeks traveling across India filming exclusive interviews with Jain experts, scholars and eminent figures, Sarkar arrived on Diwali (Festival of Lights) to celebrate the auspicious night when Mahaveeraji's purified soul left the body and achieved complete liberation in a cave in 527 B.C. Although many Americans have heard of 'nirvana,' signifying the release of the soul from this earthly life, not many know the story of the 24 Tirthankas who received 'moksha' as siddhas, gaining pure consciousness, as liberated souls.


As part of her spiritual sojourn, she discovered the magnificent treasures of Annasagar Lake Temple in Ajmeer, and the newly constructed outer space-like Digambar temple site on her way back from the Pushkar Fair. A car ride brought her to Ranakpur where filming continued by sunset and sunrise and then on to Mt. Abu. Vinanti recalled: "For some unknown reason, there was no sign of any fears, no negative or petty vibes, as I was inspired daily by divine inner strength to overcome any obstacles. Doors opened for filming the most sacred chambers in the temples."


Invited by N.K. Sethi, she flew to Shravanbelgola in Karnataka State. After climbing the mountain steps, she was greeted by the 17.38 meter high monolithic stone statue of the Bhagwan Gomateshwara Bahubali, considered the world's largest. For three days she filmed colorful dances relating to the life story of Bahubali by exquisite young dancers.


Attending the Women's Conference in Karanataka, Sarkar interviewed Dr. Sunita Jain, the 2004 Padmashree for Hindi literature and talked with many Jain women from social workers, teachers to prominent writers.


It was during the trip from Ahmedabad to Palitana, where she found herself completely alone on the rugged road at night two hours away from the sacred site. Determined to join the pilgrimage up the steps at 5 a.m. she risked hiring a scooter rickshaw and was able to film the historical grandeur of the ancient Palitana temples displayed in magnificent splendor during sunrise. Within the next twenty four hours, she found herself walking in the ancient Jain temples at Ellora.


The first film: 'In Search of the saintly Lord Bahubali' will be released after the grand head anointing ceremony especially during the auspicious days from 8 - 18 February, 2006, (Festival of Mahamastak Abhishek is held once every 12 years).

 

"JAIN ENLIGHTENMENT" FILM-MAKER TO PRODUCE SERIES FOR WORLDWIDE TV NETWORKS -



After six weeks traveling across India filming exclusive interviews with Jain experts, scholars and eminent figures like Sri Charukeerthi Bhattarakha Maharaj, Archarya Mahapragya, Rashmi Durlabji, N. K. Sethi, Vivak Jain Kala, D. R. Mehta, Surendra Bothara, Dr. S. L. Gandhi, Kamal Kumar Barjatiya, etc., filmmaker Vinanti Sarkar started with Mahaveerji’s Temple in Jaipur.

She arrived on Diwali to celebrate the auspicious night when Mahaveeraji’s purified soul left the body and achieved complete liberation in a cave in 527 B.C. Although many Americans have heard of "nirvana," signifying the release of the soul from this earthly life, how many people know the story of the 24 Tirthankas who received "moksha" as siddhas, gaining pure consciousness, as liberated souls ?


As part of this spiritual sojourn, she discovered the magnificent treasures of Annasagar Lake Temple in Ajmer, and the newly constructed outer space-like Digambar temple site on her way back from the Pushkar Fair.


A car ride brought her to Ranakpur where filming continued by sunset and sunrise and then on to Mt. Abu. Vinanti recalled: "For some unknown reason, there was no sign of any fears, no negative or petty vibes, as I was inspired daily by divine inner strength to overcome any obstacles. Doors opened for filming the most sacred chambers in the temples."
 

Invited by N.K. Sethi, she flew to Shravanbelgola in Karnatika State to attend the Women’s Conference, and stayed at the VIP Guest House. After climbing the mountain steps, she was greeted by the 17.38 meter high monolithic stone statue of the Bhagwan Gomateshwara Bahubali, considered the world's largest. For three days she filmed colorful dances relating to the life story of Bahubali by exquisite young dancers.

