Kanji Swami

Updated on: 05.02.2016

Alias

Gurudev Shri Kanji Swami, Kanji Svami

Group(s)

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   ► Individuals ► Digamber ► Kanji Panth

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Lifetime

Born: 21.04.1890 in Umrala
Passed away: 28.11.1980

Digamber Info

Diksha: 1913

About

Kanji Swami was a Jain scholar, philosopher and spiritual leader. He was the founder of the Kanji Panth within the Digambar Jain tradition. He significantly influenced the practice of swadhyaya (study of texts) among the Jain laity.

  • He was initiated as a Sthanakvasi Jain monk at age 24. He discovered the works of Pandit Todarmal and Samayasar of Acharya Kundakunda in 1932 which influenced him deeply.
  • In 1934 he started his own movement as a celibate Digambara layman scholar at Songadh in Gujarat. His lectures were recorded on tapes and have been published. His emphasis was on on nishcaya naya, the higher level of truth, over vyavahara naya, ordinary life.
  • He directed his teachings to the subject of the soul and to Kundakunda's representation of it as the one eternal and unconditional entity. Kanji Swami's insistence on the primacy of the absolute level of truth over the relative one of ordinary life is obvious from his frequent comment: "Please try to understand. No soul, with or without knowledge, has the slightest ability to move even a particle. In such circumstances, how can it do anything to the human body, or to any other thing for that matter?"

  • For Kanji, Samyak darshana "right faith" was a prerequisite to any meaningful progress upon the spiritual path. He was convinced that the Ratnatraya – right vision or view (Samyak Darshana), right knowledge (Samyak Gyana) and right conduct (Samyak Charitra) – constitutes the path to liberation. It could only function effectively on the basis of a prior experience of the soul, and considered the various rituals and merit-making practices as subordinate. In an interview in 1977 he denied being hostile to the traditional Jain monasticism and regarded monastics as personifying the fundamental principles of Jainism. However, he also pointed out that taking up formal initiation and behavioural practices, like the abandonment of clothes of Digambara monks, and of other possessions, could not make an individual a true monastic unless he had abandoned internal possessions as well.
  • There are many legends about him,  according, he had personally been in the presence of Lord Simandhara Swami.
  • Kanji Swami Panth has may followers in India, Africa and UK. They generally regard themselves simply as Digambar Jains following the tradition of Kundakundaand Todarmal.

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