A Short History Of The Terapanthi Sect Of The Swetamber Jains And Its Tenets: 02.2 Rules Of Diksa

Published: 30.08.2010
  1. In this community only the Acharyya or the Supreme Head of the Institution of Sadhus, initiates the applicant for Diksa. It is only in special and rare instances, and when permitted and directed by the Acharyya, that any other Sadhu can initiate a person but after such initiation the Sadhu becomes the disciple of the Acharyya and has to follow his directions throughout his life.

  2. According to Sastric injunctions no one below the age of 8 can be initiated as a Sadhu and this rule is strictly followed by the Sect.

  3. No one is initiated without the written permission of parents, or dependents or relatives and this rule holds good even in the case of majors.

    As an instance of the strictness in matters of getting permission of near relatives even in the case of majors we could cite here the instance of one Ratan Bai. In the Samvat year 1989 one Ratan Bai, wife of Lachmandas Dungar of Fatehpur in Jaipur State, who was aged about 27 years, expressed a keen desire to renounce the world and lead the life of a Sadhwi. In spite of her repeated and earnest entreaties the husband would not grant a written permission to her to become initiated. The lady thereupon resolved that so long as permission was not granted, she would not take any food or drink, except water. All the relatives were ready to give their permission but in the absence of the per­mission from the husband the then Acharyya Maharaj of our sect would not initiate her, as the husband was the proper person to give necessary permission. After a conti­nuous fast of 71 days the lady expired. This shows the strictness in this community.

    We cite here another instance, which also points to the same thing:

    In the year 1821, one Chhatidas of the age of 15 and a resident of Gogunda (Haldighat, Mewar), made up his mind to become initiated. The guardians and the relatives would not give him the required permission and with a view to divert his mind negotiated for his marriage. The usual ceremonies for marriage took place for two days, but the boy inspite of that! was determined to lead the life of an ascetic. The guardians seeing the firm attitude of the boy were at last obliged to grant him permission. The young boy who from his infancy showed signs of extraordinary genius and intelligence became a very well known Sadhu afterwards in this community and passed away at the age of 47 years in December, 1852.

  4. Diksa or initiation in this community takes place in the presence of a large gathering after wide publi­city. Prior to the Diksa there are usual social enter­tainments to the Diksarthy (applicant for Diksa) by the laymen. There is not the slightest chance of any Diksa being given in secret.

  5. In this community, if a person wishes to enter into the Holy Order, he has to personally apply to the Acharyya Maharaj and on his being found, after careful enquiry, to be a fit candidate and on his getting the necessary written permission, he is allowed to learn the necessary lessons and on his becoming fully conversant with the minimum knowl­edge required of a Sadhu he is initiated in the presence of a large gathering.

Dr. Hermann Jacobi had personally seen the initiation of a Sadhu and a Sadhwi of our sect and his observations are given below:

"Both persons to be initiated were a married couple, not pupils or novices; the scene took place in front of a Dharamasala; in front of which was an open public place; steps of approximate human height lead to the entrance of the Dharamasala; on both sides of the steps was a terrace; on the one to the right sat the yatis; on the one to the left, the nuns.

Thereafter, the pair beautifully clothed were brought in. She stood quite covered along side the nuns, he on level earth in front of the Acharyya. A Pradaksina (circum­volution) was out of the question by nature of the place. The older brother of the one to be initiated stood behind him and handed over to the Acharyya, a document which confirmed the consent of the family. Then quiet was estab­lished. In the calm surrounding, the Acharyya cited with great ability of the tongue a long formula. Thereafter the monk lowered his head which was shaved upto a small bunch and the Acharyya pulled it out in five pulls without causing the monk to show any expression in the face. The monk bowed to the monks and sat among them as the last in their line. The nun was led to the nuns. She only had to make a few bows in front of the Acharyya during his address before the initiation of the monk took place."


5th Edition, 1946
Sri Jain Swetambar Terapanthi Sabha, Calcutta, India

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharyya
  2. Diksa
  3. Fatehpur
  4. Gogunda
  5. Hermann Jacobi
  6. Jacobi
  7. Jaipur
  8. Mewar
  9. Sadhu
  10. Sadhus
  11. Sadhwi
  12. Sastric
  13. Yatis
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