Though Jain monks seldom travel outside India, His Holiness Dr. Vasanth Vijay Maharaj detoured to Chicago to honor the Parliament with a illuminating visit, taking precious time from a rare U.S. tour.
His Holiness is the first Jain saint to be appointed as the Ambassador of Peace by the United Nations and the Diplomatic Consular from India by the International Parliament of Safety and Peace. He was honored with the Public Peace Prize for 2014 and was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee in 2010. Dr. Maharaj spoke at the 2015 Parliament and presented the Parliament's inaugural Ahimsa Award to the Charter for Compassion.
His steadfast devotion to seeking peace at all levels of society lines up beautifully with the arm of the Parliament’s mission focused on engaging guiding institutions to end systemic injustice, increase viable environmental practices, and strive for peace and an end to violence.
Citing his multitude of accomplishments, the Parliament presented His Holiness with an expression of appreciation for his contributions to the Parliament of the World's Religions.
Parliament Executive Director Rev. Dr. Larry Greenfield and Parliament Trustee Mr. Kirit Daftary, a member of the Jain tradition and past president of JAINA, presented His Holiness a special recognition award honoring Extraordinary Achievements in the Promotion of Local, National and Global Peace.
Also present at the award ceremony were Mandakini Pokharna; PWR Trustee Emeritus Hema Pokharna; Miyesh Kamdar, Center Leader of Dharampur's Srimad Rajchandra Mission; and Jayesh Shah, a member of the Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago.
Dr. Maharaj attained Sainthood in 1998. Today, he has over 100 peace centers, charitable trusts and branches in India and abroad, where millions of his followers carry out numerous peaceful activities under his holy guidance.
Watch his riveting 10-minute address to the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions to learn more about Dr. Maharaj’s approach to peace.