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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4): 53rd And 54th Pontiffs Of Lord Mahāvīra Tradition

Published: 10.09.2016
53rd Pontiff Ācārya Mahāsūrasen 54th Pontiff Ācārya Mahāsen
Birth V.N.1629 V.N.1651
Initiation into monkhood V.N.1654 V.N.1662
Became ācārya V.N.1708 V.N.1738
Heavenly Abode V.N.1738 V.N.1758
Household life duration 25 years 11 years
Ordinary monk tenure 54 years 76 years
Period of ācārya status 30 years 20 years
Complete monkhood 84 years 96 years
Total longevity 109 years 107 years

40th epochal ācārya Śīlamitra

Birth V.N.1652
Initiation into monkhood V.N.1663
Period of ordinary monk V.N.1663 - 1683
Period of epochal ācārya V.N. 1683 - 1762
Household life duration 11 years
Ordinary monk tenure 20 years
Period of epochal ācārya 79 years
Heavenly Abode V.N.1762
Total longevity 110 years, 7 months, 7 days

Tapā gaccha

Like the rest of the gacchas, Tapā gaccha was also an offshoot of reformation movement. As time passed, the monks of Vṛhad gaccha (Baḍa gaccha) were addicted to heretical practices and lax conduct. According to Tapā gaccha Paṭṭāvalī, the 42nd Successor Pontiff of Mahāvīra, Śrī Vijayasiṃha Sūri ordained two of his fellow disciples as ācāryas. They in turn appointed Jagaccandra Sūri as their successor.

Thus according to Tapā gaccha Paṭṭāvalī, the 44th Pontiff of Mahāvīra was Ācārya Śrī Jagaccandra Sūri. Jagaccandra Sūri was petrified of transmigration and the best ascetic who strictly observed the scripture based pure code of conduct. He was very upset and distressed with the widespread delinquency and degeneration in his congregation. As he was holding a high post as the Head of the congregation, he relentlessly tried to wipe out the sluggishness and craving towards external rituals from the minds of Śramaṇas and Śramaṇīs, but could not achieve any satisfactory results. Ultimately Jagaccandra Sūri with the help of Devabhadra, the devout Upādhyāya of Citravāla gaccha initiated reformation. Setting himself as an ideal example by strictly observing the scriptural based code of conduct, he started propagating the fundamental Jain doctrine and tenets. Inspired and encouraged by his extraordinary renunciation, many Śramaṇas, Śramaṇīs and Mumukṣus started observing flawless Śramaṇa conduct.

While carrying out reformation, Jagaccandra Sūri took a vow that he would observe the vow of 'Ācāmla', (a form of fast or abstinence, comprising one single meal a day, without any fatty ingredients in it, usually boiled rice or cereals) throughout his life. Along with Devabhadra Upādhyāya he wandered and preached at each and every place of Mewāḍa. Impressed by his severe austere life, people belonging to all sections in Mewāḍa became his loyal followers and devotees. Apart from being a devout ascetic, Jagaccandra Sūri was a pedantic scholar and debater in law. He triumphed over the Digambara ācāryas in Āhaḍa (Āghāṭapura) in spiritual discourse. Delighted at his victory and sagacity, the King of Mewāḍa Jaitrasiṃha adorned him with the title 'Hīralā (the jewel)'. Also impressed by his severe penance and austere ascetic life, which won laurels by one and all, he facilitated him with the title 'Tapā'.

Thus the combined group of ascetics of Ācārya Jagaccandra Sūri and Upādhyāya of Caitravāla gaccha came into vogue as Tapā gaccha in Vikram 1285.

After Mewāḍa, Jagaccandra Sūri turned his attention towards Gujarat. The moment he arrived at Gujarat, a distinguished merchant Vastupāla received him with a lot of respect. He extended remarkable help to ācārya for propagating the original Jain dharma in entire Gujarat.

Owing to unblemished renunciation, penance, erudition and the pure code of conduct of Jagaccandra Sūri and complete cooperation from the minister-merchant Vastupāla, Tapā gaccha gained popularity and became preeminent in Gujarat. As a result his gaccha increased in number of the followers.

Vijayacandra, a beloved officer (Mahetā) of Vastupāla and Devendra, a sharp-witted young officer were among the officials who took initiation from Jagaccandra Sūri.


Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4)
Acharya Hasti Mala
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Cooperation
  2. Devendra
  3. Dharma
  4. Digambara
  5. Gaccha
  6. Gujarat
  7. Jain Dharma
  8. Mahāvīra
  9. Tapā Gaccha
  10. Upādhyāya
  11. Ācārya
  12. ācāryas
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