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An Interview with Anand Jain (Part One)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2016/07/08


An interview with Anand Jain. He discusses: geographic, cultural, and linguistic family background; the foundation and development of the Jain Centre of British Columbia; memorable moments in its developmental partnership; current status of the Jain Centre of British Columbia; the content and purpose of prayers; the Jain image of heaven and hell; the purpose of community; and the central communal event.

Keywords: Anand Jain, British Columbia, Founder, Jain, Preserver, Sustainer.

An Interview with Anand Jain: Founder, and “Preserver and Sustainer,” Jain Centre of British Columbia (Part One)[1],[2],[3]

*Footnotes throughout the interview, and bibliography and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. In terms of geography, culture, and language, where does your family background reside?[4]

Old Delhi (walled City), India; North India Culture; Hindi language.

2. You co-founded, and remain a member of the board of directors for, the Jain Center of British Columbia.[5],[6] How did this begin and develop in its early years?[7]

I am actually the founder, preserver and sustainer as I solely registered the society with my own funds and obtained the Federal Government Charitable status for which I had to communicate and convince Revenue Canada to issue Charitable status. I have been the president and director for many years.

My parents always performed worship in the morning at their temple in India. So, we decided to hold it at my home. There were, maybe, three families that we knew at the time. They came home and performed the prayers and so on, which I knew by heart because I was doing these prayers with my dad at the temple when I was even eight years old. When one prays, they take a bath if they want to. They do their prayers close to the altars, go to the bath there, take a long white cloth, and after wearing it, and they are away from worldly affairs, then they go upstairs and have books. All of the utensils and the offerings. And, we start doing prayers there, and then we go and study some more of the scriptures.

Then we would come home, and only then did our mother give us food. So I started from my house, and then later on I had an idea. That when we have more money we should build a temple. It came about because I was still trying to establish myself. And then I discussed the idea of incorporating a society. People told me, “If you want to do it, then do it on your own. You don’t know who’s interested or not interested.” So, I went ahead and then incorporated this society, the Jain Society of BC.

We had, maybe, a dozen Jain members. And one of the members kept saying, “You don’t have the charity number from the government of Canada.” I didn’t worry about that. Then I went ahead and worked very hard and brought in the money. I was the first one. I spent my own money, and I did it. It was my passion, and is still to this day.

Actually, way back, I came in 66’. My parents came in 76’ just to visit. At the time, I invited a few Jains to my home and conducted Jain prayers with Digamber Puja; similar pattern continued on three times a year at my home until 1984 when one prominent Jain Muni visited Vancouver. At the time, he initiated us to form a society and I complied whole-heartedly.

Every now and then and one religious festivals, I invited members at my house or at other member’s home for prayers. I always gathered the prayer items and conducted the prayers leading them myself. With research and past knowledge of Jain prayers and ceremonies, I compiled a manuscript containing salient prayers and printed thirty copies and later revised it with more additional prayers.

Since 1984, we held one prayer meeting every year until 1913 on the occasion of the birthday of Lord Mahavira at a prominent Hindi temple with guest speakers. By this time, we had approximately 30 members who all helped financially. I always made sure that we put some funds in term deposits and between 1984 and 2015, the funds great to $26,000.

Along with the above, we held prayers at a rented hall twice a year.

3. After acquisition of the charity number, what were one or two of the memorable moments in its developmental partnership?

Before I got that number, and even after, I was the only one who used to invite people into my home. Luckily, I still had a bigger home. I still have. Very spacious and nice place. I was the only one who knew the prayers, the routine. And then they came. Some of the closer ones with me. They reciprocated. They hosted some of the prayers at their home, but very few.

After that, the society grew. A lot of newcomers came from Africa, India, and so on. We needed a bigger place. We used to go and rent a place, and some of the big buildings, where they have meeting rooms set up for the tenants and so on. Once in a year, we made sure, after 84’, that a saint came from New Jersey. He advised us to have a society at that time. Formally, the society was formed.

Every year, we used to do a big prayer meeting in a Hindu temple. Until 2013.

4. Where does the Jain Center of British Columbia stand now?,[8]

It’s still in transition because we bought a unit, a warehouse complex that was already approved for public assembly. It had been in operation for 18 years, and their membership was dwindling, and so they sold it to us. It was 2015 that we acquired that. It is in Surrey, British Columbia.

At present, the Jain Centre is in a transitional period of setting up a temple in a strata title public assembly approved warehouse complex in Surrey. We have approximately over 100 families eager to see the full-fledged Jain Temple in July 2016. We have a very efficient and diligent working executive committee with a hard working progressive president.

I do prayers from 10 o’clock.

5. In terms of the content of the prayers and the purpose of the prayers, what are they?

You see, Jainism is very peculiar compared to other religions in terms of antiquity. What happened, the scriptures say, way back, many, many years ago, there was a different system of existence, then came a system where we would be judged by our karmas. At that time, the first teacher, we call him Rishabhanatha, who’s history and teaching are also in the other religious scriptures.

