Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4) ► Advent Of Lokāśāha, The Religious Reformer And The Sun Of Righteousness

Posted: 16.09.2016

Lokāśāha launched a full-fledged reform movement for the benefit of mankind in Vikram 1508, with great courage and a firm resolution to clear off the dark clouds of external rituals that swayed over the original form of scripture based Jain religion. Through his preaching and writings, he started reviving the original and Lord's form of Jain religion propounded by omniscient lords. He prepared his sermons on the basis of Ācārāṃga, the first and important aṃga of 11 aṃgas and Sūtrakṛtāṃga. He wrote many articles, raised questions taking the essence of scriptures that were compiled by Gaṇadharas based on the sermons of Mahāvīra. Through these means, he created such faith and awareness in the minds of the people that they started wondering that there should not be any scope for any type of violence, either small or big, in the Jain religion, which was erected on the pillars of absolute non-violence and compassion, and that there is no place for material worship or material offering to the idols in Jain religion which is based on only psychic contemplation.

Lokāśāha through word of mouth and writings explained the scripture based pure path and conduct of Śramaṇas along with 5 great vows. People awakened by his sermons and writings rose in revolt against the perverted methods and the vow of possession adopted by both male and female monks. Lokāśāha's method created an earthquake in the camps of the so-called ascetics (Yatis), ācāryas, Śrī Pūjyas and in gacchas on the whole, who were sunk neck deep in the swamp of possessions and luxuries. The course of gifts that used to flow perennially into different gacchas in the form of gold, silver, pearls, palanquins made of gold and silver, staffs / sceptres, canopies, yak tail fans, etc, thinned and gradually started drying up. The monks got agitated with the loss of their comforts, luxuries etc. So all of them joined hands together and confronted Lokāśāha united. They adopted all means - Sāma (policy of conciliation), Dāma (policy of monetary gratification), Daṇḍa (policy of coercion and punishment), Bheda (policy of divide and rule within the camp) and continuously plotted to overthrow him.

Lokāśāha, stood steadfast like a rock unruffled by these hostilities, hardships and harassment inflicted upon him by his opponents. Proclaiming the scriptural quotations, he advanced with undaunted courage on the authentic path of total reformation with that was laid with thrones.

People started flocking from every nook and corner to listen to him. They became the followers of Lokāśāha and active participants of the revolution. He openly and clearly, without any fear condemned the pompous external rituals and austerities of gacchas and declared to them that he is in essence, a Jain who treads on the authentic path propounded by Lord Mahāvīra to attain salvation. Jain shrines and temples or even Jain idols did not exist anywhere in the country, be it villages, cities, towns, etc during the time of commencement of Holy Path (Tīrtha Pravartana Kāla). Construction of Jain temples, installation of Jain idols, worship, prayers, rituals, pilgrimage, etc. we're not even mentioned nominally in Dvādaśāṃgī which is considered as eternal and infinite. The infinite Tīrthaṃkaras of ancient times and 24 Tīrthaṃkaras of present Avasarpiṇī period did not mention anywhere in their preaching that a devotee gets salvation by the construction of Jain temple, worship, installation or veneration of Jina idols.

Many centuries after V.N., the permanent Temple dweller ācāryas introduced material worship, temple construction, etc. in original spiritual Jain doctrines. The methods and rules introduced in the religion congregation in the name of religion were nothing but the brain child of Temple dwellers. Just to prove their methods and attributes as centuries old, the Temple dwellers started writing and substantiating them in Nigamopaniṣadas. Their influence was pronouncing on Niryuktis, Vṛttis, Cūrṇis and Bhāṣyas. Hence for any real Jain, just like Nigamopaniṣadas, the Vṛttis, Cūrṇis and Bhāṣyas should not be considered in verbatim. A true Jain must honour only the scripture promulgated by Lord Jina, not even the complete Paṃcāṃgī.

The people were impressed by the unfathomable knowledge of Lokāśāha on scriptures and his substantial and captivating preaching. On being enlightened, millions of people abandoning their lax preceptors, covetous ācāryas and heads of monasteries joined Lokāśāha as companion proselytes on the scripture-based pure path. Even before Vikram 1530, the entire region from Gujarat to Agra came under the influence of Lokāśāha and the number of his followers reached to millions. Besides, even the saints of material based traditions also influenced by his sermons, his 56 and 34 dictums, 13 questions and substantial questions regarding the traditional - rituals, etc left their gacchas and joined Lokāśāha and started helping him in his mission.

Giving sermons on the true form of scripture-based, omniscient propounded Jain doctrine, Lokāśāha propagated the tradition under the name 'Jinamatī', which became popular even in distant lands much before Vikram 1530. This is testified by a proof, the copy of 'Luṃkāmata Pratibodha Kulaka' written in Vikram 1530, which was printed in Jaina Dharma kā Maulika Itihāsa Vol. 4, pp. 642 to 644 (unabridged), as it is.

The author of this 'Kulaka' described the all-pervasive glory of Lokā gaccha which he had personally witnessed, and expressed his inner feelings.

The following facts come to light from the details of 'Kulaka':

  1. The original authentic form of Jain doctrine / religion brought into light by Lokāśāha became very popular in places like Dhundhukāand Pāṭaṇa etc. It spread even in far-flung places.
  2. The propagation of Lokā doctrine by Harṣa Kīrti, mentioned in this book makes it very clear that the monks of different traditions also resolved and entered the religious front to condemn the degenerated principles and to follow the true path illuminated by Lokāśāha.
  3. The restored scriptural based path gained such a momentum that nobody was even willing to listen to Temple dwellers.

Lokāśāha was not a Founder of new tradition - but a propounder of Renaissance

The revolutionary movement started in Vikram 1508 by Lokāśāha spread to different places like wild fire. The scripture based true and right path of Dharma not only gained popularity but became worth following and turned into a centre of loyalty and devotion of Jain religion. It is neither a hallucination nor a wild imagination but indeed a real fact. The 34 historical dictums placed in front of the people and the eminent scholars of material based rituals traditions, bear testimony to this fact. The same is given as reference for enthusiastic readers in 'Jain Legend' (Jain Dharma kā Maulika Itihāsa) Vol. 4, pp. 648 to 655 (unabridged).

Śrī Lokāśāha's 58 dictums, tradition related 34 dictums, "Lūṃkāe Pūchela 13 Praśna Ane Tenā Uttaro" (13 questions asked by Lokāśāha and their answers) were given in Jain Dharma kā Maulika Itihāsa Vol. 4, pp. 655 to 691, 691 to 694 and 694 to 695 respectively (unabridged). Enthusiastic readers are requested to refer to that volume.

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Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4)
Author:
Acharya Hasti Mala
Editors:
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011