You might be thinking that Jainism is just an Indian Religion with a mere 0.37% of the Indian Population! Yes, the Statistics are right!
But, you will be shocked when we tell you about the Famous Westerners who were/are Jains!
Jainism is the most peaceful religion has been appreciated across the borders to faraway lands!
Jainism was introduced to Germany and rest of European countries by some scholars of Indology in 17th to 19th Century.
It was Virchand Gandhi, a Barrister from India who introduced this religion to North America and the world through World Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893.
Barrister Champatray Jain, another Jain scholar from India, introduced Jainism to England.
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A lot of research was done by European scholars in 18th to Early half of 20th Century. But all this was limited to promotion of just knowledge.
Then came the second half of last Century. A large number of Jains from India, Uganda, Kenya and some other countries migrated to Europe and North America.
Although they were not interested in propagating Jainism in non-Jains, people of other faiths slowly got attracted towards this less known religion.
A small but increasing number of people started to adopt Jainism.
Here we are introducing some of the great western individuals, who have converted to Jainism.
Italian Pop Singer Claudia Pastorino
Pop Singer Claudia Pastorino
Claudia Pastorino is a famous Pop Singer from Italy. Claudia was born in Genova. She was attracted to Jainism and dedicated herself to study this faith.
She has written many books on Jainism in the Italian language.
She learned Prakrit language and translated Saman Suttam in Italian.
She also translated the famous book on Jainism, The Book of Compassion, in the Italian language.
She works for Animal Rights and is a staunch vegetarian
Patrick Krueger from Germany
Patrick Krueger from Germany
Patrick F. Krueger, born 1972 in Tübingen, is head of the Center for Jaina Studies (CfJS) of Freie Universität Berlin.
He attended Rudolf Steiner School of Anthroposophy (Theosophy) until 1990 and spent afterwards several years in Sweden, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Afterwards, he studied Ancient and Modern Scandinavian Philology, Norse History and Archaeology at Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität Greifswald and assisted in a research project on old Icelandic language (computational linguistics) as well as in the development of a dictionary of modern Icelandic language.
Subsequently, he graduated in History of Indian Art (including Sanskrit) and East Asian Art (including the Tibetan language) at Freie Universität Berlin and Ancient and Modern History of South Asia at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
At Freie Universität Berlin he was introduced to Jainism and Jaina Studies by Prof. Klaus Bruhn who is one of the leading experts in Jainology and was once a student of Ludwig Alsdorf and Walther Schubring.
Patrick Krueger is focused on Jaina Art, History and Religion. In 2011 he
founded the Center for Jaina Studies at the Department of History and Cultural Studies of Freie Universität Berlin.
In addition to his academic activity, he is committed to spreading the knowledge of Jainism and Ahimsa to the non-academic public. Hence he joined in 2010 the team of the Jaina web portal and online magazine HereNow4U.net.
Pierre Amiel from France
Ba Ba Jainisme (Basics of Jainism) by Pierre Amiel
Pierre Amiel A French Jain
Pierre Amiel is a retired Public Administrator from France.
He first heard about Jainism at the age of 22. After retirement in 1993, he decided to promote Jainism in French language and started to write articles in Jain Spirit, a Jain magazine published from England.
In1998 his first book on Jainism, the French translation of Lord Mahavira: A Study in Historical Perspective was published. In very next year, his another book Le Jainisme, Philosophie et Religion de L’Inde a translation of Dr Vilas Sangave’s English book Aspects of Jain Religion was published.
In 2003, his own book Les Jains aujourd’hui dans le monde was published which later got translated into English and published as Jains Today in The World by a Jainology research Institute from India. In 2008 his another book B.A.-B.A. Jainisme was published. He has also introduced Tavarth Sutra, Samay Sar and Niyam Sar in the French language.
He has given several lectures on Jainism in seminars.
Dr. Michael Tobias
Life Force: The World of Jainism, a book by Dr. Michael Tobias
Film Maker Author Dr. Michael Tobias
Dr. Michael Tobias is a Film Maker, Author and Ecologist. He has written several books on Ecology, Animal Rights, Jainism and other subjects. One of his famous book on Jainism is Life Force: The World of Jainism, which is known as the Best book on Jainism.
He produced a film on Jainism Ahimsa –Nonviolence which was released all over the United States and appreciated on large scale.
He regularly writes on various subjects in American print media, including the Forbes magazine.
Charlotte Laws, American Author
Charlotte Laws: a Multi-Dimensional Personality
Charlotte Laws is an American author and Animal Rights, Activist. She is also a politician from Los Angeles.
She also hosts some TV shows and is an actress too.
She has written two books on Jains and Jainism
Dr. Robert Zydenbos is a renowned scholar of Jainism and Dravidian studies. He was born in Canada and is of Dutch origin. He has written several books on Jainism, including Moksha in Jainism, and Jainism Today and its Future.
He regularly visits Dharmasthala and Shravanabelagola in Karnataka, India, the sacred places of Jains.
Dr Natalia Zheleznova from Russia
Dr Natalia Zheleznova: Russian Scholar
Dr Natalia Zheleznova is research scholar of Jainism in Moscow State University Russia. She has a deep study and faith in the literature of Acharya Kundkunda. Has visited Shravanabelagola. Recently she got Kund Kund Bharati Award from Kund Kund Bharati, a Prakrit research institute from New Delhi.
Dimitris Gf Jain from Greece
Dimitris Gf Jain: A Jain from Greece
Dimitris Gf Jain was born to orthodox Christian couple of Greece, but he never embraced Christianity due to philosophical reasons. He embraced his own lifestyle and later got to know it matched with Jain philosophy and its teaching.
He is a Vegan Jain, knows Greek, English and Hindi languages. He is probably the only Jain in Greece.
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Also published on Medium.