Triple Celebrations in Jain Vishva Bharat (JVB) – Akshay Tritiya, Varship Tap Parna & Mother’s Day

By Shashank Jain

HOUSTON: Under the spiritual guidance and presence of Samani Arjav Pragyaji, and Samani Swati Pragyaji, Jain Vishwa Bharati (JVB) Preksha Meditation Center, Houston celebrated Akshay Tritiya, Varshi Tap Parna of its member Mukta Jain, and Mother’s Day on May 12, 2024, in its beautiful pyramid hall. Two Samanijis from Orlando, Samani Chaitanya Pragya ji and Samani Him Pragya ji traveled to Houston, to be part of this unique and pious celebration.  In parallel, a Blood donation drive was also organized at the center in which several members donated their blood to save lives.

The festival of Akshaya Tritiya holds special significance for Jains, as it’s the day when Lord Aadinath or Rishabhdev, the first Jain Tirthankara, ended his 400 days long fast. On the day of Akshaya Tritiya, a shravak (an adherent of Jainism) named Shreyans Kumar offered Lord Adinath Ikshu juice or sugarcane juice which ended his rigorous fasting, hence immortalizing the festival for Jains.

What is a Varshi Tap? As a 400 day fast is no longer possible in the modern world, in current times, Jains now follow a Jain fasting regimen that stretches across thirteen months, where the individual establishes a cycle of alternate day Jain fasting & eating. Every year, Akshay Tritiya day is considered the day when persons undertaking this regimen are applauded for their achievement by the community, and they can slowly get back to their normal eating habits.

JVB Houston’s very own member of 23 years, Mukta Jain, undertook this regimen over the past year, and all the members, & many friends were in attendance on the day to celebrate her tapasya. The program started at 10 AM with a procession to lead Mukta to the center where a group of over 25 ladies danced in the foyer and welcomed her with a few beautiful song and dance sequences signifying her long penance. She was then led into the main hall under slanting raised hands where everyone blessed her as she walked through.

Orlando Samaniji Chaitanya Pragya ji thereafter, formally initiated the program with the Namokar Mahamantra & the emcee Priyanka Jain invited Mukta’s daughter Sanemi to recite the 44 Bhaktambar Stotras. Sanemi, a recent UT McCombs graduate, recollected how learning this Strotra was a special bond she shared with Mom when she had memorized it at the young age of 10, with her Mom’s help, and now she was going to sing it for her. She was accompanied by Nishad Kanhere on Tabla, Harprakash Kaur on Harmonium, Sardar Akaal Singh Ji on Manjeera & her brother Sambhav Jain on the flute. Dipti Kanhere was the musical co-ordinator.

Thereafter, Mukta’s sister Bhanu who had specially flown in from India along with their parents spoke about Mukta’s achievement even though she was her youngest sibling. Mukta took the microphone and shared her thoughts & feelings over the past year in beautiful poetic fashion, which left many extremely emotional & in tears.

Priyanka then called upon the JVB patrons for two beautifully choreographed dances with song lyrics signifying & highlighting Mukta’s fasting. After that, JVB Gyanshala’s young kids aged 4 to 12 performed a beautiful skit entitled ‘Who am I?’, which was coordinated and voiced over by Samani Swati Pragya Ji. The young cast was wearing animal masks throughout the skit and kept the audience mesmerized watching them.

After all the cultural activities concluded, Samani Chaitanya Pragya Ji recounted the story & the importance of Akshay Tritiya and importance of the Varshi Tap, and encouraged Mukta & others. At this time JVB president Gaurav Jhaveri requested Mukta’s family to say a few words. Shashank Jain, Mukta’s husband & also a JVB Director took a few minutes to thank everyone for coming for this special recognition of Mukta’s achievement, and recounted a few personal incidents over the past year while Mukta was fasting. This concluded the first part of the  program with the recitation of Mangal Paath by Samanijis.

Thereafter, the Parana (breaking the fast) program started with Mukta offering sugarcane juice to Samanijis, and then Mukta’s son Sambhav helped break her fast auspiciously with sugarcane juice in a small ceremony led by Mukta’s parents & in-laws. The entire congregation then lined up to feed Mukta sugarcane juice to signify her completion of the fasting regimen, one family at a time. Her family presented a small gift to all families, and sponsored a sumptuous lunch for everyone to celebrate her achievement.

​​Jain Vishwa Bharati (JVB) Preksha Meditation Center is home to a specially designed Preksha Dhyan ‘Pyramid’ Meditation Hall and is located at 14102 Schiller Rd, Houston, TX 77082. For more information and current & upcoming programs please visit  or call 281.596.9642