Jain Mandal says awareness needs to be created on Digambar sect seers





Maintaining that a Jain seer belonging to the Digambar Sect had visited Goa for the first time, last month, and therefore, could have ‘shocked’ a few people, the Goa Jain Mandal on Saturday maintained that awareness needs to be created among the public of Goa about the hard life led by such seers, who relinquish everything including clothes and work for the betterment of the society.

Goa Jain Mandal, the association of around 6,000 to 8,000 Jains in Goa, further said that the renouncement of clothes, besides other worldly things by seers belonging to the Digambar Sect is a part of their life, and therefore, should be looked upon in proper context.

The Mandal was responding to the recent order of the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Margao, who had directed the Margao town police to register an FIR against the Jain seer, Pranam Sagarji Maharaj on alleged charges of committing obscenity in public places by ‘roaming naked’ in the streets of Margao.

The court had passed the order on May 26 responding to an application filed by Atish Mandrekar.

Kalyan Gangwal, a Pune-based cardiologist, who has been practicing Jainism for long time, addressing a press conference, said that Pranam Sagarji Maharaj has backing of the Article 25 of the Constitution, which is about freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.

Speaking about the case against the Jain seer, Gangwal said that Digambars are detached from the society, even though they contribute for the welfare of the society, and this has been going on for centuries.

“In fact, Jainism is a religion that talks about lifestyle and provides guidelines as regards how to lead life,” he stated, adding that when a person such as Digambar seer or Naga Sadhu attains very high spiritual level, he finds use of worldly things irrelevant.

It was also informed that the only two possessions of Digambar seers are a broom made up of fallen peacock feathers collected by following principle of non-violence and a water gourd.

Chandrakant Bhoje Patil of the mandal said that there are around 1,000 Jain seers belonging to Digambar Sect, in India right up to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

He also said that Pranam Sagarji Maharaj intends to spend Chaturmas, a holy period of four months from July to October, from Shayani Ekadashi to Prabodhini Ekadashi at Mollem, where he will meditate during the period.

B T Boke, present at the briefing said that Jain seers give the message of peace, non-violence and celibacy.