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An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Two)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2016/07/15


An interview with Anand Jain. He discusses: falsehoods about Jainism; truths that dispel the falsehoods; greatest difficult as a minority religion in the Lower Mainland; non-Jain to Jain citizen relationships; consideration of other religions from Jainism; motivation for “promoting non-violence, peaceful co-existence, vegetarianism, and interfaith dialogue”; and reason for espousing vegetarianism.

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 Two)[1],[2],[3]

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

9. If we can explore something a bit, which comes from the specificity of the previous response, then this might be of community value in the short, or long, term. In a very pluralistic society, as Canada is, there can be a lot of superficial knowledge about various religious belief systems. What falsehoods exist about Jainism?[4]

The biggest falsehood is that this is an offshoot of Hinduism. Even most of the Hindus have no knowledge that their first Ved, namely, Rig Veda elaborately mention Jain’s first tirthankar as the first person to teach the civilization and whose son’s name gave the name Bharat to the sub-continent of India.

10. What truths dispel them?[5]

Basically, people are not informed about it. Jains have done a very poor job about informing others simply because they do not want to, they are not in the habit of beating their own drum, which would put them in another category – where they will be accused of proselytizing other people, and also they do not want to be haughty. If somebody wants to learn, there are libraries and temples. Come, we will be happy to tell you about our functions.

Some of them know very well. Some of the pundits know that it is the oldest one. They know that it is a separate entity. If they can say that the other religions came out of that in a different form, then that is true. Some of them still do not want to believe it because the number is not great. Some will say, “If it is such a great and big religion, why are there not a lot of followers?”

The answer is that it is a religion is practice. You have to practice what you are taught. You cannot simply not practice, not being able to do anything and still call yourself religious. Even somebody that is a Jain would not be a Jain, if they do not follow the principles because it is not based on the caste system, it is an action-system. It goes by your acts.

Traditionally, Jains do not tangle in arguing and imposing their religion on others, but the scholars like the Late Dr. Radhakrishnan, the second President of India, and numerous others with knowledge of the history of India clearly wrote that Jainism is an ancient religion separate from Hinduism. This remains a difficult issue where the 80% of the problem of the land are Hindu. Jains do not want to create a problem; since, we are taught to put the country or your land first and religion after. Jains are devout nationalists. When it comes to receiving honours from the President of India in 2015, Jains stole the show. Out of 109 medals, 8 were received by Jains. Being a large majority in India, Hindus think that all is wrote in their book and they believe that Jesus was south Indian Hindu and Christianity was born in India. So, you can judge for yourself.

Like I told my friend, I never sold 22 karat gold. I was a jeweller, but when I see all f the Indians buying 2 karat gold. I can come out and put a smoke screen and say, “Yes, yes! I do sell it.” But that is not. What should I say? I should say I sell diamond watches and 10 Karat. So I should state that that way. But the other religions have a different perspective. They say they sell coffee, Starbucks. No, you brew your own and stay there.

11. Two religious sects in society come to mind to the earlier point about proselytizing to individuals in a society. Whereas the Jains consider national identity first and then religious identity in terms of priorities, and without proselytizing, if one looks at the Jehovah’s Witnesses or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (The Mormons), they tend to come to you. That’s a different methodology for bringing people into the community. To me, that is a poignant point by you.

So if one looks at the demographics of the religions in British Columbia, if you add Roman Catholics and Protestants together, that amounts to about 73% of the Canadian populace with 16.5% for those without religious affiliation, which leaves 10.5% for the rest of the religious demographics of the nation.[6] That is, 89.5% of the Canadian populace have labels as Roman Catholic, Protestant, or No Religious Affiliation, which means the lack of knowledge about the intricacies of small (by demographic numbers, not ethnicity) religions is not deliberate but, rather, a natural and predictable consequence of size compared to the large religious/irreligious labels in the country. What remains the greatest difficulty as a minority religion within the Lower Mainland, British Columbia, and Canada – with some insight into the intricacies?[7],[8],[9]

The greatest difficulty being the availability of Jain food in restaurants and some groceries mainly used by Jains. It is comforting to note that since Jains enjoy a respectable place in Indian society and in educated masses outside India. Jains are given a special welcome by all upon knowledge of their Jain identity.

I, myself, have experience welcome gesture from different quarters when people knew that I am a Jain. My benefactor an Irish Canadian who sponsored my application to come to Canada and gave my first job before arriving in Canada confided in me that he believed Jains to be honest and educated when he took the decision to sponsor me: “Ethics have their worth in gold.” This is my own invented, experienced, proverb.

