Indian-American Congressman honors Jain scholar & poet in House of Representatives


Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi’s love for Indian classical music and arts is a well-known affair, as he is often seen publicly supporting and creating spaces for such artists whenever he has the opportunity.

On that regard, he has recently brought the limelight on life of the remarkable Jain poet, scholar, religious leader, and philosopher Shrimad Rajchandra in the House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, October 20, Krishnamoorthi, in his remarks to the House of Representatives, acknowledged the many writings, in particular his poetic spiritual masterpiece, Atmasiddhi Shastra.

“Born in 1867 in the Indian port city of Vavania (in Gujarat), Rajchandraji was drawn to religious life from an early age. His spiritual odyssey led him to Jainism and its core belief of ahimsa or non-violence (the ethical principle of not causing harm to other living beings),” he said.

Rajchandra scaled great spiritual heights and demystified the path to self-discovery in an effortless manner relevant to the contemporary social environment, he said.

“Even in a short life of 34 years, Rajchandra gave the world a rich heritage that continues to guide generations of seekers. His life and works have been compiled and published in a volume titled Shrimad Rajchandra, the contents of which are an inspiration to turn within and discover life’s eternal truths,” the Congressman said.

In his early spiritual and philosophical writings, Rajchandra wrote about the importance of women’s education and the practices that cultivate the essential mindset of non-attachment and authored many commentaries on spirituality and Jain religious beliefs.

“Rajchandraji was a visionary who laid the foundations of Jain spirituality for a new era. He composed Atmasiddhi Shastra in the late 19th century to present the six spiritual truths and the path to self-realization. The poem is revered by many seekers as a masterpiece of spiritual enlightenment and guidance,” Krishnamoorthi said.

In 1891, Rajchandra was introduced to a young Indian lawyer named Mohandas Gandhi, he said, adding that this encounter led to a long friendship and mentorship between Rajchandra and the future father of modern India.

In his autobiography, Gandhi paid homage to his spiritual mentor by noting that ‘in my moments of spiritual crisis, Shrimad Ji was my refuge’.

“Madam Speaker, I also take this opportunity to commend Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshji, spiritual visionary and global humanitarian leader, who has devoted his life to sharing the wisdom of Shrimad Rajchandra through the work of the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur,” he said.

Krishnamoorthi said that Rakeshji’s impact in fostering peace and serving society, aligned with Rajchandra philosophy, has been recognized by various prestigious forums and contemporary spiritual leaders globally.

“Madam Speaker, I want to recognize Shrimad Rajchandra Ji’s teachings on the importance of non-violence, truth and peace, which are as relevant today as they were to Mahatma Gandhi over a century ago, and the guidance and comfort provided to his devotees by the epic masterpiece, Atmasiddhi Shastra,” Krishnamoorthi added.