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The Prince of Wales marks the 25th anniversary of the Institute of Jainology

22nd January 2015

The Prince of Wales is presented with the Ahimsa Award by Nemu Chandaria (left) which recognises individuals who show compassion and tolerance to humanity, animals and the environment during a tour of the Jain Temple

The Prince of Wales is presented with the Ahimsa Award by Nemu Chandaria (left) which recognises individuals who show compassion and tolerance to humanity, animals and the environment during a tour of the Jain Temple

The Prince of Wales marked the 25th anniversary of the Institute of Jainology today, during a visit to the UK's largest Jain Temple in Potters Bar.

On his arrival at the Temple, The Prince was anointed with the tilak, a yellow paste made from sandalwood and saffron, and a garland of dried flowers covered in sandalwood dust was placed over his shoulders.

During the tour of Jain Derasar, which is the only Jain Temple in Europe to be built using the ancient Indian architectural style, Asha Metul Shah sang the Namoukar Mantra in Prakrit for His Royal Highness.

The Prince was anointed with the tilak, a yellow paste made from sandalwood and saffron, and a garland of dried flowers covered in sandalwood dust

The Prince was anointed with the tilak, a yellow paste made from sandalwood and saffron, and a garland of dried flowers covered in sandalwood dust

Speaking during his visit, The Prince said: "I am enormously flattered that you have invited me here to open your newly refurbished Assembly Halls and to tour your magnificent temple.  It was particularly fascinating to learn the meaning behind the many carved patterns and the structure of the Derasar, even down to why it is aligned on its North Easterly axis.  It is as if every inch of the building reflects the meaning of those universal principles which underpin all of the world’s great sacred traditions."

To mark his visit, The Prince was presented with a special Ahimsa Award by the Institute of Jainology, which is awarded in recognition of individuals who show compassion and tolerance to humanity, animals and the environment.

To mark the Institute’s 25 years, a special Ahimsa Anniversary Award was presented to The Prince of Wales for his work encouraging inter-faith dialogue and greater understanding of different religions, his passion for protecting the environment and nature, and his commitment to the creation of sustainable communities for future generations.

A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales during a visit to the Jain Temple and Oshwal Centre in Potters Bar

Published on 22nd January 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, I am most grateful and deeply touched by your generous gesture in giving me this award.  Ahimsa is clearly a sacred principle which we should all try to follow as a matter of course, but if I have earned it at all, I can only imagine it may be something to do with my inadequate efforts to help curb the harm we do to the one and only precious Earth that sustains us all.

I am enormously flattered that you have invited me here to open your newly refurbished Assembly Halls and to tour your magnificent temple.  It was particularly fascinating to learn the meaning behind the many carved patterns and the structure of the Derasar, even down to why it is aligned on its North Easterly axis.  It is as if every inch of the building reflects the meaning of those universal principles which underpin all of the world’s great sacred traditions.   It is worth remembering, perhaps, that before the advent of the modern era, every culture around the world - and for thousands, if not tens of thousands of years - found that the same patterns and geometric relationships express the same principles that are universally considered sacred to life which is a warning to us, surely, not to ignore them...

I was particularly struck by the fact that each carved stone or section of the building arrived here from Central India like bits of a giant jigsaw, and they fitted together so precisely and perfectly that the pieces themselves hold up the entire structure.  Not only is this a wonderful example of the sort of enduring excell ...

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