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Glory of Jainism: Shri Abhaydevsuri

Published: 14.08.2012


Shri Abhaydevsuri

Abhaydevsuriji has earned immense fame by composing Sanskrit commentaries on nine of the Jain agams (Jain canonical literature). These commentaries provide a key to the innermost deep meaning of Jain Agam literature. Besides being brief and well-worded, these commentaries depict and discuss many topics. Thus his name ranks at the top of those Acharyas who have written books with a view to immortalising the pure tradition of Jinagam.

Acharya Abhaydevsuri was born in a Vaishya (merchant) family in A.D. 1015. Born to Mahidhar Sheth and Dhandevi in the famous city of Dhara of Malavdesh, the child was named Abhaykumar. Once Shri Jineshwarsuri and Shri Buddhisagarsuri had come to Dhara. Having listened to their religious discourses, he felt an inclination for renunciation. With the permission of his parents he accepted intiation from Jineshwarsuri. He began his studies of Agam literature at a very young age and in course of time he was honoured with the title of Acharya (head of a mendicant group).

It is said that one night when Acharya Abhaydevsuri was engrossed in meditation, the Shasandevi (the guardian Goddess) revealed herself before him and said that the commentaries of two Agamas namely, Acharanga and Sutrakritanga, were well-preserved but other commentaries were lost and destroyed with the passage of time. The goddess then asked him to make efforts to remedy that deficiency so as to serve the interests of Shrisangh (congregation).

Acharya Abhaydevsuri accepted this enormous task. He commenced the writing of commentary by performing ayambil lap (type of religions austerity). After a prolonged and labourious efforts, he wrote volumes of commentaries on anga-agam (canonical text, one of the twelve). Because of constant penance of Ayambil and working for many nights together, he developed a leucoderma-like disease. Consequently his opponents spread the rumour that the mother-goddess had cursed him with this disease as a penalty for having wrongly interpreted the scriptures.

Acharya Abhaydevsuri invoked Shasanrakshak Deo (the guardian God) Dharanedra at night and as the god appeared before him, Acharya said, “O Lord! I am least afraid of my death but I can't endure the false charges and malafide criticism that the slandering people level against me since I am afflicted with the disease. Hence I have decided to undertake fast till I die.”

Shasanrakshak Dev Dharanendra assured him that he was quite innocent and provided him necessary guidance. As guided by Dharanendra, Abhaydevsuri, together with the shravak sangh, came at the banks of river Sedhi in Stambhangram. Acharyashri discovered the place where a cow was yielding milk automatically; soon he composed a stotra of 32 shlokas entitled Jayatihuan. As the stotra was composed, a very ancient and bejewelled idol of Shri Stambhan Parshwanath emerged from under the ground. Shrisangh performed all the rituals of bathing and as soon as the holy water was applied to the body of Abhaydevsuriji, he was cured of the disease. Acharyashri regained his usual health. Presently the same idol is installed at the temple in Cambay.

Then Acharyashri completed the task of writing Navangi commentary, and he expired at Kapadvanja in Gujarat and the samadhi, the memorial structure, exists there in Tapagaccha upashraya.

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. Acharanga
  2. Acharya
  3. Acharyas
  4. Agam
  5. Agamas
  6. Agams
  7. Ayambil
  8. Body
  9. Dharanendra
  10. Gujarat
  11. Jain Agam Literature
  12. Meditation
  13. Parshwanath
  14. Samadhi
  15. Sangh
  16. Sanskrit
  17. Shlokas
  18. Shravak
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