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Acharya Shree Tulsi - A Legend Of Humanity: Jain Unity: An Earnest Dream

Published: 21.01.2014

Bhagwan Mahavir was the unified leader of the Jain religion. Afterwards, there came a period when a division of ideologies resulted in the formation of two branches of Jain followers and later branched into many sub-sects. Acharya Tulsi would comment on this by saying that differences in interpretation of the religion among followers should not bring about distance within the hearts of Jain followers. He then assumed the monumental task of unifying the various factions that developed within the religion. He approached this effort with the same zeal that led his successful aim to uplift the society through the implementation of Anuvrat.

He organized various meetings with an array of local Acharyas from the disparate sects and at these meetings he worked to create an atmosphere conducive to unity among Jains. In 1985 - in the city of Udaipur - Acharya Shree followed through on his continuing efforts for unifying all Jain followers.
At this time, he laid out a three point program:

  • Samvatsari[1] (Paryushana), one of the most important of all Jain festivals, should be celebrated universally on one specific day by all Jains.
  • There should be one umbrella organization under which all Jain activities are facilitated.
  • For all those who are designated as saints within Jain community, a minimum and uniform code of conduct should be designed and followed.

Acharaya Shree maintained his vision to bring unanimity among all Jain sects. In his composition "Shrawak Sambodh", he expressed his feelings as follows; "I will feel fortunate, when the day comes when the entire Jain community will come together and celebrate the samvatsari parv on the same day."

To achieve this aim, he laid out a specific blueprint.

  • All sects may follow their own traditions and faith, but the fundamental principles of the Jain religion should be propagated by all the sects
  • Jain festivals should be celebrated collectively by all the Jain leaders and followers
  • The criticisms against Jainism should be addressed in unity by Jains
  • The attitude of openness and intimacy should be cultivated among the sects so that the high-quality work of any sect could be carried forward and enhanced by other sects
  • There should not be caste-discrimination among Jains (such as oswal, porwal, saravagi etc.)
  • A minimum and homogeneous code of conduct for Jain monks as well as Jain householders should be framed out. Any violations of the code of conduct should be taken seriously and should be acted upon by the umbrella organization fairly and impartially
  • One sect should not interfere in the personal affairs of others. But of course, one should offer help politely and constructively
  • The Jain forum should be made powerful through the participation of all Jain sects. Acharayas from all the sects should support it in order to maximize its effectiveness

Three days before his spiritual transition, Acharya Tulsi held a meeting in support of Jain unity. Suresh Dada from Maharashtra, who was a well known politician and a wise follower of Jainism was a participant. During this meeting, Acharya Tulsi again reiterated his central message, "We all should work together to spread the message of Lord Mahavira and it is my heartiest desire that we achieve this worthy and noble goal."

There was a brief period of unity when the entire Jain Shwetambar group celebrated Samvatsari on same day as all other Jains. Eventually however, the unification did not hold and the joint celebrations eventually faded into obscurity. Unfortunately, the dream of Acharya Tulsi did not take root, because it was the only dream which was not in his control.

Footnotes
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Sources
Title:
Acharya Shree Tulsi - A Legend Of Humanity

First Edition:
2013.08

Publisher:
Acharya Tulsi Janam Shatabdi Samaroh Samiti, Anurvat Bhawan, New Delhi HN4U Online Edition:
2013.12

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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. Acharyas
  4. Anuvrat
  5. Bhagwan Mahavir
  6. Jainism
  7. Maharashtra
  8. Mahavir
  9. Mahavira
  10. Oswal
  11. Paryushana
  12. Samvatsari
  13. Shrawak
  14. Shwetambar
  15. Soul
  16. Tulsi
  17. Udaipur
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