Glory of Jainism: Upadhyay Shri Udayratnaji

Published: 20.08.2012

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Upadhyay Shri Udayratnaji

There are numerous tales and anecdotes about the holy power of Shri Udayratnaji Maharaj. In V.S. 1750, the Chha'ri sangh (a congregation on pilgrimage practising six special vows) had undertaken a journey from Kheda to Shankheshwar at his inspiration and under his guidance. The ruling Thakor of Shankheshwar at that time used to collect tax of one guinea from the pilgrims and allow them to have a glimpse of the idol. The Kheda sangh was delayed in reaching Shankheshwar and as ordered by the Thakor the temple-in-charge refused to open the doors of the temple.

Shri Udayratnaji Maharaj and all the members of the sangh took an oath that they would not accept food and water without having a glimpse of Shankheshwar Parshwanath Bhagwan. Shri Udayratnaji Maharaj and the entire sangh stood near the door of the temple and soon a very moving prayer flowed out from his heart.

At the end of the prayer, he uttered a request to open the door with the words Pragat tha pasji. The ruling Nagraj was moved and pleased by the prayer and surprisingly the doors of the Jain temple opened automatically. As a result of this incident, the Thakor of the village came there and bowed to the Muniraj and handed over the idol of Shri Shankheshwar Parshwanath to the Shrisangh.

It is also said that Shri Udayratnaji possessed some miraculous power and he could conjure up lifelike scenes which the holy assembly (samavasarana) and other people were able to see. As a result of his inspiration numerous people joined the fold of Jain religion. He practised severe penance and it is said that he stood in kausagga meditation for four months in three towns in Kheda near Ahmedabad in Gujarat; consequently the place resembled a small island. There were 500 houses of Bhavsar community in the village Kheda and all of them got the advantage of his preachings, as a result of which all the Bhavsar families of Kheda joined the fold of the Jain religion. So also many of the residents of the village Sojitra became the followers of the Jain religion under his inspiration. In 1739 A.D. a poet named Ratna had written a poetic composition in which he had addressed Upadhyay Shri Udayratnaji as his 'guru'.

In the tradition of Vijayrajsuri of Tapagachchha, Shri Udayratnaji was more famous for his rasa, chhandn, saloko, stavan, sajjhayo, stuti, barmasa, chovishi etc. He was a resident of Kheda. There are numerous compositions written by him from A.D. 1693 to 1743. His poetic creativity is unique both in short compositions like stuti or stavan as well as in long narratives like rasa. He will be remembered for his saintliness and religious service. Shri Udayratnaji was an author of wide and varied literature and he had composed the 'rasa' having in view the lives of different personalities like Jambuswami, Sthulibhadra, Sudarshan, Malaysundari etc.

His poetic ability is best expressed in 'barmasa' compositions based on the episode of Neminath and Rajimati; whereas his stavans and 'sajjhays' are remarkable for the depiction of different feelings and attitudes, preachings and valuable documentary material. They contain thematic content relating to tirthankars like Sankheswar Parshwanath and Shri Neminath as also regarding the sons of Rushabhdev namely Bharat, Bahubali and minister like Vimalshah. In terms of literary forms, he has written 'stavans', 'sajjhays', 'stutis', 'chovisi', 'barmasa', 'rasa', 'shaloko' and 'chhand'.

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. Ahmedabad
  2. Bahubali
  3. Gujarat
  4. Jain Temple
  5. Meditation
  6. Neminath
  7. Parshwanath
  8. Rasa
  9. Samavasarana
  10. Sangh
  11. Shankheshwar
  12. Stavan
  13. Stuti
  14. Tirthankars
  15. Upadhyay
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