NRI Couple to Receive Inaugural Ahimsa Award
Gurudev Chitrabhanuji & Mrs. Chitrabhanu to Receive Inaugural Claremont Lincoln Ahimsa Award
Los Angeles, June 14, 2013
Claremont Lincoln University is pleased to announce that its first annual Ahimsa Award will go to Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji and Mrs. Pramodaben Chitrabhanu. The couple will receive the award at a gala celebration on Oct. 2, 2013, International Ahimsa Day.
In 2007, the United Nations established October 2 as an International Day of Non-Violence in honor of the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. To honor this important celebration, Claremont Lincoln University has instituted an annual Ahimsa Award, given to the person who their Selection Committee feels most embodies the principle of Ahimsa. Because of the Chitrabhanus’ synergistic, outstanding, and long collaboration in furthering Ahimsa, which is a cornerstone of Jain beliefs, the Committee decided to award them as a couple.
“All of us in the Claremont Lincoln community take great joy at the selection of these two saintly individuals,” said Dr. Philip Clayton, Claremont Lincoln University Provost and Executive Vice President. “The news will not only be welcomed by the international Jain community, but also by the friends of Ahimsa in whatever tradition they may practice.”
GURUDEV SHRI CHITRABHANUJI is a Jain pioneer, global leader, and author of more than 26 books, which reflect his philosophy of world peace and nonviolence, emphasizing the need to appreciate the sanctity of all life and to build solidarity in the larger family of humankind.
According to Forbes magazine, “Shri Chitrabhanuji represents a … brilliant message of non-violence, tolerance, compassion, and the embrace of … the ecological interdependency of all living beings. After millennia, this potent ethical ideal has become key to the biological sciences, as well as inspiring such people as … Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Formerly a Jain monk, Shri Chitrabhanuji’s western Ahimsa Pilgrimage began with an invitation to speak at Harvard Divinity School in 1971. Now, fittingly, his life mission has brought him to Claremont Lincoln University on the other side of America in 2013.
He gave up his vow of monkhood because of the call to bring Ahimsa principles to the West. He married Pramodaben and together they embarked on a mission to bring the message and teaching of Bhagwan Mahaveer – Ahimsa to the west. Thanks in a great part to the couple’s influence since then, there has been significant growth of Jain principles in the western world, to the point where some American schools are even experimenting with vegetarian meals for student lunches.
MRS. PRAMODABEN CHITRABHANU, spiritual companion of Gurudev Chitrabhanu, is Director of the Jain Meditation International Center in New York, Director of PETA India, and advisor to the Jivadaya (Reverence for Life) Committee of JAINA. A global leader, Pramodaji’s mission takes her to many parts of the world. She connects particularly well with the youth because her approach is genuinely secular and multi-cultural. This is one of the reasons why she has admirers all over the world, whose lives have been transformed by her gentle, rational, and persuasive guidance. She also works for the Vegetarian Society of Mumbai by promoting vegetarianism and veganism and is the author of numerous books including a vegetarian cookbook.