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Glory of Jainism: Shri Bappabhattisuri

Published: 12.08.2012


Shri Bappabhattisuri

Bappabhattisuri was versatile in interpretation of scriptures and a model of celibacy. He was born in A.D. 743 in village Duva in Banaskantha. As a child he was known as Surpal. Once when Acharya Siddhasensuri had a stay in Modhera, he happened to have a dream of a young lion leaping over a place of worship. Next morning when he went to the Jain temple and saw a bright-looking and dignified young boy, he was reminded of the previous night's dream; soon he called Surpal's father named Bappa and mother named Bhatti. Due to their regard for their son's brilliance and determination, the parents handed him over to the religious master on his request. As a token of their fond memory the boy was named Bappabhatti. After his initiation, the boy acquired intensive knowledge of books of reasoning and logic as also of 72 arts.

King Aam of Kanyakubja acquired instruction from Bappabhattisuri and as a reward the king wanted to hand over half of his kingdom to him, but Bappabhattisuri acquainted the king with the concept of non-possessive vow of a Jain monk. The king was also extremely impressed by the poetic composition of Bappabhattisuri. However, from time to time the king subjected Bappabhattisuri to some sort of acid test to confirm his scholarship and his celibacy

Keeping in view the youthfulness of young Suriji, the king sent to him a young courtesan in a male's dress with a view to testing his celibacy. She went to the sleeping Suriji and began to attend to him. But as soon as Bappabhattisuri felt the soft touch of a feminine hand, he was soon awakened and was very much shocked. Immediately Suriji realized the intention of the king to tempt and to make him deviate by providing the company of a beautiful young woman in the darkness of the night. He requested the courtesan to go back. She bowed to the Suriji as he had conquered the cupid. The king Aam, as he came to know about the dignified behaviour of his spiritual teacher (Guru) during the strange ordeal, became overjoyed.

Once at the instance and invitation of Dharmaraja a scriptural debate was organised between Bappabhatti representing king Aam and Vardhan Kunjar, the learned scholar representing Dharmaraja. In this battle of scholarship Bappabhattisuri came out victorious and as such he was honoured with the title of Vadikunjar Kesari but Suriraj turned this victory in a battle of arts and an occasion of harmony and dialogue. Over the years, there existed severe enmity between king Aam and Dharmaraja. Suriraj explained to both of them the significance of forgiveness and brought about a reconciliation.

Bappabhattisuri had greatly influenced Vakpati, an ascetic from Mathura. Under the impact of Suriraj's preachings, the king accepted initiation in the last years of his life.

Bappibhattisuri had composed 52 books of which Chaturvinshati and Sarasvati Stotra are available even now. He was also a patron of artists and he arranged for the payment of one lakh taka to an artist for his painting. He also inspired the people at large for the construction of numerous Jain temples.

Shri Bappabhattisuri is a great Acharya of the Jain religion. He was as much competent in theological debating as he was in composing spiritual literature. His strong character, extensive knowledge and deep-seated religious faith had greatly impressed the ruler and the ruled at large.

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. Celibacy
  3. Chaturvinshati
  4. Guru
  5. Jain Temple
  6. Jain Temples
  7. Lakh
  8. Mathura
  9. Sarasvati
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