Building a temple requires an amalgamation of strong faith, blessings, determination, fate, support from the communities and a cohesiveness of the congregation. None of this happens without tribulations and doubts. At times human weaknesses take over and the task appears too immense to tackle. This is where blessings become a source of energy, faith takes over and determination results. Fate and support arrive and projects are completed. Our responsibility is to maintain the cohesiveness of the congregation in order that we see our vision become a reality. This has been our experience in building a Jain temple in Wisconsin within a very small community. We hope that our story becomes an inspiration for others all across the globe.
The largest gathering of Jains in Milwaukee was under very adverse conditions. An eight-year-old boy in our community died in a garage door accident. Samnijis Smit Pragnaji and Mudit Pragnaji who had visited us a week earlier were requested to come back to bless the dying boy. The leadership and philosophical discourse by the Samnijis during their second visit lit a spiritual spark in the Jain community in Wisconsin. Since then several spiritual leaders have provided their guidance and encouragement to this community to strengthen our faith. Among the renowned scholars who have visited us are Dr. Hukamchand Bharill, Bhattarakji, Pandit Dhirjlal Mehta, Shubhamji and Samanijis and Samanjis. This faith has become the foundation of our temple.
Self-doubts mar even strong faith from time to time. When true expenses for the construction of the temple multiplied many folds from the initial estimates, it seemed impossible for less than 30 families to take on the burden. Yet with these doubts we decided to go ahead with the Bhumi-pujan and invited Shri Shubhamji for her blessings. Her statement “ficure mut karo Arhant Bhagwanke ashirwad se sub thik ho jaye ga” minimized our deepest concerns. The project moved forward with new vigor.
Armed with Faith and Blessings, members of this community have taken this challenge to see the project to its completion. Relentless efforts, and viewing obstacles as opportunities have made this project a reality. The temple has become a second home for Anil Mehta who has paid attention to the minute details of all aspects of the construction. When our original plans for obtaining Pratimaji’s failed, Hemant Jain took up the task. He visited India and seeked Mr. Nirmal Doshi’s assistance. This was the most critical task and it was successfully achieved.