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Glory of Jainism: Shri Shayyambhavacharya

Published: 01.08.2012



Shri Shayyambhavacharya

Shri Prabhavswami, a great disciple of Jambuswami, was worried about his successor as he was getting old. Acharyashri Prabhavswami himself had taken over the Acharyapad (head of a medicant group) at a very old age of ninety four so he was anxiously looking for some deserving person to whom the responsibilities of Shrisangh (congregation) could be entrusted. Finally his search ended with the learned and devoted brahmin Shayyambhav Bhatt of Rajgruhi. But the main problem was how to initiate him into Jain religion.

At that time, Shayyambhav Bhatt was engaged in performing the pasumegh yagna. Acharya Prabhavswami sent two of his munis to him. There was terrible violence of animal killing in the yagnamandap. The two munis shouted so loudly that it might be heard by Shayyambhav who was busy with the yagna (sacrificial rite). "Who would know about the tattva, the real and genuine truth in the midst of terrible violence being performed in the name of religion?", they shouted.

Shocked as he was by the utterances of the monks, Shayyambhav got lost in thoughts. He knew too well that Jain monk would not utter falsehood. Consequently, Shayyambhav being truly desirous to know and learn everything, went out in search of those two monks. That ultimately led him to Acharya Prabhavswami who finally explained to him the original form of yagna as also the ultimate truth of darshan (philosophy) from the spiritual point of view.

Finally Shayyambhav became a sadhu at the age of twenty eight by renouncing everything - the yagna, social life and the pregnant wife. Under Prabhavswami he acquired the knowledge of fourteen purvas (early canons) and became the second Shrutkevali in the Shrutadhar (knower of all the canonical literature) tradition. Acharya Prabhavswami bestowed on him the seat of Acharya in B. C. 452.

Shayyambhav's son Manak, who was about eight years old, had a keen desire to see his father as he was constantly ridiculed by his fellow-students. Manak asked his mother about his father, whereupon his mother narrated the entire event as to how Shayyambhav became the Jain monk. Manak became more anxious to have a glimpse of his father. Shayyambhavsuri recognised him as soon as he saw Manak but the child asked him about the whereabouts of his father.

Shayyambhav introduced himself as a close friend of the boy's father and arranged for the child's stay with him. Deeply impressed by his preaching, Manak accepted initiation. But Acharya Shayyambhav could foresee that the boy had a very short life-span of only six months. Consequently it was not possible for him to study all the scriptures. So he arranged for the consolidated study of Dashvaikalik sutras, which are supposed to have been compiled and composed by about B. C. 445. This composition of Acharya Shayyambhav aimed at the spiritual well-being of the son who had turned muni. This Dashvaikalik sutra has now been recognised for primary study for monks in all the sects of Jain religion.

Acharya Shayyambhavsuri preached from yugpradhanpad (the foremost spiritual leader) for 23 years and died at the age of 62 years. He brought immense glory to the religion of enlightenment. Moreover he had the experience of Brahmin community in his previous birth. He realized that during the ritual of yajna of that community, they resorted to animal-sacrifice. Acharyashri Shayyambhavsuri explained to them the spiritual significance of yajna. Many of those who believed in the Brahmin way of religion, became sympathetic to the principles of Jain religion.

Title: Glory Of Jainism

Ashok Saha and Prathana Saha


Shri Anilbhai Gandhi (Trustee),
Palitana - 364270 (India)

Edition: 1998

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Brahmin
  3. Darshan
  4. Muni
  5. Munis
  6. Purvas
  7. Sadhu
  8. Sutra
  9. Tattva
  10. Violence
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