jain religion and teachings of bhagwan mahavir



(continued from Chapter 7a)

In a similar way, Digambar sect deeply venerates Acharya Kundakundacharya for his substantive interpretation of the ancient Jain scriptures through his 23 works.

Extract from Adi Puran Showing Renunciation of Adinath, The Founder Tirthankar

Among them Samayasaar stands out as the most original contribution to the digambar jain philosophy. In the Mangalacharan, Digambars include his name after Bhagawan Mahavir and Ganadhar Gautam Swamy as follows:

Mangalam Bhagwan Viro, mangalam Gautam gani

Mangalam Kundakundaryo, Jaina dharmostu mangalam.

However, it was only 150 years later at the third conference in Valabhi in 520 A.D. led by Acharya Devardhigani Kshamashramana that the Mathura and Valabhi versons were synchronised, and the process of writing them down commenced. This historic conference was attended by renowned saints like Nagarjuna, Kalkacharya, Jinabhadraguni,Skandilacharya,, Dhaneshwar Suri, Haribhadra Shilank and others The tradition of constantly enriching religious literature continued in the coming centuries. Notably  Acharya Sidhasen Diwakar wrote KALYAN SUTRA and SANMATI-TARKA systematically explaining in particular the principle of Anekantvad. Acharya Haribhadra Suri (705-755 A.D. ) wrote 1444 books among them DASAVAIKALIKA-Tika, ANUYOGADWARA and Yoga Drishti Samuchchaya. Silanka Suri wrote commentaries on Acaranga and Sutrakrtanga in 700 A.D.

Acharya Haribhadra Suri wrote Shravaka Dharma Samas in 900 A.D. Abhayadev Suri wrote commentaries on 9 out of 11 Angas in 1100 A.D. Hemchandra Suri composed over 30 million shlokas (stanzas) and the renowned Vyakaran with 3568 sutras in 900 A.D. Between 10th to 19th centuries,  noteworthy literature was created by great saints like Jineshwar Suri (11th century), Upadhyay Jinpal (13th century), Shekhar Suri (15th century), Acharya Hemchandra Suri (11-12th century), Acharya Jawaharlal, Devbhadra Suri and others. It was on the inspiration of Acharya Hemchandra that King Kumarpal issued a Declaration on Ahimsa, and propagated universal adoption of vegetarianism and practice of compassion in his kingdom.

Hirvijay Suri was a well-known Acharya of the 16th century who persuaded Emperor Akbar to issue proclamation prohibiting animal slaughter on certain Jain religious days. Yogi Anandaghani and Upadhyay Yashovijay wrote extensively during that period in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Gujarati. Srimad Rajchand wrote ATMASIDHDHI SHASTRA and MOKSHAMALA in the 19th century. He also deeply influenced Mahatma Gandhi and planted in him abiding faith in the principle and practice of Ahimsa.

In the 20th century, notable creative contribution in highly enlightening style in enriching Jain literature as well as interpreting and establishing relevance of Jain principles and philosophy in contemporary times has come from Acharya Tulsi and his successor Acharya Mahapragya from the Terapanth Swetambar sect, Acharya Vidyanandji and Acharya Vidyasagarji from the Digambar sect, Sthanakvasi Pattadhar Acharya Devendra Muni and Acharya Shiv muni, Songarh Acharya Kanji Swami, Srimad Rajchandra, Acharya Chandanaji, Gyanmati Mataji and Sadhvi Kanak Prabhaji. Acharya Chandanaji’s VEERAYATAN movement has successfully put focus on serving the poor and the needy and in participating in disaster relief efforts.

Acharya Sushilkumarji, originally from the Sthanakvasi sect and Gurudev Chitrabhanuji chose to break the conduct rules of the monks and traveled abroad to spread the message of Jainism. Both have made distinguished contribution towards Jainisms global spread and impact inter-alia by popularizing techniques of yoga and meditation as well as vegetarianism. Acharya Sushilkumarji pioneered the establishment of SIDDHACHALAM in New Jersey in U.S.A. as a pilgrimage center (Tirth) jointly for all the Jain sects and traditions. It is welcome that all over U.S.A. and Canada, Jain temples have followed that tradition which has served to keep the Jain community abroad united and cohesive.

(end of Chapter 7)