Vijaya Dharma Sūri ►Biography

Posted: 27.10.2011
Updated on: 02.07.2015

Poetical Biography of Śri Vijaya Dharma Sūri


1. Popularity of the Hero

Vijaya Dharma Sūri deceased only six years ago at Shivpuri (Gwalior State), where illness had obliged the indefatigable wanderer to linger, when he was passing there on a walking tour from Bombay to Benares, and where a splendid Memorial Temple has been erected in his honour, combined with a flourishing Boarding School for Jaina boys (the 'Vīratattva Prakāśaka Maṇḍala'). But even without this visible sign of the gratitude of his devotees and disciples, Vijaya Dharma Sūri could never be forgotten. For in India, his name is engraved in many hearts with the letters of purest reverence, as I experienced myself, while following the traces of his wanderings through Gujarat and Kathiawar last cold weather.

Pronouncing the name of Vijaya Dharma Sūri with respect, had the effect of a magic spell, instantaneously causing the hearts of young and old to open, and turning foreigners into friends and brothers in a trice. Not only Mūrtipūjaka Śvetāmbera Jainas, but Sthānakavāsīs and Digambaras and Terāpanthīs too, not only Jainas, but Ārya Samājīs, Vaiṣṇavas, Śaivas, Parsees, Musulmans and freethinkers too, not only sons of Mother India, but great stars amongst European scholars and high officials too, are in the crowd of the late Mahatma's admirers, disciples, devotees, and friends. Mahārājās, millionaires, and dignitaries even of heterodox sects and creeds, honoured and respected him during his life-time, and still do honour and respect his memory. And even in distant Europe and America, the great Jainācārya's name is pronounced with sympathy and reverence.

 

2. His Personality

And this is no wonder. For Vijaya Dharma Sūri was not only an ideal Jaina Sādhu, but his was a personality of eminence and rare attractiveness. His was a great and liberal mind, which made him just in the appreciation of things good and noble in other sects and religions. His was a warm heart, which made him mild towards poor infatuated fellow-creatures, whom he loved as a father does his own erring children. His was a firm soul, which made him forbearing even towards his adversaries. His was the quick intuition of a genius, who, ages before, knows the demands of coming generations, and his was a sound common sense, which knows the needs and grievances of the present hour, and finds means to redress them. Renowned was he as a writer, a scholar, an orator, and a social reformer.

 

3. Literary Activity

Even now, his co-religionists and country-men delight in numerous essays and other writings from his pen, which deal with different aspects of Jaina Religion, and which, learned and devotional at the same time, resulted from a deep study of the Sacred Writings as well as post-canonical Jaina Literature, and which, partly, represent what were originally sermons, recast in book-form.

The titles of his chief volumes are: Jaina Tattva Digdarśana (which originally had been read before the Convention of Religions in India on the 9th April 1909, written in Hindi), Jaina Tattvajñāna (in Saṁskṛta), Indriya Parājaya Digdarśana (in Gujarati; a Hindi as well as a Marathi translation having appeared later), Jaina Śikā Digdarśana (in Gujarati, translated into Hindi), Brahmacarya Digdarśana (in Hindi, translated into Hindi and Marathi) Puruśārtha Digdarśana (in Gujarati), Ahiṁsā Digdarśana (Hindi) Ātma Unnati Digdarśana (Gujarati), Dharma Deśanā. All these different works (the resp. years of the first publication of which I could not ascertain) appeared in the Series 'Yaśovijaya Jaina Granthamālā' in Bhavnagar.

The last-named publication, the Dharma Deśanā, consists of a number of articles, which give a clear idea of the whole of Jaina ethics and dogmatics, and which originally had been published, one by one, in the 'Jaina Śāsana' a weekly appearing under the auspices of the Ācārya at Benares, from 1911 till 1914.

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/pics/Jain_Saints/Viyayadharmasuri_001.jpg

Śri Vijaya Dharma Sūri

4. Educational Work

All these different writings were meant to, and indeed did contribute a good deal to, the propagation and popularisation of Jainism in India. In order to reach this aim so much the safer, venerable Vijaya Dharma Sūri at the same time resorted to another expedient, viz., establishing a number of Jaina libraries and Jaina educational institutions which, if enumerated here, would make a long list.

