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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4): Legendary Personality Ācārya Hastī Mala Jī

Published: 22.09.2016

A great Indian thinker of the era, Śrī Hastī Mala Jī Mahārāja has remained as a bright star in the family of Nirgrantha (passionless) Mokṣa. He was born in the city of Pipad, in Jodhpur district in Rajasthan on 13th January 1911, i.e., Vikram 1967 Pauṣa Śuklā Caturdaśī. Two months before his birth, his father Śrī Kevala Candajī of Osawāla lineage, died due to plague. This was a big jolt like a thunderbolt in a cloudless sky to his virtuous mother Rūpākaṃvara (Rūpā Devī). Due to this incident, she got aversion towards the world. She brought up her son with a feeling of detachment and taught him the values of righteousness. Within a few years, Hastī's paternal grandparents also passed away.

The aforesaid incidents strengthened the feelings of aversion in Hastī, who was already a born ascetic.

At a tender age of 10 years and 18 days, ascetic Hastī Mala accepted monastic life from Ācārya Śrī Śobhācandrajī on Māgha Śuklā Dvitīyā Vikram 1977 (10th February 1921). Along with him, his mother Rūpā Devī, and two more people who were aspirants of liberation, took refuge in Jainism. Immediately after joining the Order, Hastī Mala started studying the Jain scriptures, oriental languages, philosophy and literature. At the tender age of 15 ½ years, the child-monk Hastī Mala, who was bestowed with distinct abilities and talent was chosen as the leader of the Jain Order.

In a short span of time, he acquired unparalleled knowledge, coupled with meditation. In Vikram 1987 Vaiśākha Śuklā (Akṣaya Tṛitīyā) at a mere age of 19 years, he was appointed as the seventh Head of Sthanakvāsī tradition of Ratna Congregation in Jodhpur. He was the only person in Jain history who was made ācārya at an age of less than 20 years, probably after the omniscient Ācārya Hemacandra of Kaliyuga.

Ācārya Hastī Mala was a persona full of spiritual energy and a multifaceted genius. With the regular practice of self-contemplation (Sāmāyika), he spread the message of equanimity. He also inspired lakhs of people for the study of the scriptures and spread a new enlightenment of amity and knowledge in the society. With indefatigable zeal, he strived hard to eliminate profligacy and to root out the evil deeds among mankind, and to encourage women education. Thus he established his name as a social reformer.

An ocean of compassion, Ācārya Hastī Mala, protected and saved all living beings, including poisonous snakes. He not only implemented non-violence, forgiveness, equanimity personally, but also demonstrated that the values of life like non-violence, etc preached by Lord Mahāvīra are fully capable of solving the existing problems in society.

Ācārya Hastī Mala Jī, who was an expertise in ancient language and script, was a legend during his life time itself. With untiring hard work and plenty of substantial evidences, he wrote a book named 'Jain Dharma Kā Maulika Itihāsa' (Original History of Jain Religion), which consists of 3500 pages and is divided into four volumes. This book is an everlasting blessing to Jain religion in particular, and to the Indian society in general. In addition, he even edited and translated the Jain scriptures both in prose and poetry. He wrote poems inspired by the profound feelings of religion, culture and spirituality. He was a skilled and influential religious expounder. His inspirational religious discourses were compiled and published into a book of seven parts, by name 'Gajendra Vyākhyānamālā'.

Ācārya Hastī Mala Jī travelled to many states like Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Mahārashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, etc and observed altogether 70 rainy season halts (four month during monsoon) and initiated 85 aspirants of liberation /salvation into ascetic life. On 21st April 1991, i.e. Vikram 2049 Vaiśākha (Prathama) Śuklā Aṣṭamī, he left his mortal body at 8:21 PM, after observing a fast unto death for 13 days and attained accession to heavenly abode. Just like his birth and life, even his final journey too became a legend. His biography was published under the title 'Namo Purisavaragandhahathinam' which consists of approximately 900 pages. Now his able disciple, Ācārya Śrī Hīracandrajī adorns the rank of the eighth successor of Ratna Congregation.

Sources

Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4)
Author:
Acharya Hasti Mala
Editors:
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. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Body
  3. Delhi
  4. Dharma
  5. Equanimity
  6. Gujarat
  7. Haryana
  8. Hemacandra
  9. Jain Dharma
  10. Jainism
  11. Jodhpur
  12. Karnataka
  13. Madhya Pradesh
  14. Mahāvīra
  15. Mala
  16. Meditation
  17. Mokṣa
  18. Nirgrantha
  19. Non-violence
  20. Omniscient
  21. Pradesh
  22. Rajasthan
  23. Sāmāyika
  24. Tamil
  25. Tamil Nadu
  26. Uttar Pradesh
  27. Ācārya
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