YJA Pathshala is an online self-paced course for learning more about Jainism. Intended for youth ages 16-29 who cannot regularly access a traditional pathshala, these materials will provide a basic foundational understanding of Jain principles and practice. Extensive prior knowledge of Jainism is not required.
To access content, scroll down and click on the name of various topics, which will expand to a detailed guide to approaching each month’s material.
Why Pathshala? Understanding of the meaning behind prayers, rituals and practice will make visits to temple more fulfilling and Jain practice more relevant to your day-to-day choices and actions. We hope that participants can take what they learn through the Pathshala and apply it to consider their own actions through the lenses of Jain principles such as non-violence, compassion, and honesty.
The theme for this lesson is Hemchandra Acharya, who is known for his spiritual progress and vast knowledge. Hemchandra Acharya demonstrated several Jain values, such as religious tolerance, which are extremely applicable in today’s diverse world. Moreover, his accomplishments in various subjects (poetry, grammar, mathematics, and others) and advisory relationships with kings of the time have a long-lasting impact on society and can be seen in India even today. Learning from Hemchandra Acharya’s virtues will pave the way for personal and spiritual growth!
The theme of this lesson is Gautam Swami. On New Year's Day, Jains celebrate the Keval-gnan Kalyanak of Gautam Swami, or the day he attained omniscience, one of the last steps toward the ultimate spiritual goal of reaching moksha. Gautam Swami was unable to attain omniscience for so long, not because of a lack of spirituality, but because of one specific passion that was holding him back - attachment. We all experience attachment - to our clothes or cars, to our routines and lifestyle, to our friends and family. Gautam Swami’s story is an important reminder about how too much attachment can hold back our spiritual progress - living our lives simply, with just what we need, can give us the space to focus internally. We hope the content in this lesson helps you better understand why Jains celebrate this day and Gautam Swami's story!
The theme of this lesson is Jain Festivals and Tithis. Beyond secular holidays, many Jains celebrate or observe days that are said to be significant religiously, such as Mahavir Jayanti, Diwali, Chaudas, and more. But it can be all too easy to follow along with what we are told to do on those days without knowing their real significance. Why are only certain days of the month observed as tithis? How do many Jain festivals relate to the attributes of Tirthankars? How can we observe these days if we are not close to a temple or at home? Whether you already know all the answers to these questions and just want a refresher, or have always wondered why we celebrate these days, we hope the content in this lesson helps you find a deeper connection to Jainism & inspires you to celebrate festivals and tithis in a way that's meaningful for you!
The theme for this lesson is A Jain State of Mind. Jainism places a large emphasis on not just our actions and words, but also on our thoughts and intent. This lesson explores the different ways you can analyze and improve your state of mind, through avoiding certain actions or by contemplating upon positive virtues. Whether you just want to refresh these topics, or they are completely new to you, we hope reviewing this month’s content will help you find ways to improve your state of mind and happiness each and every day!
The theme for this lesson is the history of Jainism after Bhagwan Mahavir. Who kept Jainism alive after Mahavir Swami, how has Jainism evolved over time, and where has Jainism spread to throughout India? This lesson includes details about how Jainism has persisted and adapted to survive in times of famine and prosperity, as well as disenfranchisement and patronage. Whether you just want to refresh these topics, or they are completely new to you, we hope reviewing this month’s content will help you gain a deeper understanding of Jainism!
The theme for this lesson is Bhagwan Mahavir. Who was he, and why are his teachings so central to Jainism? This mini-release includes details about his life and community leadership, his teachings, and even stories appropriate for younger students. Whether you just want to refresh these topics, or they are completely new to you, we hope reviewing this month’s content will help you gain a deeper understanding of Jainism!
The theme for this month is Jiv in Jainism. Ranging from the smallest one sensed being to Tirthankars, this month we’re covering all sorts of living beings. Along the way, we’ll discuss how spiritual progression occurs according to Jainism, and the supreme beings called the Panch Parmeshthi. Whether you just want to refresh these concepts, or they are completely new to you, we hope reviewing this month’s content will help you gain a deeper understanding of Jainism!
The theme for this month is Jain Cosmology. This month’s material will expand your point of view of Jainism, from a narrow focus on individual actions to an awareness of the infinite cosmos itself, by discussing the 6 fundamental substances that make up the universe, the Jain Universe, and the Jain Time Cycle. Whether you just want to refresh these theories, or they are completely new to you, we hope reviewing this month’s content will help you gain a deeper understanding of Jainism!
The theme for this month is Karma Theory. This month’s material will shed light on a fundamental part of Jain philosophy, by explaining what karma is, the way it is acquired, and the results of karma, as well as its implications for leading a Jain lifestyle. Whether you know all of this theory or it is completely new to you, we hope reviewing this month’s content will help you reflect on ways you could be doing more punya and less paap in your life!
The theme for this month is Temple & Rituals. This month's material will allow you to dive into the intersection between Jain philosophy and practice, by explaining the reasons for going to temple, the meaning of rituals like puja and sathiyo, and the significance of Samayik and Pratikraman. Whether you know all about these rituals or they are new to you, we hope reviewing our Pathshala content will make your next trip to the temple more meaningful!
The theme for this month is Jainism 101 and basic Jain principles. This month's material will get you oriented by giving you a high-level overview of Jainism and its most fundamental tenets, including the 3 A's, 5 major principles, and fundamental concepts like karma and moksha. Whether you have encountered these principles many times before and are just refreshing your memory or they are entirely new to you, don't forget to take time to think about how you can apply them!
By the end of the course, students should:
- Be familiar with basic Jain philosophy (as given by the monthly topics on the syllabus)
- Understand the meaning and practice of basic daily/yearly Jain rituals and practice
- Be aware of what resources they can access for more information about Jainism
- Be able to discuss the application of Jain principles to daily life
- Rihi Jain
- Vishal Jain
- Krishna Mody
- Bhuvni Shah
- Kriti Shah
- Moksh Shah
- Yashvi Vardhan