Well-known are the Vīratattva Prakāśaka Maṇḍala at Shivpuri (Gwalior), the students of which are being prepared for the title examinations of Calcutta University, the Yaśovddhi Jaina Bālāśrama at Mahuva (Kathiawar) and the Yaśovijaya Jaina Gurukula at Palitānā. It was Vijaya Dharma Sūri's scheme to get trained up, in these institutions, a number of not only indigenous Jaina scholars, but also Jaina teachers and preachers, who would carry the spirit of Jaina religion amongst the masses, nay, even perhaps as far as Europe and America.

In this connection, it must also be mentioned that it was by Vijaya Dharma Sūri's instigation, that Jaina Nyāya and Jaina Vyākaraa were introduced as subjects for the Madhyamā and Tīrtha Examinations, and the 'Pramāa-naya-tattvā-lokālakāra' prescribed for the M.A. examination in Nyāya.

 

5. Activity as a Scholar

As a scholar, Vijaya Dharma Sūri had made himself a name by his edition of Hemacandra's Yogaśāstra, along with its author's commentary, which appeared in Bhavnagar, in the 'Yaśovijaya Jaina Granthamālā'. Of no less import, though less known, are his works on the field of Old Gujarati Jaina Literature: viz., the Aitihāsika Rasa Sagraha, Vol. 1-3 (Bhavnagar 1920-22, Yaśovijaya Jaina Granthamālā) in which 20 old historical Rasas dealing with Jaina ecclesiastical history, have been edited, and the Prācīna Tīrthamālā Sagraha (Bhavnagar, Yaśovijaya Jaina Granthamālā, 1922), a collection of 25 Tīrthamālās, i.e., small epics dealing with Jaina places of pilgrimage and their history, likewise composed in Old Gujarati. Both the collections contain learned and most valuable introductions and ample notes on Chronology, History, Epigraphy etc.

On the field of Epigraphy, Iconography and Chronology, the Ācārya has likewise been an indefatigable worker, since, on his extensive walking tours, he used to collect and arrange all materials he happened to come across. His most valuable works on this field are however still unpublished. Only a small monograph, entitled 'Devakulapatākā' has come out till now, which gives an account of the history of Delwādā (Mewar) and is accompanied by abundant epigraphic material (Bhavnagar, Yaśovijaya Jaina Granthamālā).

 

6. Editorial Activity

Another work of Vijaya Dharma Sūri must be mentioned here, which alone would have been sufficient to make his name a lasting one: the foundation of the 'Yaśovijaya Jaina Granthamālā' 1904 in Benares, which afterwards was transplanted to Bhavnagar, where it still exists. It was an enterprise destined for the publication of works pertaining to the different branches of Jaina literature such as Kāvya, Nyāya, Vyākaraṇa, Philosophy, and meant at its time, an astonishing innovation, which - thus many leading dignitaries speculated - would result in attacks on the Jaina tenets and institutions from different sides. But after the prejudice had once been broken by Vijaya Dharma Sūri, many publications of Jaina classical writings and canonical scriptures have followed, undertaken from various sides, and Jaina studies have, since then, ever been increasing in India. If, indeed, attacks on the Jaina dogma did follow, from the heterodox side, they could not but enflame the religious zeal of Jaina champions to a higher enthusiasm and sharpen their mental arms.

 

7. Promoting Western Jainology

To what degree Vijaya Dharma Sūri, who could justly be called the father of indigenous Jaina research, has promoted European Jaina studies likewise, this is so well known that I need hardly dwell on it here. There is indeed not a single Jaina scholar in Europe or America but profited in some way or other by the great Ācārya's tactful and liberal help. Vijaya Dharma Sūri (it is well-known) had cultivated an extensive correspondence with the Western learned circles interested in Jainism, and every scholar concerned with Jaina studies could always firmly reckon on being supplied - on request - with references, advice, manuscripts, books and whatever information or other materials he was in need of, through Vijaya Dharma Sūri's generous hand. Scarcely any work has been written on a subject pertaining to Jainology during the last about 20-30 years whose author does not own his indebtedness to the venerable Ācārya.

From this fact it can be inferred what Vijaya Dharma Sūri's liberal policy meant for the young science 'Jainology'. What was Jainology only some decades ago? And what did the West know about Jainism at that time? The number of people who knew something about Mahāvīra and the other Tīrthaṅkaras, or who knew the meaning of such important everyday terms as 'Pratikaramaa', 'Kāyotsarga', 'Śrāvaka', 'Śrāvikā', 'Samyaktva', etc., was limited to a few scholars. Whereas, at that very time, nearly every educated European had some idea about Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva, about Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā, about the Vedas and Upaniṣads, about Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa, about the beauties of Kālidāsa's poetry and about Bhartṛhari's melancholy, about Nirvāṇa and 'Tattvamasi', and there was Gautama Buddha's life painted, in glowing colours, by the masterhand of the Western poet Arnold, a glorious piece of poetry which quickly made Buddhism popular in Europe.

Thus, Buddhism had, indeed, become known, and begun to be methodologically explored in Europe, long before anybody had ever heard of Mahāvīra's teachings. The consequence was that Jainism came to be believed to be but a recent off-shoot of Buddhism for a long time. All this could happen, since there was nobody in the Jaina community who cared for an exploration or propagation of Jainism in Europe, but there were, quite on the contrary, numerous Sādhus who, in all earnest, did object to the sacred Jaina scriptures being exposed to European eyes and to their being edited, translated and studied with a critical view, for the study of these texts then was considered (and the reader will perhaps be astonished to learn that it is still being considered in certain circles) as a privilege of initiated Sādhus only. Regarded from this standpoint, Śrī Vijaya Dharma Sūri's indefatigable endeavours in contributing to the creation and advancement of Jainology are a most courageous and important step, which now, being approved of and imitated by a number of enlightened members of the Jaina community, appears so simple and so self-understood.

 

8. Devadravya Dispute

If, in all the above points, Vijaya Dharma Sūri had to face an orthodox majority, who did not share, and sometimes even opposed to, his views, this is still more obvious in another of his great attempts at reformation, viz., the famous 'Devadravya-Dispute', which, some years ago, set the whole community in motion. 'Devadravya' means “property of the Gods” and consists, according to Vijaya Dharma Sūri's opinion (which is laid down in his pamphlet 'Devadravya sambandhī māra vicāro', Bombay 1920), only of such things which have been deposited before the respective idol with an explicit intention of being offered to the respective deity, such as gifts of money, rice, betel-nuts, almonds etc., which are daily offered in great quantities in all the various Jaina temples.

Current custom and opinion, however, used to include in the Devadravya also the money derived from the so-called 'Ghī-nī bolī', a kind of auction of the right of performing certain ceremonies, by which considerable sums of money are being collected. If Vijaya Dharma Sūri's opinion were to be generally adopted, in that case enormous sums of money, which, at present, are only spent for the erection and restoration of temples, or, in other ways, for the direct service of the idol, would become available for educational and charitable purposes. Though many communities still cling to the old definition, sanctified by tradition, still there are a good number of towns and villages where the reasonable reform suggested by Vijaya Dharma Sūri, has been carried through, and their number will, of course, increase in the measure in which education and enlightenment of the masses will progress.

 

9. Reforming Monastic Customs

Another courageous attack against the gaint 'tradition' Vijaya Dharma Sūri had undertaken, when, at the age of nineteen, he had for the first time re-entered his native place Mahuva, in the garb of a monk. It had come to be an established custom that a Jaina monk, whenever he preached, could do so only in a so called Upāśraya, i.e., Jaina assembly hall, and only sitting in the prescribed posture, the 'Patiyu' behind him, on his 'Pat', with the 'Mukha-vastrikā' in one, and the manuscript in the other hand. Thus the public which he addressed, consisted of course, almost completely of Jaina laymen and laywomen. Vijaya Dharma Sūri, however, not content with such an audience, found that it were not his laymen who were so much in need of his teaching, but, before all, those Non-Jainas, amongst whom the gospel of non-violence had not yet been carried.

Imitating the noble example of Lord Mahāvīra, he found that it was his duty as a religious teacher to speak before all and everybody who needed enlightenment. Thus, making light of old usage, he began to deliver lectures and public addresses in all kinds of meetings, began to preach in all kinds of public places, in the very streets and bazaars, and sometimes even, standing up-right, under the open sky, before crowds in which all creeds and castes were represented. Thus he created himself a powerful expedient for carrying the Jaina tenets amongst people who had never heard the name of a Tīrthaṅkara before. And this very reasonable innovation at once met with general approval, being instantly adopted by numerous Jaina monks (and even nuns) of various orders and sects and the number of its imitators still increases from day-to-day.

 

10. Touring and Lecturing in Heterodox Countries

Finder of new paths in so many different respects, it is no wonder that the great Jainācārya also found new roads in the literal sense of the word, viz., with reference to his very walking tours. It had become an established custom that Śvetāmbara Jaina monks did never extend their walking tours beyond the limits of sweet Gujarat with its vast population of devoted laymen and laywomen, and its multitudes of comfortable Upāśrayas, till venerable Munirāja Buteravjī (alias Buddhivijaya) had also made Kathiawar (and Punjab too) accessible for Jaina monks. Since that time, the road between Ahmedabad, Cambay, Patan, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar formed their traditional march routes, following which they were always sure to find, without difficulty, food and shelter, and a circle of well-prepared and humble hearers of their 'Vyākhyānas'.

Vijaya Dharma Sūri, however, far-sighted and audacious, found the way beyond the traditional limit, to the proud and hostile Benares, the very central place of orthodox Hinduism begging his way, under unspeakable hardships, through a population, which had not the least idea about what a Jaina monk was and what his customs etc. were. And not only did he find his way to Benares but even to the very court and to the very heart of the ruler of that place, who many times paid his respects to the great Jaina Ācārya, after having once become aware of his spiritual eminence. Not only thus much, but he indeed made the haughty representatives of orthodox Hindu hierarchy bow to himself in sincere veneration, made them realize the beauties of his beloved Jaina religion, and even received, from their hands, the title of 'Śāstraviśārads Jainācārya'.

After a fertile activity in Benares, he proceeded to Bihar Old Sacred Magadha, the country where the last Tīrthaṅkara was born, initiated, where he wandered about preaching, and from where he went to salvation, but which is now destitute of Jainism and Jainas, and inhabited by a flesh-eating population, amongst whom not a single reminiscence of the past glories of Jainism has survived. He regarded it his duty as a real son of Mahāvīra, to work there for the re-establishment of non-violence, and even proceeded as far as distant Calcutta, where the initiation of live of his disciples was celebrated with unheard of splendour and display, and where the very elite of national erudition used to hang upon his lips.

 

11. Vijaya Dharma Sūri Bibliography

These few points may suffice to illustrate the fact that the subject of the present booklet is a worthy one, an opportune one, and an attractive one. To support this, it may be added that venerable Vijaya Dharma Sūri's personality and life has come to form the subject of a great number of books and pamphlets, leaving aside the mass of articles and other contributions to newspapers, magazines, and books. It all the resp. titles could be enumerated here, it would appear that Vijaya Dharma Sūri has been extolled not only in Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Bengali, Sinhalese, Saṁskṛta, English, German, French, Italian, but there exists even a highly artistic poem in Prākṛta in his honour, from the pen of the famous Saṁskṛta writer and poet Nyāya Vijaya, who is one of the Ācārya's disciples (Benares, Vīra Saṁvat 2434).

Not only this much, but there are even two different text-books for a Pūjā ceremony to be celebrated in his honour, which have been practically used many times (during the last rainy season, I witnessed two Pūjā ceremonies of Vijaya Dharma Sūri in Bombay). One of the two texts was written by the author of the present 'Vijaya Dharma Sūri Rāsa' and bears the title of 'Śrī Vijaya Dharma Sūrīśvarajī Mahārāja nī Aṣṭaprakārī Pūjā' (Agra, Vīra Saṁvat 2451, in Gujarati), the other, composed by Munirāja Vidyā Vijaya, the celebrated orator and writer, in India, is entitled 'Śrī Vijaya Dharma Sūri Mahārāja Kī AṣṭaprakārīPūjā' (Bhavnagar, Vīra Saṁvat 2451).

Only some of the biographies of Vijaya Dharma Sūri, such as appeared independently-are named as follows:

In English:

  • L. P. Tessitori, Vijaya Dharma Sūri, a Jaina Ācārya of the Present Day, Bhavnagar, Yaśovijaya Jaina Granthamālā (translated into Gujarati by Shah Harilal Shivlal, Bhavnagar).
  • A. J. Sunavala, Vijaya Dharma Sūri, His Life and Work, Cambridge 1922.
  • Vijaya Indra Sūri. Reminiscences of Vijaya Dharma Sūri, Allahabad 1924.

In Gujarati:

  • Muni Vidyā Vijaya, Śrī Vijaya Dharma Sūri Caritra, Ahmedabad 1911.
  • Seth Devacand Damji, Śrī Vijaya Dharma Sūri Jīvanaprabhā, Palitana 1915.
  • Chunilal Shivlal Gandhi, Sāco Dharma, Limbdi 1924.
  • Munirāja Jayantavijaya, Vihāra Varana, Bhavnagar 1926, (containing a detailed description of the deceased Ācārya's walking tours).
  • Tapu Vasani, Śrī Vijaya Dharma Sūri nī Arghya, Bhavnagar 1927.
  • Nyāyavijaya, Vijaya Dharma Sūri nī Vijaya Ghoaā, Bhavnagar 1927.
  • Bhiku Sayalakar, Dharma Jīvana, Shivpuri 1927.

In Hindi:

  • Muni Nyāyavijaya, Dharmagītāñjali, Ujjain 1923.
  • Muni Vidyāvijaya, Ādarśa Sādhu, Bhavnagar 1918.

In Urdu:

  • Vijaya Dharma Sūri yane Sāstraviśārada Jainācārya Vijaya Dharma Sūri kī Jindagī ke Kucha Hālāt, Bhavnagar, 1924.

In Saṁskṛta:

  • Muni Ratna Vijaya, Dharmamahodaya, Benares 1920

Amongst all these various works, the two biographies composed of Venerable Muni Vidyāvijaya, and amongst them more particularly the 'Ādarśa Sādhu' deserve fullest attention, since both of them are not only written on the basis of direct information, but also contain fullest details. For this reason, the 'Ādarśa Sādhu' is often referred to in the present Rāsa and must be kept alongside the latter as a valuable supplement. On the other hand, the 'Ādarśa Sādhu'describing the events only as far as 1918, the Rāsa, in its turn, complements the former work, since it takes into consideration all the events till the Mahātma's death, and even describes the fate of the deceased Ācārya's group of disciples in later years.

 

12. The Vijaya Dharma Sūri Rāsa

In another respect too, the Vijaya Dharma Sūri Rāsa occupies a place of its own, viz., with reference to the spirit in which it is composed. I do not mean the spirit of genuine, and often touching, 'Gurubhakti', which is common to all and every of the extant biographies, but a spirit of enthusiastic devotion to the religious and sectarian ideal which the author professes as his own, and which he not only places high above the ideals of all other religions and sects, but in whose defence and glorification he often severely criticizes heterodox confessions and institutions.

Thus, e.g., a devoted and convinced Terāpanthī layman must surely feel offended on reading the venerable Upādhyāya's often sarcastic criticisms of the Terāpanthī Sect and its dignitaries, and whosoever owes the formation and development of his spiritual self to European, i.e., Christian civilization, must needs feel utterly grieved on finding Christian society characterized as Bhārata Bhraṣṭa Karnāri (i.e., 'ruining India'). But, going through the Rāsa with the calm mind of an investigator of Jainism, one cannot but read even the polemic chapters with great interest, since they allow us to get insight into many an astonishing point of discrimination of the various sects and sub-sects, make us acquainted with many interesting monastic rules and customs, and exemplify the subtle way in which dogmatical discussions are being tackled in those circles. Moreover, the observer of social life gets some insight into the causes of the present dissension of the Jaina Community, into its quarries, its weaknesses and the short-sighted policy of the majority of their spiritual guides.

The prevailing of this polemical spirit, however, should not surprise us too much since it seems to be a characteristic feature of many of the ancient Rāsas, in which the greatest part of the ecclesiastical history of Gujarati Jainism is handed down, and which venerable Maṅgalavijaya has successfully revived in his 'Dharma Jīvana Pradīpa'. All the Rāsas are epic poems, and consist of a number of sections composed in different meters and melodies (deśī, cālī). Endrhyme is obligatory, alternation of Dohā and Dhāla sections (as has been carried through in the 'Dharma Jīvana Pradīpa') optional for the species. The oldest Rāsas dealing with subjects of Jaina history, are of the 13th century. The species flourished during the period from the 14th till 16th century, and has since then come out of fashion.

The older specimens, written in a very archaic Gujarati, are interesting from the linguistic standpoint. Some show real literary merits. But all of them are equally valuable for the historiographer, since they represent trustworthy historical records (Good specimens are contained in the above-mentioned collection of Rāsas edited by Vijaya Dharma Sūri). Venerable Maṅgalavijaya's Rāsa truly examplifies - in nearly all respects - the old species, and, like the ancient Rāsas, it must be sung in order to display its full charm and to exhale the whole sweetness of the pure, innocent devotion and genuine piety in which it abounds. Then, the whole strange world of Jaina asceticism, of which the hero as well as the author are true representatives, with its pensive world-weariness, its peace and contemplativeness and its spirit of bittersweet renunciation, becomes alive before our mental eye:

न च राजभयं न च चोरभयं इहलोकसुखं परलोकहितम्।

नरदेवनतं वरकीर्त्तिकरं श्रमणत्वमिदं रमणीयतरम्॥ १॥

It has a peculiar charm to watch, standing out in bold relief against this unworldly back-ground, the shape of the clear-sighted, energetic hero and his indefatigable endeavours for the progress of his community: a beautiful proof for the often denied fact that Jainism, even in the culminating product of its most rigid postulates, viz., the Jaina monk, need not lead to apathy and passiveness, but has indeed much room for concentrated activity and admirable heroism.

 

13. The Author of the Rāsa

As stated above, venerable Maṅgalavijaya is a Jaina Sādhu himself, and a devoted disciple of Vijaya Dharma Sūri. Upādhyāya Maṅgalavijaya is known as an excellent connoisseur not only of the Jaina Sacred Writings and Jaina Philosophy, but of the various systems of Indian Philosophy and their respective canonical scriptures. The results of a comparative study of the Jaina and Non-Jaina Indian philosophical systems he has laid down in the two volumes of his 'Tattvākhyāna' (Bhavnagar 1921), which are written in Gujarati, and abound in most interesting discussions on all the important points of mutual deviation. Besides, Maṅgalavijaya has also made a good study of indigenous Saṁskṛta Grammar, the results of which have taken shape in his 'Dharmadīpikā' (Bhavnagar 1925), a Saṁskṛta grammar which, though based upon the Siddhahema, contains all the materials in quite a new, and very clear, arrangement: all the respective terms of all the different classes of declension, conjugation etc. being grouped together according to Western method, and various new paradigms being added.

On the special field of Jaina dogmatics, logic etc., the learned Upādhyāya has been very busy too, as his various publication show. There is, from his pen, a 'Jaina Tattva Pradīpa' (in Saṁskṛta) which gives a summary of Jaina dogmatics, a 'Saptabhagī Pradīpa' which deals with a group of problems of Jaina logic, a 'Dravya Pradīpa' and a 'Samyaktva Pradīpa', all of them in Gujarati. His ability as a poet he has shown before in his 'Dharma Pradīpa', a collection of spiritual hymns, and in the above-mentioned hand-book for a Pūjā-ceremony of Vijaya Dharma Sūri.

Now it might interest the reader to learn how venerable Maṅgalavijaya first came into contact with Mahātmā Vijaya Dharma Sūri, all the more since, true to tradition, which forbids the author to throw his own personality or his own personal experience too much into relief, he has refrained from touching this subject more closely in his Rāsa. As the writer of these few lines learned from venerable Maṅgalavijaya himself, the latter was then at the age of nineteen and a Jaina layman. His name was Mansukhalala Bhagavandasa Mehta. Along with other members of his family, he had left his native place Linch, a small country town near Mehasana, in order to visit Śaṅkheśvara, a very old and very renowned place of pilgrimage (about 50 miles distant from Linch). This place possesses a beautiful Jaina Temple with an old and, as people say, miracle working idol of Lord Pārśvanātha, and every year attracts bit crowds of pilgrims, though the railway-station is very far away and the roads are unspeakably bad.

