Glory of Jainism: Shri Suracharya

Published: 13.08.2012

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Shri Suracharya

Suracharya also occupies an important position among the first rank of versatile Acharyas (head of a medicant group) of the Solanki period in Gujarat. His scholarship was profound while his poetic power was matchless. In his teaching, he never allowed or tolerated any short-coming or lethargy. In case any of his pupils made mistakes in his lesson, he was beaten with a wooden stick of a broom. However, as the stick would break because of frequent beating he decided to have an iron-rod. As his Guru came to know about it, he restrained Suracharya from doing so and in a scolding tone he said, "If you are so much proud of your knowledge, it would be worthwhile to prove yourself victorious in the learned assembly of versatile scholars of king Bhoj of Malava. The iron-rod that you intend to have is like a weapon of Yamraj, the God of Death and a symbol of terror. It doesn't befit a Sadhu who is committed to fearlessness."

These utterances of the Guru mellowed Suracharya's harshness. It was a strange coincidence that king Bhoj had sent a meaningful puzzle by way of a shloka (verse) that was meant to test the scholarship and knowledge of the learned assembly of king Bhimdev of Gujarat. Bhimdev was lost in deep thoughts and he told the learned scholars of his court about the challenge by way of a puzzle and all the state ministers as also the scholars were of the opinion that only Suracharya was competent for that task.

King Bhoj respectfully invited Suracharya to the court and told him about the answer to be sent for the puzzle he had sent. Guru's words, recently uttered, were still ringing in the ears of Suracharya. Just on arrival, Suracharya composed a poetic message that contained the solution of the puzzle sent by king Bhoj. The entire court was extremely pleased by his learning and creativity. As the poetic message was read before king Bhoj's court, the entire assembly was astonished, more so because nobody had imagined that a man having such an unparallaled poetic creativity in Gujarat could be a sadhu! This paved the way for exchange of poetic compositions between Gujarat and Malva. King Bhoj was extremely happy and satisfied by the unique poetic competence of Suracharya but the court pundits wanted another opportunity to test his capability. A child was trained, like a parrot, in matters of learning and court pundits of king Bhoj invited Suracharya to have a religious debate with the child - scholar. A great scholar as he was, Suracharya could easily make out that the child was not a learned person and exposed the trick perpetrated by the pundits.

Thus the trick of the court pundits of king Bhoj was exposed. At last the pundits themselves arranged a debate with Suracharya who ultimately defeated all of them. Enraged by the defeat, the pundits planned to attack Suracharya but with the help of great poet Dhanpal, Suracharya could reach Gujarat. At the court of Malwa, Suracharya's scholarship earned immense reputation. When Acharya Shri Suracharya reached Patan, the then capital of the Solanki period, king Bhimdev and the citizens of Paŧan honoured him in a grand manner; greatly delighted as he was by the poetic personality of his own disciple, the Guru himself came to honour him.

Suracharya wrote a poetic composition by way of a biography of Bhagvan Rushabhdev and Bhagvan Neminath. He wrote an epic named Nemicharita in prose and in verse.

Sources
Title: Glory Of Jainism
Artist:

Ashok Saha and Prathana Saha

Publisher:

Shri Anilbhai Gandhi (Trustee),
Shri-108-Jain-Tirth-Darshan-Bhavan-Trust,
Shri-Samavasaran-Mahamandir,
Palitana - 364270 (India)

Edition: 1998

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharyas
  3. Fearlessness
  4. Gujarat
  5. Guru
  6. Malwa
  7. Neminath
  8. Sadhu
  9. Shloka
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