What is the hardest task in the world?

Every substance is negatively electric to that which stands above it in the chemical tables, positively to that which stands below it. Water dissolves wood and iron and salt; air dissolves water; electric fire dissolves air. What is it that is insoluble? Should not man pursue that which is insoluble? Intellect, for knowledge dissolves fire, gravity, laws, method, and the subtlest unnamed relations of nature. Intellect lies behind power, anterior to all action or construction. It is intellect that takes us out from darkness and leads us into the marvelous light of the day. It is intellect that melts will into perception, knowledge into act. Each becomes the other. Its vision is not like the vision of the eye, but is union with the things known and unknown. Thus the hardest task in the world is to be an intellect, to gain knowledge and turn that into a positive force.

Practicing religion without understanding the core facts underlying the kriya is ineffectual. Genuine practice of religion requires a through understanding of knowledge that is visualized and poised within the soul.

As soon as the Dramnath Jinalay was built, a need was felt soon after for a religious school (pathshala). A noble pair of brothers Shah Jivraj Leedhar and Mothilal Leedhar, decided to fulfill the need by constructing a patashal where the sangh members could study and gain knowledge of the Jain religion. Jivrajbhai dedicated the pathshala in the loving memory of his father Shah Dhanji Leedhar, in the Vikram Samvat 1964 and donated it to the Sangh. It was named Shah Dhanji Leeladhar Deravashi Shri Cochin Jain Shala. A learned pandit was hired for the purpose.

The First Board of the Patshala

In the past hundred years of its history, the pathshala had to be closed for a short while due to lack of attendance by the students. Good fortune always supports good cause. Religion is an all-important matter in an individual's spiritual path. The essence of Jain religious education is not that people should think, but that they should believe as a logical culmination. The bridge for which cannot be let to remain closed for long.

In samvat 2016, that is on 28th February 1960, the patshala was reopened and made to function by a large sum of donation from Shrimati Hirbhai Anandji Dand. A singular hall especially to be used for the pathshala and for other religious functions was constructed by Hirbhai Anandji Dand. It was renamed as Shri Heerbhai Jain Dharmik Pathshala. A pundit was not available immediately, so smt Heerbhai Anandji Dand and Smt Velbai Megji Malshi Dand, took charge, both being quite well versed with scriptures of Jainism; took the mantle of imparting knowledge to the seekers. Real charity is not donating money, but when you give you give yourself to the cause. We salute the services of such selfless individuals.

For the last forty-four years the pathshala has being functioning unhindered and growing multifold. At present it has the strength of 150 students. The youngest student being a two-year-old toddler and the oldest being a seventy two year old lady. Smt Hiraben Moolchand Parekh is the spiritual guide, respectfully called "Ben" by the students. The Sangh appreciates her commitment towards the students and bestows a fair remuneration for her unflinching service.

A teacher affects eternity; we can never tell where his/her influence stops. The patashala has been blessed to have the services of great teachers of the like of Shrimati Premabhai Padamshi Lodaya and Shimati Gulabben. Their names are taken here with pride and thankfulness.

Parents first season us, then schoolmasters.
To impart spiritual knowledge
The rules of reason, righteous teachers
Have refined the conviction
Giving brilliance a better discerning

The method, in which knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation, is mostly verbal. The student is required to remember the sutra, scriptures and other religious rituals orally. No notebooks, the student is educated and learned by rote, to radiate forever into their mind, heart, and soul.

The art of living purposely is the art of examining the vast storehouse of beliefs, dropping the out-moded ones, consciously choosing those that serve ones goals, and carefully crafting new ones in greatest alignment with the objectives. For which an examination is a must. The students appear for the exams soon after the Paryushan parv (the eight day jain festival). Every individual has a different question paper, as per what he has learned over the last one year. The Sangh also awards those students that have done exceptionally well in the exams.

For the benefit of the young children and also housewives, the pathshala is open from 8 am in the morning to 10 a.m and again in the afternoon from 3pm to 4:30 pm. Saturday and Sundays it functions for half day. During the Paryushan parv and Ayambil Oli, it however remains closed. On the very next day of Mahavir Janam Vanchan day distribution of notebook and pen to the students is regularly carried out by the pathshala. Many such incentives are carried out routinely to encourage the students. The Jain Dharmik Heerbahi Pathshala is running smoothly today thanks to its regular patrons.

The Jain Pathshala cochin is most unique in imparting religious teachings, for it does not discriminate and impose the doctrines of a single school of thought. Knowledge is instructed by neither confounding the persons: nor dividing the substance. The Anekantvad principle in Jainism, yet again binds the community together. As a result the students are taught according to the Achhal Gachcha and Tap Gachcha Samachari, or as wished by them. Hence Students may belong to different sects of Jainism, but pathshala does not enforce any one particular text.

Letting a hundred flowers blossom along with different schools of thought is the guiding principle for promoting augmentation in the religious forbearance and a flourishing socialist culture in our temple and land. In the fog of good and evil affections it is hard for man to walk forward in a straight line. This is where the pathshala by teaching perfect knowledge guide the student right from the tender age towards perfect vision resulting in perfect character. Shri Jitesh Arvind Vora a student of this pathshala paved ahead on this very path and today he is Muni Jivbandhu Vijayji. May many such buds blossom making the community proud.