He taught us how to cultivate the land, how to live in the society, reading, writing, arts, and barter in those days. And then that person also told us how to get salvation. He taught us that whatever you do will be debited or credited to your account. If it is debited to your account, you might inherit hell. If it is credited in your account, you might inherit heaven, but still you are subject to life, birth, old age, and death. But when your debits and credits are zero, that is the time that one can attain salvation.

One other peculiar thing about Jainism si that we have 24 seers. And none of them can help us or, or put us in heaven or hell by pleasing them or displeasing them. Whatever is done is done to our own karmas, they are only a means to teach us, or they are not here, only the scripture, we believe, we follow their path. If we emulate their path, only then we can get salvation. If we pray for them, they don’t feel happy.

If we abuse them, they curse us. This is a very good system. Jainism, we are independent. Nobody is controlling us. This is the only religion that is not organized, which is very, very good. Because we don’t believe in dwarfing any other religion, it’s independent thought. So, when we pray, we just recite their lives. And their good deeds and teaching. Non-violence, non-stealing, or understanding the truth, no false pride, things like this.

6. Two questions come to mind, for me. From the Jain scriptures, what is the image of heaven? What is the image of hell?

Very good question, in Jainism, we believe there are 16 stages in heaven, and hell there are seven stages. I took it this way. Even if it is just a thought, it is a very good insight, just like we do in daily life with promotion, promotion, promotion, and demotion, demotion, demotion. The scriptures say that in heaven or hell, one’s lifespan is limited.

So once you’re out of there, one can go into different lives, transmigration of souls. But in heaven, it’s peaceful, luxurious, but even then there are many, let’s say, stages or many elevations like one, two, three, four, five… sixteen. One might feel jealous of the other one. And when one does that again, one can go back to hell. One’s thoughts must be controlled. If we control our thought processes, our actions will be limited.

7. According to President Vijay’s President Message, the Jain Center of British Columbia provides numerous activities and services for its community including the following:

[P]athshala, Hindi classes, performing Satsang every Friday, and performing Pooja and Pravachans everyday during Mahaparyushan par…Jain Pathshala, Hindi Classes, Satsang, Jaina (Jain Association in North America) activities and other activities for Youth that we are planning for this summer. We have also added a Jain Calendar…E-newsletter every three months, comprising of religious articles, health articles, quiz, and Jain recipes.[9]

What purpose does community activity serve to Jains in British Columbia?[10]

All the activities elaborated by Vijay Jain are part and parcel of the Jain Centre of BC and the purpose of such activities is to bring the community closer to each member.

This helps in maintaining our religious tradition; cultural tradition; helping non newcomers in the lower mainland to deal with government and city authorities; introducing pioneers to have liaison for education, jobs and finding housing including advising for the purchase of residence. To make the newcomers at home in a new environment by narrating examples of early settlers. In the past, I have helped many lone students in their teens coming to study in the lower mainland universities with setting up their accommodation, transportation and early free lodging and boarding at my house.

The main purpose is to bring them together where they have a place to come together, share their sorrows, get some advice from each other. It’s like intermingling. Jainism has a very good principle that says we all have to live together and one person cannot live alone because the society is interdependent on one another. Keeping in mind that philosophy: birds of a kind flock together. At the same time, we have to be very friendly, open, helpful, towards our neighbour. That’s the whole religion. Mainly the newcomers come and usually do not know, like if I go to a new country. Usually, if somebody helps us, it is a boon. That is the purpose.

8. What remains the Jain Center of British Columbia’s central communal event?[11]

Couple picnics in the summer every year. At this time, the membership freely intermingles with each other and open-heartedly talk their achievements and problems. Kids enjoy meeting and playing with other kids.

Central communal event, we have mainly went to Mahavira’s or Lord Mavi’s birthday. Sometimes March and sometimes April because of the Indian calendar. Sometimes in September, we have our fasting days, and ten days of brooding, thinking on ourselves with all of the teachings that have been given to us. All that they mean, and how we can incorporate them into our lives.

And the third is Diwali. Most people do not know that Diwali is the invention of the Jains. I wrote this article, or I had an interview, like the one I’m doing with you right now, with the Vancouver Sun reporter one day. Ten years ago, at least. He said, “How do the Jains celebrate Diwali?” The Jains celebrate Diwali because the Jains invented Diwali. Lord Mahavira had nirvana on this day. So, that’s a big day for us. Those three are important. Since we’re in a situation with this new location, that once a month we have a general prayer, where everybody is invited. One of the people can sponsor it. I go for that. If there is no sponsor, the center will be the sponsor for it.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, and “Preserver and Sustainer,” Jain Centre of British Columbia.

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 8, 2016 at; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016 at

[3] Photograph courtesy of Anand Jain.

[4] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Board of Directors. Retrieved from

[5] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Jain Center of British Columbia. Retrieved from

[6] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Board of Directors. Retrieved from

[7] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Board of Directors. Retrieved from

[8] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Jain Center of British Columbia. Retrieved from

[9] Jain, V. (n.d.). President’s Message. Retrieved from

[10] Jain, V. (n.d.). President’s Message. Retrieved from

[11] Jain, V. (n.d.). President’s Message. Retrieved from


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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