Spotlight Interview with Holiness Fulchand Shastri Ji
When did you first come in touch with Jainism? Was it the philosophy of Jainism or the rituals you resonated with? Why?
Since birth. Philosophy. When I was 7 years old, I used to worship God with rice grains, and felt that these rituals were not true religion. Awareness of one’s own self is the supreme religion. The Supreme goal of any life is liberation which can be achieved by unity of three jewels. i.e. Right Belief, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct. Omniscient Gods teachings are the same for everyone, which means all of these can be achieved even by those who are not ritualistic in terms of doership of any act by thought, action or deeds. The only ritual that leads to True Dharma is Soul Awareness at all times.
Who was your Spiritual Guru? What is one lesson he taught you that still holds true today?
Param Krupalu Dev Shrimad Rajchandra Chandra and Pujya Gurudev Shri Kanji Swami. The soul is the supreme substance in the world. Awareness of the Soul is supreme religion. Whenever you will have the wisdom of transient then your attention will be automatically diverted towards your soul. I have tried to find happiness from material objects but could not get yet. When one realizes one’s own self full of knowledge and bliss, one stops chasing behind worldly pleasure. I have learnt ‘Connection before Correction’ and ‘Humanity before Spiritualty’, from them.
What inspired you to learn so many languages and how did you do it?
I have not made any intentional efforts to learn any language in this life. It is a recall of my past lives that happens when I visit a place and a local language starts flowing through my knowledge at some point in time.
What is numerology? How can our audience benefit from numerology?
From 1 to 1000, each number gives spiritual message. Each day of the Year has a numerical connection to the facts stated in Jain scriptures with reference to the same date as that day of the year. E.g. 22-06-16 is the 174th day of the year. This relates to a quick fact that Thirthankars Sambhavnath, Anantnath, Neminath and Mahavir Swami had a collective count of 174 main disciples (Gandhars). Several facts that are unknown or forgotten could be known and remembered in a fun and numerical way.
The number 143 is commonly used for expressing I Love You, but spiritually we may represent and interpret a number like 142 as 14 – 2 Valentine’s day – I Love ME – as love is the root of all sins, its important I love only myself, i.e. only the Soul.
Atma Siddhi Shastra has 142 Stanzas.
14 Raju Pramaan Lok is divided in 2 parts – Living and Non Living or Self and others as 2 classifications.
14 Gunasthans have 2 parts – I. Apramatta II. Pramatta.
What according to you is true religion? Is there a supreme religion and why?
Self-Realization is True Religion. Yes, awareness that I am the Soul and separate from the body and all circumstances, is the Supreme religion because this is the only path to get rid of from infinite sorrow and cycles of birth and death.
What is non-violence in true sense? How can our audience help to attain or encourage non-violence in our fast-paced lives?
Violence takes place when feelings of attachment, love and hate arise in a soul. To renounce theses impure feelings is non-violence.
I am the soul and single atom of the universe does not belong to me. This is truth. When one realizes this Truth in belief, one attains the state of non- violence.
How do we strike balance between pursuing our profession and spirituality? We are believers in the “Passion for success” How can we succeed in life for our loved ones and families and still remain true to our souls?
Achieving is every souls birth right and awareness is the key to all. No matter what roles we play each day and succeed or excel in what we do, if we live with the awareness that if we achieve transient material objects and relationships, it is solely due to the fruition of Karma. We free ourselves from the burden of doership and learn to have glad acceptance with responsibility of being the soul who is only the Knower of the happening. However, it is important to observe that the role plays its fair part in what it needs to do and not escape from the present with blind faith.
Follow your duties and leave everything else on destiny. Think globally and act locally.
As a Jain professional any tips young Jains can follow at workplace?
True Jain will never distinguish between him and others. All are pure souls with equal calibre to achieve the Truth. Hence we learn to observe each one as a soul and not in the role that they play. Have respect for all perspectives yet do what is within your means and state of awareness.
Best ways to cope with stress at workplace?
Glad acceptance of any situation with awareness of the truth that the situation is existing at a distance, and did not enter or affect the soul that I am. Hence we address it with detachment rather than involvement. Treat situations and people without prejudice and judgments. Ensure when anyone behaves in a way that is unexpected or disliked immediately return to awareness that we are all souls and all thoughts, actions, and deeds are subject to fruition of Karma of past and present and hence decide the future. We can’t undo the past but we can rule the present and improve the future. Making a point is important and accepting another point of view is equally important. The rule in all situations would be to check on yourself before checking on others. Changing self is easier than changing others. When others lose their control remind yourself not to be reactive but be responsive with compassion towards self and others. Replace negative thoughts by observing positive qualities of the soul in self and others too.
You have written so many books any tips for young writers out there?
Write in relevance to present times. Experience of anyone’s past is referred by people as examples for their present as a learning lesson. Writing facts and experiences that relate to readers and those that can be applied in practical life for understanding and practice.
What was the most intriguing question someone asked you about Jainism?
I have never felt like someone has asked an intriguing question to me.
We just had the largest mass shooting in our nation with 50 young lives taken away from us. Couple that with the denominational aspects of race, religion, beliefs… What is your view on how Jains can help blur these dividing lines?
Jainism preaches – ‘Live and Let Live’. It preaches the principle of ‘Anekantvad’ i.e. Non-Absolutism. When each situation is understood from multiple viewpoints, all perspectives may be correct and hence may be respected. It believes each soul has the right to choose its path of spirituality and hence religion should not be imposed.
No religion claims to preach Violence. Anger, greed, attachment, possession, and ego are impure feelings and have been termed as enemies of the Self by all philosophies, scriptures and religious resources. A follower may adopt to practice a religion by birth or by choice. When he believes his religion is supreme and begins to impose it on others who disagree, both parties begin to protect their own views due to extreme attachment of self-views, leading to hatred for others. His love for his own religion causes him to dislike or prove that his religion is better than the rest of the religions of the World.
Awareness of One’s own soul detaches on from impure feelings and attachments of all kinds. If each person would see himself and the others as God, then all negative feelings would naturally dissolve and desires to change others would disappear.
What is your message for young Jains?
Truth has remained unknown to many for several ages due to its classification as religion and religious beliefs. Jainism was meant to be a way of life for all rather than merely a religion. Expose the message to the world not as Jains but as humans. Human Life is more valuable to expedite the spiritual growth as compared to other lifeforms. The focus should not be on identifying ourselves as any religious candidate, rather it may remain on the path of seeking spiritual advancement on a liberating Journey. We shall only introduce this Universal Truth to the world as Spiritual Science of the Soul, and for all Souls.