Yoga and Jainism: Liberation from wheel of samsara

By Chandni Rodriguez

On October 16th,2022, I had the wonderful opportunity to make new friends of the Anuvrat Movement. We were at the Gandhi Peace Garden for a meditative walk and discussed many things, especially the animals that are defenseless and the little insects that worry us so. Through joyful conversation, a new path was shown: the Anuvrat Movement.

Acharya Sri Tulsi was the founder of the Anuvrat Movement. The simplicity and profundity of being aligned with the principles of Anuvrat are deeply moving. In holding a burning intention to live and act in a manner where every being is cared for is world-changing. To see each living being on their own dharmic (duty) path towards Moksha (liberation) and to support their karmic expression within the karmic unfoldment of your own life, is selfless and humble.

As an American woman of Indian descent, the principles that weave through the people of South Asia are very deep within me. Principles common to both Anuvrat and Yoga such as Satya (Truth), Ahimsa (Non-Harming), and Aparigraha (Non-Possession) are never far away from being a guiding force through which the actions I take are lived. My personal history is that it has been 50 years since Yoga Anand Ashram, LI was founded by my mother Gurani Anjali. I was guided by her life and the yogic teaching she shared. Yoga as well as Jainism, the religion of which Anuvrat is founded upon, are both for liberation from the wheel of samsara. But the most critical aspect of both is in the manner by which we embody these ideals. They are to be lived.

Being vigilant to the significance of one’s actions and its effects on others is deeply profound. Others, not just our friends but our enemies, not just pets but the field mice, not just the singular ladybug but the swarm of fruit flies. This is how the world is transformed. By enlightened action.

It was befitting that this conversation happened at the Gandhi Peace Garden which commemorated the 150th year anniversary of Gandhiji’s birth. Gandhiji lived the principles of Anuvrat and Yoga to change the history of Bharat. Everyone in India was his brother & sister. On the day he died he blessed the one in front of him. This was sacrifice, selflessness and wisdom.

All the sacred teachings that humankind has as a collective spiritual history mean nothing unless they are put into practice. I bow my head and place the palms of my hands together with respect for the movement of the Rta (movement of experience/life) that holds all and cares for all.

Om shanti,shanti,shanti

“We have only one consciousness stream. When we associate with Truth, we ascend upwards, and when we associate with untruth we fall down.” – Acharya Sri Tulsi

“In the chamber of my innermost mind, I wonder.

Yet no longer held in despair for now, I see a new dimension.

Which holds me in suspense, the intimacy leaves me breathless at times.”- Gurani Anjali

Chandni Rodriguez is a yoga teacher following in the footsteps of her late mother Gurani Anjali founder of Yoga Anand Ashram. She is a member of The Long Island Multi-Faith Forum and Shanti Fund.

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