Acharya Shri Tulsi has been sensitive to the changing times and has suggested new solutions to cope with modern problems. For example, in 1949, he launched a nationwide moral campaign against the increasing immorality through the Anuvrat Movement; In another very important contribution, Acharya Tusi paid attention to the field of meditation. Acharya Mahaprajna through his innovative research, revitalised the ancient form of Jain spiritual practice of meditation and renamed it as Preksha Dyhana, in which Jain philosophy is blended with modern scientific concepts. These innovations have resulted in a renaissance of the religious society. Science of Living (Jeevan Vigyana), Ahimsa Samavaya, etc. are also very important and new contributions of Terapanatha to the socio-religious field.
The Anuvrat Movement is a new movement for the development of moral values in day-to-day life. Acharya Shri Tulsi started it on 1 st March 1949 at Sardarshahar (Rajasthan). Anuvrat is free from discriminations in the name of caste, colour and creed or country. It never interferes with, but rather ignores, personal religious faith. Its goal is the development of personal and social morality through the adherence to a simple moral code of conduct. The code's rules and regulations are as follows:—
1. I will not willfully kill any innocent creature. • I will not commit suicide. • I will not commit foeticide.
2. I will not attack anybody. • I will not support aggression. • I will endeavour to bring about world peace and disarmament.
3. I will not take part in violent agitations or in any destructive activities.
4. I will believe in human unity, • I will not discriminate on the basis of caste, colour, sect etc., nor will I treat anyone as an untouchable.
5. I will practise religious tolerance. • I will not rouse sectarian frenzy.
6. I will observe rectitude in business and general behaviours. • I will not harm others in order to serve any ends. • I will not practise deceit.
7. I will set limits to the practice of continence and acquisition.
8. I will not resort to unethical practices in elections.
9. I will not encourage socially evil customs.
10.1 will lead a life free from addictions. • I will not use intoxicants like alcohol, hemp, heroin, tobacco etc.
11.1 will always be alert to the problem of keeping the environment pollution-free. • I will not cut down trees. • I will not waste water.
Acharya Shri Tulsi himself, as well as hundreds of his disciple-monks and-nuns, undertook journeys on foot throughout every part of India in order to propagate this code of conduct. As a result, a powerful atmosphere of morality and optimism was created throughout India and beyond. This movement has given birth to some general precepts: —
1. The observance of a moral code of conduct should take precedence over the observance of rituals in the field of religion.
2. Spirituality and ethics should take precedence over narrow sectarian norms, the former being more universal in character.
3. Practice of Dharma should not aim at attaining happiness in the life hereafter, but should be concerned with solving the present-day life problems which cause conflict and violence etc., in human relations.
Anuvrat is, in fact, a philosophy of life and the seed for religious revolution. It has, for instance, contributed much in solving the problems of castism and sectarianism. By following its basic values, an individual can lead a life of peace and can contribute to social betterment. Being influenced by this ideology of Anuvrat, Dr. Rajendra Prasad (The First President of India) said, "Acharya Shri Tulsi is performing an important work through the propagation of Anuvrat in our country. Everybody wishes for the success of Anuvrat Movement. If I am offered any post in this movement, I will like to accept it as 'its supporter'."
Preksha Dhyana (Perceptive Meditation):
There were two important aspects of the spiritual practice of Lord Mahavira, viz., austerity and meditation. We know from the Jain scriptures that meditation was an important part of Lord Mahavira's spiritual practices. Lord Mahavira's tradition of meditation continued for some time after attainment of Nirvana by him, but fell into oblivion gradually, leading to the erroneous but common assumption that meditation never constituted a part of the Jain ascetic path.
Acharya Shri Tulsi paid attention to undertake research in the field of this important practice and revitalize this extinct system of meditation, and hence, he gave directions to Muni Nathmalji (now Acharya Mahaprajnaji) to do this difficult task. For several years, Muni Nathmalji immersed himself completely in this work. By studying ancient scriptures, (with the materials that he discovered), he was able to develop a scientific system of meditation that he called Preksha Dhyana. Preksha means to 'see' or 'perceive' and Dhyana means concentration. Thus "Preksha Dhyana" means concentration on perception.
In the practice of Preksha Dhyana, a practitioner uses the method of relaxation and perception of breathing, body, psychic centers and psychic colours. For training in Preksha Dhyana, ten day-camps are organised. Hundreds of such camps have already been and they have been well attended. Many of the Sadhakas who have attended the camps feel Preksha Dhyana has had an enormous and positive impact on their lives. Through Preksha Dhyana many have been able to get rid of intoxicant abuse and have learned to contorl their passions and emotions. Preksha Dhyana has not only been propagated in India, but also in many countries abroad. Preksha Dhyana has very important application in the fields of health, education, corporate field, etc.
Jeevan Vigyan (Science of Living)
Jeevan Vigyan is an innovation in value-education started by Acharya Shri Tulsi. It was Vivekananda who maintained that spirituality and science should be correlated, and Acharya Vinoba Bhave also advocated the same view. Acharya Shri Tulsi and Acharya Shri Mahaprajna have gone one step further by putting their idea into practice with the development of Jeevan Vigyan. In Jeevan Vigyan, Anatomy, Physiology, Bio-chemistry, Psychology, Psychiatry, Sociology, Ecology etc., are amalgamated with Eastern Philosophy, Spirituality, Yoga and Theory of Karma. At the root of Jeevan Vigyan is the theme that there are four types of development necessary in education: —
1. Physical development 2. Intellectual development 3. Mental development 4. Emotional development
In majority of systems of education, only physical and intellectual development are emphasized on, whereas mental and emotional development are neglected. Thus Jeevan Vigyan insists that there should be a balance between intellectual and emotional development. The Government of Rajasthan took the initiative of introducing this programme into some of the schools with excellent results. Then, it has been adopted partly or fully by many other states, viz., Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Hariyana, Chatisgarh, Karnatak, Tamilnadu, Bihar, etc. It is an innovation in the field of education, but as a result of its tremendous success, it promises to be an enduring one.