She then went to Palitana and was able to film the historical grandeur of the ancient temples displayed in magnificent splendor during sunrise. Within the next twenty four hours, she found herself walking in the ancient Jain temples at Ellora. While at Delhi, she was granted two hour film interview with Mrs. Indu Jain, Chairman of Times of India.Courtesy: Pankaz Chandmal Hingarh

 
“JAIN ENLIGHTENMENT” INVITES FRENCH ACTRESS ONDINE VERGES
TO ATTEND MAHAMASTHAKABHISHEKA –
TO PRODUCE FIRST FILM “IN SEARCH OF LORD BAHUBALI”


After 6-weeks of R & D and location filming “JAIN ENLIGHTENMENT – A Way of Life” (over 90 hrs of film footage) from the festival of Diwali in November to mid-December, a second three weeks trip was required to film the Mahamasthakabhisheka celebrations (over 20 hrs of film), in Shravanbelgola, State of Karnataka, during February 8-11.

Unfortunately, film footage from Kirit Mehta, ASAATHA TV and Kamal Kumar Barjatiya, Rajshree Pictures, dated back to 1993 and 1980s, so to do justice to the first project: “In Search of Lord Bahubali,” the Jain Enlightenment crew flew to India to record their own spectacular film footage.

Returning to New York, the target is to raise funds for the final professional editing with special effects, and produce a 56 min film for US and worldwide TV, to premiere during Mahavir Jayanti in April. A short edit of 3 minutes can be reviewed on the website: www.jain-enlightenment.org. It offers a direct appeal to Jains in America and worldwide to invest ($500 to $1000) and be part of educating North and South America and EU about Jain Dharma. Contact and Donate to Jain Enlightenment, C/o Filmmaker Vinanti Sarkar, 425 East 51st Street, Suite 7E, New York, NY 10022, USA. Tel/Fax: 212-759-4568. Email: globalfilmlinks2011@verizon.net

Ondine Verges’ Personal Yatra

On day three of the Mahamasthakabhisheka, atop the Vindhyagiri hill, a special visitor, 18-years-old French actress Ondine Verges caught the attention of thousands of devotees, and became the object of many curious eyes, especially as she braved the blazing heat of the sun and participated in the religious ritual ceremony. She spent over four hours, in the scorching sun, at times, under straw mats, without drinking water but mesmerized with everything and everyone around her.

Surrounded by the global media, she confessed: "This fascinating trip to Shravanbelgola, via Paris to Mumbai/Bangalore, was at the invitation by New York filmmaker Vinanti Sarkar, director/producer of the JAIN ENLIGHTENMENT film/TV series. Knowing English, French and Spanish, I was invited to host and anchor the first film on Lord Bahubali, which will be produced in the popular “Reality TV" programming format for U.S. and worldwide television networks.

Ondine has acted in number of French independent films, docu-dramas and children’s movies. She is known for her acting in "Faux Amis", a French movie, which narrates the story of how keeping bad companions can totally spoil the lives of young teenagers.

“People in West know only about the Statue of Liberty in New York. I will explain to them, the incredible story of Bahubali, performed in colorful charm by exquisite young children dancers from the ages of 5-15. Why should only the people in India know and learn about this great sage of true penance and the first man to attained moksha. I have heard of "Nirvana" which is in tune with moksha. There are so many lessons to be learned by viewers in West through the times and life of Lord Bahubali,” she added.

"This is my fourth visit to India, but this is my very first trip to Shravanbelgola. I am sure, I will come back to this pilgrim village, though today, it looks like a small town now with all these thousands and thousands of pilgrims. I plan to return in the next 12 years, which dates 2018,” she added, smiling to herself, “with my husband and children, I suppose. Twelve years is a long time !”

