Acharya Tulsi - Fifty Years Of Selfless Dedication: Editorial

Published: 02.07.2012

There are things that look like being done for others but which in reality one does for oneself. Editing the present volume on one of India's greatest living saints is one such thing. It has consecrated all those associated with it.

From the beginning it was an extremely challenging task. The relevant materials were not easily accessible. Selection of photos to be included in this volume had to be done from among hundreds of albums lying in possession of people at places far apart from one another. Some of the original documents took a lot of time to procure. The most demanding job, however, was translating the Hindi texts into English. In several cases the original Sanskrit terms had no known equivalents. A conscious decision was taken to eschew the use of diacritical marks since the expected readership would at any rate be not aware of their values. Proofreading can be a nightmare in this country, as indeed it was in this case. That all these obstacles could be overcome more or less successfully is a tribute to the infinite pains taken by the members of the editorial board, more particularly by Mr S L Gandhi for whose tireless and dedicated work no words of praise will be enough One might wonder at all this and much more and ask what the occasion or inspiration for undertaking this noble but arduous venture was. The immediate occasion, of course, was the completion by Acharya Tulsi of fifty years as Head of the Terapanth sect of the Jains. However, what truly inspired the editors was their conviction that in doing a volume like this they were serving a noble cause -placing before the English-knowing world the life and achievements of one of the greatest men of the present century.

Acharya Tulsi deserves mention among the great men of religion in a sense other than the ordinary. He is the unchallenged leader of the Terapanth sect of the Jains, but this, though in itself no small honour, is the least important facet of his unique personality. He is a profound scholar, an inimitable writer, a polyglot and a poet par excellence. These are undoubtedly great achievements but even they take a second place beside what may be regarded as his most outstanding claim to greatness - his intense and active commitment to humanism, universal brotherhood and peace. How many religious leaders today have the courage and the conviction to proclaim like Acharya Tulsi, 'I'm first a human being and anything else afterwards'? This is what makes him of a class apart. More than anyone else he has understood the need to give religion a thrust in consonance with the present-day imperatives. Whatever divides man from man is anathema to him, even if it happens to be adherence to a particular religion. He realizes that the condition for human survival in this thermonuclear age is man's willingness to settle all disputes across the table in a spirit of give and take. He also realizes that there is no relevance of parlour religion. Religious leaders have to use their strength for the solution of practical problems. A watertight compartmentalization between matters spiritual and temporal is neither feasible nor desirable. It was because of this that he invited the late Sant Harchand Singh Longowal to Ameth and succeeded in further strengthening the latter's resolve to settle the Punjab problem amicably and peacefully. By such actions he has amply proved his conviction that cloistered virtue is not only ineffectual but a contradiction in terms.

Acharya Tulsi shot into national and international prominence after he launched the Anuvrat Movement on March 2, 1949. It aimed at inspiring human beings to develop a strong sense of self-discipline. It was directed at the people of the world irrespective of their caste, creed, colour, language, sex or religion. Anuvrat means atomic or small vows renouncing individual moral lapses and shortcomings. A rigorous commitment to and an unhindered practice of anuvrat will cleanse all the moral filth and make this world a healthy and happy place to live in. Corrupt practices, narrow-mindedness and lack of proper education vitiate human psychology which in turn defiles and debases human character. Universal observance of anuvrat can bring about moral regeneration by creating a climate of peace, nonviolence and amity.

Two other major contributions made by Acharya Tulsi and his very able nominated successor Yuvacharya Mahapragya are Jeevan Vigyan (the science of living) and Preksha Dhyan (a scientific technique of meditation). The former is a complete philosophy of education and the latter a scientifically tested technique of overcoming stress, tension and other maladies of modern civilization.

To a humanity threatened by a nuclear holocaust Acharya Tulsi represents a voice of sanity and universal goodwill. He is the Messiah of the underdog, the oppressed and the poor.

The book is designed in a manner that is likely to give to its readers a good introduction to all that the Acharya stands for. The many facets of his almost magnetic and many-splendoured personality are revealed in the very first section. No words can fully encompass the richness and depth contained in his person. However, readers will note how people from different walks of life and of vastly dissimilar back­grounds think about him. The photographs both in black and white and colour tell their own story. One gets the glimpses of greatness surrounding the Acharya in the form of innumerable national and international celebrities conversing with him. Some of his memorable sayings and profound views on important matters are given in his own words under the caption ‘So Saith Acharya Tulsi'. There is hardly any subject of relevance to people in India and abroad on which he has not expressed himself precisely. Anuvrat, Preksha Meditation and Jeevan Vigyan are Acharya Tulsi's everlasting contributions to humanity. Hundreds of thousands of people have already benefited from this three-dimensional programme of human regeneration and as his message spreads millions more throughout the world will find in it a most scientific and practical means of renewing their lives physically, mentally and spiritually. Shorn of all mumbo jumbo his precepts point the way to individual happiness and societal sanity. Three eminent scholars, Kenneth Oldfield, John Ferguson and K. Satchidanand Murty, have contributed penetrating analyses of ahimsa, peace and world problems as their tribute to the great Acharya. Finally, short profiles of the major organizations and institutions devoted to the propagation and furtherance of Acharya Tulsi's immortal teachings are given to give the readers an idea of the work already in progress and of that to be undertaken in future.

Let me conclude by reiterating what was said at the beginning - editing this book has been a prayer for benediction.

R.P. Bhatnagar

Acharya Tulsi - Fifty Years Of Selfless Dedication
Jain Vishva Bharati Ladnun
Shrichand Bengani


R.P. Bhatnagar


● S.L. Gandhi
● Rajul Bhargava, Department of English, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur
● Ashok K. Jha, Department of English, LBS College, Jaipur

First Edition, 1985-2000

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Tulsi
  3. Ahimsa
  4. Ameth
  5. Anuvrat
  6. Anuvrat Movement
  7. Dhyan
  8. Diacritical marks
  9. Gandhi
  10. Jeevan Vigyan
  11. John Ferguson
  12. Kenneth Oldfield
  13. Longowal
  14. Mahapragya
  15. Meditation
  16. Nonviolence
  17. Preksha
  18. Preksha Dhyan
  19. Preksha Meditation
  20. Punjab
  21. R.P. Bhatnagar
  22. Sanskrit
  23. Sant
  24. Science
  25. Science Of Living
  26. Terapanth
  27. Tulsi
  28. Yuvacharya
  29. Yuvacharya Mahapragya
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