Don’t love wealth too much. Jains are not worried about what other people do. We are not here to teach other people how to live.

12. How might non-Jain Canadian citizens reach out to Jain Canadian citizens, and their community, in a compassionate, reasonable, and respectful manner, and vice versa – even simple day-to-day words and deeds?[10]

Even before our place in Surrey that we acquired on September 1, 2015, people used to phone me up. People who were really interested in Jains found out. I had a store, a jeweller store that said Jain Jewllers. They would say, “oh, are you a Jain?” And when they read my article in the paper about Diwali being an invention of the Jains, I found it comforting that none of the non-Jains came and discouraged it because it is in the scriptures. In fact, the word Diwali is not in any of the Jain scriptures.

Yet, they emulated. They followed, which is good. Nothing wrong because Mahavira was for everyone, not just the Jains. Now, we have the centre and the telephone and email, and a website. So, they can contact us. I was always available for those who are eager to learn, but I would not go and talk to a person on the street and say, “How about turning into a Jain?” We have all of the books and so on. As long as I am here, I am sure others will be, so there is no problem. We welcome them.

I do believe that most Canadians do respect their fellowman and I always heard praise by Jain-Canadians about how well they were treated by people and fellow workers and employers here in Canada. Almost all Jains are highly educated professionals they manage their affairs intelligently, yet there is a need on the part of the Jain Centre of BC to host an open house or knowledge session for Canadians and non-Jains to come to the Temple and enjoy the philosophy at work.

13. Some religions conceive alternate religions, philosophies, and ways of life as partial truths. For instance, Islam considers adherents of Judaism and Christianity as Ahl al-Kitāb or “People of the Book.”[11],[12],[13],[14] Of course, in the past, this came with the special tax, called jizyah, during the great Caliphate for the non-believers, named dhimmis, belief in non-Islamic religions.[15],[16],[17],[18] Regardless, in comparison to its own considered total truth – internal to itself, where does Jainism hold other religions, philosophies, and ways of life?[19]

At the time of the 24th and last Seer Mahavira of the Jains, there were 363 main religions in India and all were passionate about their own religions and there was a great chaos and violence Mahavir, at that time, invented the theory of relativity (before Einstein brought it to light). He told the masses that the truth is to examine with seven aspects of an object, only then, one can reach the full truth. This way he not only separated himself from one’s own path. On that basis, Jains refrain from argumentative behaviour.

Jains can explain what they believe and should stay away from criticism. Criticism leads to revenge and violence; violence is the one we abhor. Incidentally, once a reporter asked Einstein if he were to believe in transmigration of the soul, in which religion would he want to be born in his next life. His answer was he wanted to be born as a Jain in a Jain family.

14. According to About (2015), the Jain Center of British Columbia states:

Jain Center BC is a non profit organization established in 1984 for the purpose of promoting non-violence, peaceful co-existence, vegetarianism, and interfaith dialogue. Our aim is to provide a place to worship together for Jain followers, learn and promote Jainism. Through this organization we want to support and promote Jain principles of Ahimsa, Aparigraha, and Anekant. We also want to provide a platform to enrich our future generation to learn and value their spiritual heritage. We celebrate Mahavir Jayanti, Paryushan, Das Lakshan, Mahavir Nirvan (Deepawali) besides other celebrations.[20]

What motivates the principles of “promoting non-violence, peaceful co-existence, vegetarianism, and interfaith dialogue”?[21]

Interfaith dialogue brings people of different faiths and beliefs under one umbrella for understanding different religions and tolerance of one another’s way of life. It is a great education for all mankind.

The underlying thing is this, lest we forget. So it is our duty to teach these good habits taught to us through the religion and familial backgrounds, and make sure that they are not encroaching on anyone. Incidentally, even in India, 90% of the Jains are highly educated, here our children are outstanding in school.

I do not want to brag, but I have four daughters. All of them, including myself, are all University of BC graduates. My oldest daughter is a 48-year old. She had been practicing pediatrics for the last 20 years. Another one is a clinical pharmacist and worked fro ten years in a hospital. The third one is a speech pathologist living in the states. The last one graduated as a producer for television and radio.

My friends, their children, most of them are doctors and in good professions, lawyers, and so on. That shows that these teachings have a lot to do with it. Whenever we went to the parent-teacher meeting in West Vancouver, they were very thankful that our children went through their school. And I remember there were two incidents. My daughter was selected valedictorian. Second, another second daughter also served as the host for the dinner, gave a speech, and so on. My wife was saying that my first one got two scholarships, and I do not know about the other daughter, and I said do not worry she will get it too. And she did.

