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Washington D.C., May 23, 2001: Nearly 200 Jains from across the United States were on hand to hear Gurudev Shree Chitrabhanuji, a Jain priest from New York, deliver the opening prayer to the US House of Representatives. Chitrabhanuji spent 28 years as a Jain monk. During his years in India, he founded the Divine Knowledge Society and other social welfare organizations. Dr. Mahendra Pandya, national president of the Jain Associations in North America said, "We should be proud about this event that the Jain religion, the Jain culture and the philosophy is also being recognized, not only in India, but now also throught out the world through this national prayer in the US Congress." The prayer was organized by Representative Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat.