Jain Vidya (1) ► 13 ►Shrimad Bhikshu Swami

Posted: 29.02.2016

Lesson - 13

Shrimad Bhikshu Swami

Shrimad Bhikshu Swami, the founder of Terapantha order, was born at Kantaliya (Marwar) on Asadha shukla 13, V.S. 1783. The names of his father and mother were Balluji and Deepaji respectively. He was Sankaleca (Osval) by caste. He was a talented religious personality. After his wife’s death, he made up his mind to be initiated as a monk but his mother  did not give him the permission for it. On being insisted by Raghunathji, the then Acharya of Sthanakvasi sect, she said, ‘Lord! how can I permit him to became a Sadhu. when he was in the womb, I dreamt of a Lion, which means that he would turn to be a lion among men.’ Acharya Raghunathaji said:‘well, it is all the more good. Your son will roar like a lion in the company of monks.’ This convinced his mother and she permitted him for initation. The initation ceremony was solemnized at Bagari (marwar) on Marga shirsha krishna 12, V.S. 1808.

Bhikshu Swami had a deep insight. He had an inborn capacity to go deep into reality. Within few years, he became well versed in the knowledge of jain canonical literature. By V.S. 1815, looking at the laxity taking place among monks regarding the pracitce and percepts, some revolutionary thoughts crossed his mind. He put forth his doubts for acharya’s consideration. Discussions continued for full two years, but no satisfactory solution emerged. Consequently he parted his company from his acharya on Chaitra shukla ekam, V.S. 1817 at Bagari (Marwar). After leaving the sthanaka, he made his first stoppage among the monuments at the cemetary known as jaitsinghji ki chatariyan outside the village. Those monuments exist even today.

As a result Acharya Bhikshu faced an opposition from all quarters. Bearing all that opposition patiently, he continued his spiritual ramblings.

At Kelva (Mewar) on Ashadha shukla Purnima, V.S. 1817, he again got initiated in light of the injunctions contained in the canons. At that time twelve monks were under his command. Most of the monks were accompanying him while the rest were staying elsewhere. That day witnessed the foundation of a well-organised order of the monks under the leadership of swamiji, and within a short span of time, it was known as Terapantha order. Till V.S. 1831, his life was full of untold struggles. He spent spiritual period of fifteen years in  penance, severe spiritual practices, future planning of the order and studying the scriptures thoroughly.

In V.S. 1832, he nominated his chief disciple Bharmalji as his successor, and concurrently laid down a set of norms for the smooth working of the order. He wrote down the initial maryada patra (charter of conduct) on magha shirsha krishna 7th of that year. After that, he continued to consolidate the order by revising the articles of the charter from time to time. During his tenure as acharya, forty nine men and fifty six women were initiated as monks and nuns respectively. Of them, Acharya  Bharmala, muni Thirpal, muni Khetasiji, muni Veniramji, muni Hemarajji, etc. are worth mentioning.

On Bhadhava Shukla 13, V.S. 1860, at the age of 77, he breathed his last at Siriyari (Marwar) in meditation posture during the fasting of seven praharas. (3 hours is 1 Prahar)



  1. Mention the year and date of the birth of Bhikshu Swami?
  2. Why did Swamiji’s mother hesitate to permit    him for intiation?
  3. Who was the diksha-guru (the preceptor who initiated) of swamiji?
  4. When and where did Swamiji part Company from the Sthanakavasai sect?
  5. Mention any four of the monka initated by swamiji.

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