Satnana : A New Category of Ascetics
In an effort to bring the ascetic order more in congruence with modern society and and its conditions, Acharya Shri Tulsi decided to create a class of mendicants, which would fall somewhere between the category of lay followers (Shravakas or Shravikas) and monks (Sadhus) or nuns (Sadhvis) with respect to renunciation. This category of Samanas and Samanis was established on 11 th Nov. 1980. Through the creation of this new cadre of 'semi-ascetics' well-trained in Jain philosophy and practising a life of almost complete renunciation, who can travel freely throughout India and abroad to spread the message of non-violence, a revolutionary change was brought about in the field of propagation of religion. This cadre has to renounce the worldly life and march on the path of spiritual development. It is exempt from some deportments of the Jani ascetics, such as, not to accept alms specially prepared for them, travailing on foot, uprooting hair from head and face, etc.. Since its inception, over two decades ago, this category has been tremendously successful in its mission both within and outside India. So far, more than 125 men and women have accepted this Samana initiation. Out of them, twenty five have been promoted to become initiated into the order of monks and nuns. At present, the number of Samanis is more than 100. Some boys and girls (and even a few foreigners) had taken Samana/Samani initiation for a specific and limited time. The progress of the Samana category is due to the successful leadership of Ganadhipati Tulsi and Acharya Shri Mahaprajnaji. Sadhvi Vishrut Vibhaji is specially deputed under Sadhvi Pramukha Kanak Prabhaji to look after the activities of Samanis.
Jain Vishva Bharti: An Academy of Oriental Learning:
The Jain Vishva Bharati was established in 1970, under the able guidance of Acharya Shri Tulsi. It is located at Ladnun, a small township of District Nagaur in Rajasthan. During the last there decades, this organisation has grown into a vast and beautiful tapovan. 31 It is full of greenery and gardens, amidst which several buildings for different activities have been constructed. The aim of this institution is to carry out different of activities related to non-violence and peace. It is one of the best achievements during the period of Acharya Shri Tulsi's leadership, being a central and vital institute for spiritual guidance as well as for the teaching of Jain philosophy and ethics. There are mainly seven types of activities. They are as follows:—
1. Education (Shiksha) Jain Vishva Bharti has made a considerable progress in the field of education. In addition to the Jain Vishva Bharti Institute (Deemed) University, a college by the name of Brahmi Vidya Pith exists for Mumuksu sisters and Samanis.
In addition, an English Medium school is run for children (by the name of Vimal Vidya Vihar to be renamed as Jai Tulsi Vidya Vihar). In 1991, the Jain Vishva Bharti Institute was recognised by the Central Government and U. G. C. as a deemed university. Mumuksu sisters, Samanas, Samanis, monks and nuns, after graduation from Brahmi Vidya Pith, carry on their further studies in this university. It is also open to the lay community. There are five teaching departments of Post-graduate-Studies, viz.,—
1. The Department of Jainology and Comparititive Studies of Philosophy and Religion.
2. The Deptt. of Prakrit and Agamic Studies.
3. The Deptt. of Science of Living, Preaksha Meditation and Yoga.
4. The Deptt. of Non-violence and Peace Research.
5. The Department of Social Work Each department offers both M. A. and Ph. D. Degrees.
Moreover, a number of diploma & certficate courses are also being offered by this University in the regular mode and distance education mode in multiple subjects of different disciplines. An Undergraduate College for girls and a Teachers' Training College for girls are also run by the University.
2. Research Department Anekanta Shodha Pitha is a Research Center of South Asian Studies with emphasis on the study of Jainology (affiliated with Ajmer university for the Ph. D. Degree.) The Jain Vishva Bharati also sponsors numerous research projects—for example, Jain Cyclopedic Dictionary of Technical Terms of Jain Agamas is currently being prepared. A small but excellent library with more than thirty thousand books serves the student's research needs. The Research Journal (Querterly) Tulsi Prajna is published from this center.
3. Meditation Centre (Tulsi Adhyatma Nidam) The programmes of meditation, yoga and other forms of sadhana (spiritual practice) are taught at the Tulsi Adhyatma Nidam. A great number of persons from India and abroad and from all walks of life have been trained here and at other affiliated meditation centers throughout India. A monthly "Preksha Dhyana" is a regular publication from the center.
4. The Seva Bhavi Kalyana Kendra The Seva Bhavi Kalyan Kendra is an Ayurvedic Department of J. V.B. It is a centre of research in Ayurveda. There is a dispensary for the free treatment of patients wherein about 700 persons are treated daily and almost 300 types of Ayurvedic medicines are manufactured in the pharmacy.
5. Shratnana Sanskrti Sankaya The Department of Shramana Sanskrti Sankaya runs the activity of Jain Studies throughout the nation. By conducting courses and holding yearly examinations and approximately seven thousand students take part. This department also conducts certificate courses in Jainology through correspondence.
6. Jain International: Jain International is one of the departments of Jain Vishva Bharati which is set up in order to organize international activities related to Jainism. It organizes tours of Samanas and Samanis to travel abroad and spread the message of non-violence. So far, they have visited Canada, Hongkong, England, Finland, Italy, Japan, Poland, Switzerland, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, U. S. A., U. S. S. R. and Germany and many other countries. A monthly newsletter on their activities is circulated from this department and sent overseas.
7. Publication Department The Jain Vishva Bharati is actively involved in the publication of educational materials on Jain Studies and books on Jain Philosophy, specially the canonical literature. More than 400 titles have already been published till now.