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The Quest of Every Heart

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Mike Shreve was a teacher of yoga at four universities. (The portrait above was drawn by one of his students in 1970.) Then a spiritual rebirth brought him into a real relationship with God and drastically changed his heart, his life and his belief system.  Read his story here.

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TheTrueLight.Net
Site Completed–10/15/01
Major Revision—5/28/03
Last Updated–03/19/09

The True Light Project
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Cleveland, TN 37320
Phone: (423) 478-2843
Fax: (423) 479-2980

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©2002 copyright
Mike Shreve.
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THE RAISED PALM - The open palm is a sign of peace, adopted by Jains in 1975, the 2,500th anniversary of the enlightenment of the founder, Mahavira. The palm often has the word ahimsa written on it, meaning non-violence: one of the basic articles of faith in this religion.


Jainism

The word "Jain" refers to a follower of the Jinas (a word meaning "those who conquer"). Individuals known as Jinas were, therefore, "conquerors' of this world and of their own fleshly existence. Twenty-four such persons are revered in Jainism, the last of which was Mahavira, the founder of this religion. These are also known as Tirthankaras, a word that means "ford-maker" (a great teacher who guides others across the "river' of transmigration).

His name was originally Vardhamana Jnatiputra. Born in 599 B.C., he was a contemporary of Buddha. Later on he was given the name Mahavira, meaning "great hero," because of his courage and self-control. As the son of a king, Mahavira was raised in royal and opulent surroundings. When both his parents died, Mahavira wanted to renounce the world, but his brother convinced him to stay home for two years. For these two years he practiced self-discipline and abstaining from luxuries. During the last year of this stage in his life, Mahavira gave charity to beggars every day.

At age thirty he totally renounced his princely life including his wife, wealth, home, and clothing and for the next twelve years spent his time in silence and deep meditation, fasting often. During this time, Mahavira carefully avoided harming any living thing including plants. According to Jainist tradition, at the end of this period he achieved keval-jnana or "perfect perception, knowledge, and bliss." Mahavira then spent the next thirty years traveling as a barefoot mendicant preaching his message on non-violence and renunciation of the world.

Though it emerged in a predominantly Hindu culture, Jainism rejects the idea that the Vedas are divinely inspired. However, they similarly embrace a belief in reincarnation and the need for enlightenment in order to escape the cycle of rebirths. Jainism, like Buddhism, is basically non-theistic, though the worship of certain saints (siddhas) is promoted, and, most importantly, the adoration of the Tirthankaras (the Jinas). Non-violence to any living thing is a dominant doctrine in Jainism.


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"In Search of the True Light" 2002 copyright by Mike Shreve.
All articles unless otherwise noted are copyright by Mike Shreve.
Personal Stories are the work of the individuals.
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