One of the teachers got up and said, “I want to say something. All of my students re equal to me, but if I say Sarita Jain is special to me, then I am not lying.” The only thing I heard from her was that if they can produce a kid like Sarita, then I will become vegetarian. And I said to my wife, “I have accomplished my purpose coming here.”…

I have very, very good moments in these 50 years. I feel happy meeting people. I feel happy not because of making money, but because of having lots of moments. Teaching my kids, seeing them accomplish something, I have ten grandchildren and they are achieving something above the norms. So I am a happy person.

I do not know if you can see my age. What do you think is my age?

65 to 70?

According to my passport, I’ll be 75 in August. But in those days, the babies were born at home. And when we were sent to school, the headmaster in the kindergarten, I remember today. He said, “Because the government exams for civil servant are restricted to people who failed the exam twice after a certain date every year, they cannot sit in the exam.” To my dad, he was saying, “So because of that, why don’t you put the date two years younger.” So, in August, I’ll be 77.

Canada has been good to me.

In Jainism, we are taught not to be jealous or find fault. There are good things everywhere.

15. The leading medical institutions in the world such as the Mayo Clinic espouse the Mediterranean and similar diets. Why vegetarianism?[22]

Vegetarianism has numerous advantages for the society. It keeps us away from animal violence; it helps in maintaining our natural environment; it promotes healthy lifestyle; bones, blood and flesh are not meant for human consumption, one has no right to take any living being’s life. Believe it or not killing brings Bad Karmas.

In my own experience, and this is the truth, one’s own diet is related to the environment the person lives in. If you go far north, you cannot find vegetables. In the Indian subcontinent, the weather is warm. We can grow lots of grains and lots of foods, fruits, and vegetables. India is a land of sages and saints who wanted to pay more attention to their soul rather than their body. They wanted through free will and didn’t want to interfere with their environment.

What I will tell you is an anecdote, 5 people are travelling through a jungle. They are hungry. Suddenly, they find a big mango tree. One says, “I’m hungry, let’s cut it, bring it home, and then we can grow all of the mangoes we want.”

Second person says, “No, no, no, we can take a big part of it, and there will be plenty for us.”

Third person says, “No, no, no, you just take a branch, enough to fill our belly, and leave the rest here.”

A fourth one says, “You know, I am not in favour of cutting anything. I am just in favour of taking what is right for ourselves.”

A fifth person says, “I do not want to do anything because we do not know who owns this and we are not asking its permission, so we just take whatever we have and drop on the ground.”

This is how the Indian culture comes down to, the minimum harm to the environment. Jain philosophy very in tune with that. There is the path that is the minimum harm to the environment. When you play with animals, the dogs, birds, and so on, it feels good. They have a right for their own life, right. It all depends on one’s environment that they live in, their heritage, how they were brought up, the history and location of the land, and we can only speak for ourselves. Even the Jain sages, everything they ever said was negative. They simply explained the results, the qualities. It brings bad Karma even when killing a small life. Even with water, we cannot simply leave the tap open.

For instance, if I have to wash five dishes, I have to take out the leftovers with the utensil, and after the first through fourth, we start to clean one, two, three, four, five with new soap, and that way you use less water. We cannot just breathe in the air for nothing. If there is a need, go ahead, if there is a reason, go ahead. Don’t eat after sunset, or otherwise you get indigestion. Don’t drink water right out of the well or the stream. Now, the municipality will do that.

So, it is a must for us to strain it. Things like that for the Jains. Now, people are finding out it is good for everybody.

Appendix I: Footnotes

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

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 15, 2016 at; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016 at

[3] Photograph courtesy of Anand Jain.

[4] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[5] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[6] According to Population by religion, by province and territory (2001 Census)
(Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon)
, the total population of Canada amounts to 29,639,035 with 12,936,905 Roman Catholics and 8,654,850 Protestants, which means 12,936,905+8,654,850/29,639,035 amounts to 72.8%. 4,900,090 label as No Religious Affiliation, which means 4,900,090/29,639,035 amounts to 16.5%. 73%+16.5%=89.5% leaves 10.5% for the other religious categorizations in Canada.

For more information from 2001, Statistics Canada. (2005, January 25). Population by religion, by province and territory (2001 Census)
(Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon). Retrieved from

[7] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[8] Vancouver. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[9] Central Intelligence Agency. (2015). Canada. Retrieved from

[10] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[11] Islam. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[12] Judaism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[13] Christianity. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[14] Ahl al-Kitab. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[15] jizya. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[16] Islam. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[17] Ahl al-Kitab. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[18] Caliphate. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

[19] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

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

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

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


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