When the party arrived there (it was on the 10th of the dark half of Poa 1896) they found two Sādhus, who had likewise undertaken the pilgrimage to the idol of Śaṅkheśvara Pārśvanātha: the monk Dharma Vijaya (the later Ācārya Vijaya Dharma Sūri) with one of his disciple. The monk's sermon on the vanity of all earthly joys and on the path of renunciation deeply impressed the pious hearers, who afterwards approached the Muni and freely conversed with him. And so much pleased were they with his holy company, that they stayed there for a couple of days, during which time young Mansukhalala, thoroughly examined by Dharma Vijaya, found plenty of opportunity to show his intellect, his learning, and his disposition to strict renunciation.

Inspite of his young age, he took the solemn vow of lifelong celibacy before his future master. Then, following the call of filial duty, he returned to his native place, where he persevered in his former profession, till his father died in 1899, and his brother Dalichand took over the care of the household. Now, Mansukhalala was free to fulfill his heart's desire, viz., to become a Sādhu disciple of Dharma Vijaya. On the 6th of the dark half of Vaiśākha 1900, he became initiated at Mahuva, along with Muni Vallabha Vijaya, and received the monk's name Maṅgalavijaya. The community celebrated the event with much display, and Dharma Vijaya delivered a beautiful sermon on the Saṁskṛta stanza:

भवारण्यं मुक्त्वा यदि जिगमिषुमुंक्तिनगरीं तदानीं मा कार्षीर्विषयविषवृक्षेषु वसतिम्।

अतः छायऽप्येषां प्रथयति महामोहमचिराद् अयं जन्तुर्यस्मात् पदमपि न गन्तुं प्रभवति॥ १॥

For the enlightenment of his new disciples, he narrated and explained the famous allegory of the four damsels Ujjhia, Rakita, Bhāka and Rohiī, who, in their respective ways of dealing with a handful of unhusked rice, are symbolical of the four classes of disciples, with reference to the way in which they profit of the teachings of their master.

After his initiation, Maṅgalavijaya nearly always stayed with his revered Guru, accompanying him on all his vast wanderings, as well as during the various halts in the rainy seasons. After frequenting the Jaina Pāṭhaśālā of Benares, he passed the Nyāya Tīrtha Examination of Calcutta University in Hindu Logic in 1912, along with his brother disciple Nyāyavijaya, and was given the title of Nyāyaviśārada by a committee of Bengal scholars. In 1914, he was given the title of Pravartaka, and in 1923 at Agra, he attained to the title and rank of an Upādhyāya. Since his Guru's death in 1922 he has always been in the company of his brother disciples, the eldest of whom, the present Ācārya Itihāsatattva Mahodadhi Vijaya Indra Sūri, succeeded to the rank and title of Vijaya Dharma Sūri. Along with them, he undertook long tours, especially in Rājaputānā and the Central Provinces, and spent his last rainy season in Bombay, from where the group intends to proceed to the south, in order to carry the light of their faith into these distant regions with their heterodox population, true to the intentions of their great master.

The writer of these few lines feels deeply indebted to venerable Upādhyāya Maṅgalavijaya for much valuable instruction most liberally bestowed on her, and thus thought it her duty to comply with the author's wish of writing an introduction to the Dharma Jīvana Pradīpa. Though she is not a profound connoisseur of Gujarati poetry, such as this task would require, still her zeal to show her gratitude to the author, and her sincere admiration for Jaina religion, Jaina asceticism, and particularly the hero of this book, may be considered as an excuse for her audacity.

May the beautiful words come true which another of Mahātmā Vijaya Dharma Sūri's disciples wrote, out of the depths of his devoted heart:

भवतु भवतु लोके सौख्यवृद्धिः समन्तात् चलतु चलतु कालः प्राणिनां सत्यतश्च।

हरतु हरतु पापं श्रीजिनेन्द्रस्य पन्था जयतु जयतु नित्यं धर्मसूरिर्मुनीन्द्रः॥ १॥