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Welcome to Arihanta Institute

From Arihanta Institute
May 2024

Arihanta Institute’s goal is to become the world’s leading Jain educational institution with renowned scholars and researchers in order to acquaint the world with the treasure of these venerated teachings by democratizing Jain studies worldwide.


Arihanta Institute’s mission is to build a world-class online institution for deeper learning of the Jain tradition, its principles, and how these principles apply to daily life for the benefit and well-being of individuals and society in light of today’s most pressing concerns.

We currently offer courses taught by world-renowned scholars and other community leaders with experience in teaching applications of Jain philosophy, all of whom cultivate scholastic richness for any level of studying and research in Jain philosophy, history, and anthropology and related dharmic, yogic, and linguistic subjects. We also offer courses that bring allied fields of inquiry into dialogue with the Jain tradition including animal studies, environmental studies, social justice, psychology, professional ethics, and more. In total, our curriculum is comprised of six areas of learning: Animal Advocacy and Biodiversity, Climate Change and Environment, Jain Philosophy, History and Anthropology, Social Justice, Yoga, Self-care and Spirituality, and Professional Ethics.

In the near future, we plan to offer college-level degree-earning courses as we seek to become an accredited university. While we pursue university accreditation with the appropriate rigor of courses for higher education, Arihanta Institute will continue to provide a channel for certificate earning introductory courses for students of all ages who are seeking to deepen their learning outside of degree programs.

From the introductory level to advanced research, and from theoretical studies to practical applications in daily life, Arihanta Institute provides outstanding Jain education. Our advanced technology platform and logistical resources enable a rich learning experience that is flexible for modern living and learning styles. Yet, the cornerstone of our offerings will always be the rigorous teaching of the Jain tradition by distinguished and experienced scholars who have excelled in Jain studies and allied fields of inquiry.

Arihanta Institute’s vision is that Jain philosophy and practice will become more widely known, appreciated, and adopted through enhanced and accessible education in Jain teachings and practice.

The inspiration behind this vision is a profound message from Acharya Sushil Kumar, one of the most revered Jain monks of recent time – a pioneer who travelled outside of India to globally promote Jain philosophy and the message of peace and brotherhood. He stated:

Lord Tirthankaras
Lord Tirthankaras

“I firmly believe in the profound impact of spirituality on society’s cultural, social, and political fabric. Only ahimsā and peaceful means can provide lasting solutions for human disputes and environmental problems we currently face.

The teachings of Lord Tīrthankaras will reverse the downward spiral of human quality, and we must do everything possible to make the world aware of their venerated wisdom. Along with the temples of worship, we must create temples of learning by establishing high-quality institution(s) to teach Jain philosophy and promote the esteemed Jain scholarship. This is crucial not only for the flourishment of Jain dharma but for the survival of humanity.”

Our Story

The founding of Arihanta Institute is an inspiring story. The thought of creating a world-class educational institute for Jain studies in America had been in the works for over twenty years before its start in 2021. Parveen Jain, PhD, the founder and a technology entrepreneur and leader; Christopher Jain Miller, PhD, a professor of Jain and Yoga studies; and Dhanesh Kothari, also a technology entrepreneur, met in April 2021 in what felt like a karmically and divinely orchestrated plan to create an online teaching institution to advance Jain studies and practice throughout the world.

Prior to that, Parveen, under the guidance of his guru, Acharya Sushil Kumar, had already started developing the concept of advanced Jain education in 1992/93 to build a Jain university. The project was put on hold when Acharya Sushil Kumar left his body in 1994.

In April 2021, Parveen connected with Christopher and Dhanesh, who had together been independently developing plans in Switzerland for an online higher education platform for Jain studies. Together, they founded Arihanta Institute, and a few months later Pramod Patel, a businessman and ardent student and teacher of Srimad Rajchandra’s teachings, joined the founding team.

The passion of Parveen and co-founders Christopher, Dhanesh, and Pramod for democratizing Jain studies and for strengthening the practical application of Jain philosophy to daily life through online learning has manifested in the platform you see before you.

Our Impact

Jain teachings have inspired renowned social and political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. Furthermore, the tradition has always been at the forefront of promoting integrated and interdependent living, as expressed in the precept “parasparopagraho jīvānām,” meaning that all life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence, for better or for worse. This precept and the broader Jain way of life have directly and indirectly served as thematic motivation for movements like veganism, animal rights, social justice, and sustainability both within and outside the Jain tradition worldwide.

As an institution we seek to demonstrate how Jain principles such as non-violence, non-possession, charity, compassion, and many more can be put into practice within the context of globalized society’s complex, manifold challenges including climate change, environmental degradation, social injustice, speciesism, and much more.

In order to bring this vision to reality, our course offerings present Jain philosophical and ethical principles in the context of these everyday concerns, in both introductory and advanced formats. Our instructors introduce students to allied fields of inquiry such as animal studies, environmental studies, social justice studies, food studies, psychology, and professional ethics.

All of these fields contain, to varying degrees, science and data-backed insights that show how Jain principles can be most effectively lived and expressed in contemporary life and society.

In addition to our courses, our faculty are also engaged in advanced research in Jain Studies and allied fields of inquiry. Through this research, they advance the field of Jain studies with new translations of Jain texts, engage new academic fields in dialogue with Jain principles and bring the field into new and unchartered territory.

Everyone, whether born Jain or not, irrespective of their background, profession, or lifestyle, can benefit from Jain studies. In turn, they can help to build a more just, peaceful, and sustainable society. Yet until now, access to Jain studies has been limited and not readily accessible to those living outside of India.

Arihanta Institute’s goal is, therefore, to become the world’s leading Jain educational institution with renowned scholars and researchers in order to acquaint the world with the treasure of these venerated teachings by democratizing Jain studies worldwide.

What is the meaning of Arihanta in the institute’s name?

Arihanta is an enlightened soul (jīva), worthy of worship, who has attained omniscience (supreme wisdom and clairvoyance) and perfect conduct, has eliminated all of the karmas that can be destroyed with penance and austerities, and is still in bodily form.

What is the significance of Arihanta Institute’s logo?

The images in the center of the Arihanta Institute logo are mantras symbolizing knowledge of the external, the internal and the Supreme. The three words in the lower part of the outer ring convey the interdependent significance of scholarship, knowledge and consciousness. There are many ways to interpret the oft-repeated cliche "Knowledge is power." Popularly understood, this phrase simply means that the more knowledge we have, the more powerful we become as the new opportunities emerge.

Posted on All-Creatures: May 24, 2024
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