Acharya Shree Tulsi - A Legend Of Humanity: Saman Shreni: A New Category of Jain Asceticism

Published: 11.01.2014

The programs introduced by Acharya Shree were groundbreaking. He was cognizant that the principles of modern Jainism would have a broader impact if he added a level of initiation to Terapanth that was not restricted with the traditional guidelines which applied to the sadhus (monks) and sadhvis. Sadhus and sadhvis lead an ascetic life according to the Jain code of conduct. Their mode of transport is limited to walking on foot which limits the places they can reach to disseminate the philosophy of Jainism. To overcome this limitation Acharya Tulsi instigated a new class of Jain spiritual practitioners known as 'Saman Shreni' on November 11, 1980. Male members are known as saman, females are titled samani. 'Saman Shfeni' was established as the intermediate category of spiritual practitioners, with fewer restrictions than Terapanth monks and nuns, while having a higher level of commitment than common man.

Saman and samani lead a complete spiritual life with the purpose of continual self-purification. They are initiated by their guru and renounce all worldly relations. They observe vows of non-violence (Ahimsa), truth (Satya), non-stealing (Achaurya or Asteya), chastity (Brahmacharya) and non-possession (Aparigraha). Unlike Jain sadhus and sadhvis they may accept food upon invitation and use modern transportation.

Sadhvis and Sadhus do not use motorized transportation and do not accept food prepared specifically for them. However, such provisions are allowed to the members of Saman Shreni with the sole intent of propagating the message of Jainism propounded by Lord Mahavira in India and abroad.

The Saman Shreni was a new form of initiation - a revolutionary transformation to a system that had been in place for many millennia. Initially there was a strong resistance to the change, but Acharya Tulsi knew that his decision would speak for itself. Over time, the Saman Shreni was extremely successful, proving to be active ambassadors of the Terapanth sect. It was a courageous and visionary step undertaken by Acharya Tulsi who could foresee a need which no one else could do to take Jain teachings beyond traditional boundaries.

The youth who joined Saman Shreni were well prepared through their training - both intellectually and spiritually - to carry out the monumental ideas and works of Acharya Shree. Many people admitted that this radical step to establish the Saman Shreni came along at the right moment and had the potential to open up new avenues of social reforms and spiritual progress. They were of the belief that samans and samanis were equipped with a wealth of knowledge that would assist them in articulating Jain philosophy in a straightforward, and compelling manner which is easy to understand. As they are not limited in the mode of transportation, they are able to reach distant places in India and abroad within a relatively short period of time. Acharya Tulsi once said, "I am sure that the members of this order will carry the message of Lord Mahavira far and wide and will awaken the divine powers dormant in an individual."

Sources

Title:
Acharya Shree Tulsi - A Legend Of Humanity

First Edition:
2013.08

Publisher:
Acharya Tulsi Janam Shatabdi Samaroh Samiti, Anurvat Bhawan, New Delhi

HN4U Online Edition:
2013.12

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Tulsi
  3. Achaurya
  4. Ahimsa
  5. Aparigraha
  6. Asteya
  7. Brahmacharya
  8. Guru
  9. Jain Code Of Conduct
  10. Jain Philosophy
  11. Jainism
  12. Mahavira
  13. Non-violence
  14. Sadhus
  15. Sadhvis
  16. Saman
  17. Samani
  18. Samanis
  19. Samans
  20. Satya
  21. Terapanth
  22. Tulsi
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