The Art of Meditation Shows the Colors of Your World


Saminijis Vikas Pragyaji (left) and Maryada Pragyaji at the JVB Preksha Center in Houston

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: Seated cross-legged on quilted sheets folded into squares on the hard tile floor, the two young women were draped in simple white cotton sarees, with their heads covered and a twice-folded cotton handkerchief in one hand held close to their mouths in the manner of that strict Jains use to communicate. They exuded an encompassing calmness and serenity as they explained the principles behind the type of meditation that they teach during the short ten months that they are in residence at the Jain Visha Bharati Preksha Meditation Center.

But their role in the Center, which is instantly recognizable by the tall pyramid-shaped building that forms the mediation and congregational area, is much more than just teaching classes. The two samanijis – a Jain term for nuns – also offer counselling to the congregation that is spread across the Metroplex on a wide range of personal issues that they encounter. On one fine Sunday afternoon, they spoke soothingly with a young man who had sought them out to discuss his personal mental evolution.

Saminiji Vikas Pragyaji, originally from Delhi, and Saminiji Maryada Pragyaji, also from India, both took up residency at the Center just a month ago at the direction of the Gurudev after a two-month Maryada Mahotsav.

Both are graduates of the Jain Visha Bharati university located on a man-made oasis of 60 acres in Ladnun, Rajasthan, about 240 miles west of Delhi and 140 miles northwest of Jaipur. The university was established in 1970 with inspiration from Ganadhipati Gurudev Shri Tulsi (the ninth spiritual supreme head of Jain Shwetamber Terapanth Sangh) and Acharya Shri Mahapragya (the tenth supreme head) as a center for Jain studies and the Prakrit language. Since then, JVBU has also become a center of learning on Ahimsa (Non Violence), Jeevan Vigyan (Science of Living) and Preksha Dhyan (Preksha Meditation), and its main aim is lifting up socio-spiritual values.

Every year, for two months the samanijis across the world return to India and samanijis  or samans (sadhus or monks) from the different parts of India comes for the guidance from Gurudev and for personal reflection and growth. They meet at the Magh sukhla saptami, a special religious celebration named ‘Maryada Mahotsav’ which is held each year at different locations, and Acharya Mahashraman, the eleventh supreme head of the Jain Svetambar Terapanth Sangh, decides which Centers they will be sent to. They are rotated through the Centers so as not to form strong attachments, which is a central tenant of Jainism.

There are many Centers in India, three centers in the US in Houston; Orlando, Florida and Edison, New Jersey and one center in London. In all the Centers, the samanijis hold weekly activities and camps and larger seminars every quarter to spread the principles of Jainism, Preksha Meditation for life transformative skills through prayogs or exercises for the well-being of individuals and their spiritual development. And just this coming weekend, April 23 and 24 from 9am to 5pm, Samani Vikas Pragyaji and Maryada Pragyaji and two Samnijis from FIU, Miami, Samani Shukla Pragyaji and Samani Rohit Pragyaji will conduct a Meditation camp for adults in the Center, entitled “The Art and Science of Self Discovery”.

This Prekash Meditaion technique have been developed by Acharya Mahapragya based on his own research with Jain scriptures and experiments on himself for 20 years and are scientifically proven. Overall the exercises are called Preksha Dhyan, (“pre” meaning profoundly and “ksha” meaning to see), the practise of which has an ultimate goal of the purification of the soul.

“People think that Jains are conservative,” said Samani Vikas Pragyaji, “but we would like them to realize that the principles of Jainism are a way of life that are practical.” This weekend’s camp will show how to change one’s personality and develop a balanced healthy and peaceful life with spiritual growth by the practise of various techniques of Preksha Meditation. The sessions will scientifically explain how mediation transforms emotions and negative thoughts. “Religion is based on karma,” she went on, “and you can change your karma by changing your emotions.” She demonstrated that with a simple relaxation exercise (or prayog) based on meditating on the vocal cords. Another such series of exercises is called the Leshya Dhyan or Color Meditation, which deals with the six colors of the aura of individuals.