Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Acharya Chandanaji

Hosting Sadhvi Shilapiji several times has been a real privilege and joy. This Wednesday, June 29th 2005, we will have the absolute honor of being in the presence of her mentor and teacher, Acharya Chandanji!

Mahavir (the founder of modern-day Jainism), taught that, "The flame of one candle can light thousands of others." Acharya Chandanaji has humbly manifested that teaching through her own life. At the age of 14, she became a Jain nun, later to be the first nun in the entire history of the Jain religion to be declared Acharya (Teacher). On the 2500th anniversary of Mahavir's enlightenment, she took on her own teacher's vision of eradicating poverty in Bihar, one of the poorest and most hostile environments in India. Since then, these last thirty years of her life have been devoted to uplifting and empowering humanity through the three areas of humanitarianism, education, and inner development.

Acharya Chandanaji is a force of service and compassion. As a founder of Veerayatan, she has worked to bring free, high-quality ophthalmological and orthopedic services to over 100,000 people in Bihar. Veerayatan was also one of the first organizations to enter the Kutch region after the 2001 earthquake to provide educational and vocational training to over 12,000 children. Its overall vision is to inspire active awareness of individual responsibilities, motivate environmental protection and conservation, encourage individual and social harmony through education, and reinvigorate humanity through inner development.

We will also be in the company of one of Acharya Chandanaji's foremost disciples, Sadhviji Shree Shubhamji. Shubhamji is a Jain scholar and nun who is a "Shatavadhani," someone who has mastered the ancient science of memory and mathematics based on the concentration of the mind, leading to the ability to keep track of a hundred things simultaneously!

We will have a rare opportunity this Wednesday evening to be inspired by Acharya Chandanaji and Shubhamji.