“I am here to know more about the ancient Jain culture and philosophy, while exploring this festival – celebrated once every 12 years. I am sure, this Mahamasthakabhisheka will remain a life time memory for me,” Ondine Verges, told media journalists (Times of India, Indian Express, Jain Samachar, etc.). She interviewed young Jains of her own age and talked with writers and scholars, in order to understand in more detail what was really happening.

“This film will celebrate the story of Lord Bahubali who propagates a life of penance, non violence, peace and brotherhood. There is so much we can teach the world about Jain Dharma. For me, understanding the significance of this ritual became important. What I learned was that this granite stone sculpture symbolizes renunciation, self-control and subjugation of the ego as the first steps towards spiritual salvation. Bahubali’s life is a testimony that non violence and renunciation hold the key to peace and prosperity in today’s world.”

Invited to accompany the priests and devotees, Ondine climbed the special wooden scaffolding behind the giant sculpture, where she was transformed to become one pot holder and anointed the statue with water. She was explained the religious significance of the 108 jal kalasha (pots) being poured on Bahubali by devotees from around the world.

"First, I stood high above the sea of humanity, stunned at the rapture and excitement as I became part of the riot of colors and exoticism associated with this religious ceremony that held me spellbound. I watched the cascading of milk, sugarcane juice, tender coconut water, rice flower acting like mist, herbs, turmeric, sandal paste, saffron, vermilion and different varieties of ashwagandha, precious stones and 52 assortment of flowers from around the world.”

“Next, I found myself standing below - at the feet of the spectacular ever-changing colors of the 58 ft tall monolithic grey colored granite statue of Lord Bahubali. It was a breathless experience admiring the anointing ceremony of the 1,024 years-old statue being bathed by devotees, as his body was enveloped and transformed into dazzling snowy white (milk/coconut and rice flower), to golden-yellow, sandalwood mahogany and bleeding red (saffron), whose benign smile seemed appreciative of the event.”

“It was a magnificent sight, as I stood belittled in front of the world’s tallest ‘monk on the hill.’ Someone explained that the statue was erected in the Kayotsarga pose, arms dangling free and I became fascinated by his changing benign look and smile.” Later, Odine learned that over 1,000 litres of milk, 3,000 litres of water, 250 kilograms of turmeric and sandal wood were used to keep the enchantment of changing colors, much to the awe of the world media that had gathered to document the proceedings, nearly 200 strong !

“I was repeatedly told ‘Bahubali’s image signifies the teachings of Ahimsa as the solution for all ills in this world.’ As we looked around, I was shown devotees cutting across different religious beliefs and sects: Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, etc. who felt blessed at the feet of Lord Bahubali, transforming the ceremony into a great unifier. The rite of the sacred bath occupies an important place in Hindu religious practice, as it does in Buddhist and Jain dharma.


Bahubali’s nude form represents complete victory over earthly desire that hampers one’s spiritual ascent towards the divine. His life is a testimony that non violence and renunciation hold the key to peace and prosperity in today’s world.”

“A young Jain I befriended explained that the festivity represented the “awakening vision” which encourages faith and motivates efforts to emulate Jains in the hope of achieving similar omniscience, purity and bliss. This in turn awakens a deep longing for true insight and knowledge.”

One gentleman explained: It is a very important step to overcoming passions, such as desire, hatred, pride, anger and greed – they all stem from partial one-sided understanding of things presumed to be the whole truth. How many times have we embarrassingly realized the inappropriateness of our anger, jealousy, pride, or greed when we came to see the "full picture"?

Another woman emphasized: Greed for money vanishes when it is understood that money can’t buy health, friends or happiness. Excessive pride gives way to humility when we come to appreciate the wonderful qualities and accomplishments of others Anger and hatred disappear when we realize that other objects, situations, or persons are no threat to us. To the extent that we appreciate that the knowledge from which the destructive passions arise is partial, we are encouraged to restrain ourselves until our understanding increases.