Who is a Jain Shravak: 36.1 A Few Distinguished Shravaks and Shravikas

Published: 01.04.2020

1. Shobha Chandji

Shobhaji was an exclusive and renowned shravak of AcharyaBhikshu. He belonged to Kothari family of Kelava. In VikramSamvat (v.s.) 1817, his father Netasi accepted AcharyaBhikshu as his Guru (Shobhaji was then in his mother's womb) during the first chaaturmaas of AcharyaBhikshu.

As he was born in a religious family, Shobhaji had inclinations towards religion since an early age. He had immense faith in AcharyaBhikshu. Being a passionate and proficient poet, he wrote many songs (bhajans) and was determined to pen one-tenth of the total verses composed by AcharyaBhikshu. This resolution inspired him to become a prolific poet. AcharyaBhikshu composed 38,000 verses and consequently Shobhaji penned 3800 and one of his renowned creations is 'Pujagani'. It contains thirty songs. His songs portray the faith he had in AcharyaBhikshu. Listed below are a few famous ones:

  1. Puj Bhikhanji ro samaran kijiye.
  2. Hun balihaari ho Bhikhanjiranaamri.
  3. Svaamijiradarshan kin vidh hoi?

Shobhaji was equally acquainted and adept in both religious and worldly affairs. Along with his filial responsibilities, he was Chief Minister of the royal family of Kelava for many years. He worked with honesty and efficiency. Once, Shobhaji had a disagreement and dispute with the Thakur (landlord) which made it difficult for him to remain in Kelava. He made the necessary arrangements and surreptitiously moved to Nathdvara. This made Kelava's Thakur even more furious. He connived with the renowned Jaagiradar (grantee) Gusainji of Nathdvara, and through false accusations imprisoned Shobhaji.

Coincidently, AcharyaBhikshu was travelling in the proximate areas of Nathdvara. Shobhaji used to visit AcharyaBhikshu once every four to five days. These routine visits were now disrupted due to his imprisonment. On arriving Nathdvara, AcharyaBhikshu enquired about Shobhaji and after learning that he was in prison immediately went to see him. After inquiring with the prison officer, AcharyaBhikshu found his cell and saw that Shobhaji was deeply engrossed in his singing:

moto phand in jeevrai re, kanak kaamini doy,
ulajh rahyo nikal sakun nahi re, darshan ro padiyo bichhoy.
svaamiji ra darshan kin vidh hoy?
bhaaun inavidh bhaavna mein, pan jor ne chale koi.
svaamiji syun milano kinavidh hoy?

He was saying that he was entangled in a large web of materialistic world and now it was difficult to overcome it. I am praying to see my Guru AcharyaBhikshu but how can it become possible?

Listening to his devotional song, AcharyaBhikshu said, 'darshaninavidh hoy (this is how, you can see me). Look! I am here to meet you.' Hearing the voice, Shobhaji immediately opened his eyes and was overwhelmed to see his Guru. As he moved forward to greet AcharyaBhikshu, the shackles around his feet fell apart. On observing this the officers and security guards were stunned. It was a divine miracle for them.

Gusainji was informed about this incident. Initially he was confused, but later realizing travesty of justice, ordered Shobhaji to be released.

Shobhaji was fervently faithful as well as learned and would disseminate the awareness and understanding of the principles of Terapanth religion to people wherever he travelled. He was the one who taught and convinced the principles of Terapanth to the reputed shravakKesarjiBhandari of Jodhpur.

2. Maheshdasji

Maheshdasji was an inhabitant of Kishangarh. He later settled in Jaipur. Once, AcharyaBharimalji visited Kishangarh where many were opposed to his ideologies. Maheshdasji was the chief of the opposition party. Later in, the same year Muni Hemarajji was instructed for his chaaturmaas in Kishangarh. The circumstances created by the people were very unfavourable at the beginning of chaaturmaas. Not a single person performed paushadh during samvatsari. Eventually, however, a few people understood the tenets of the Terapanth religion and accepted AcharyaBhikshu as their Guru. Surprisingly, Maheshdasji, the most opposing person, was one of them.

Although Maheshdasji had become a Terapanthi, his wife did not have faith in AcharyaBhikshu and so did not become his disciple. Maheshdasji didn't impose his faith on his wife but continued his efforts in earnest to make her understand. He tried to convince his wife by singing the bhajan (holy song) composed by him. A few lines from his bhajan named 'Guru-olakhana' are very famous:

eiy guru mhaara,
eiy guru mhaara, they karlyoni thaara,
eiy guru mhaara.
thaane khote maarag ghaalun nahi, mhaari rakho antarang parteet,
liya vrat chokha paljyo, the to jaasyo jamaaro jeet.
apaan naata aage anant karya, bale bhogavya ananti baar bhog,
punya tana sanjog thi, abake miliyo ehavo sanjog.

i.e. please accept my Guru as yours. Believe me I will not lead you to erroneous path. By practising the vows perfectly, you will make your life meaningful. During past lives we may have been in relations often and enjoyed the worldly pleasures. Fortunately, in this life we have such a wonderful opportunity of practicing spirituality.

The above lines encapsulate codes of conduct, request of accepting AcharyaBhikshu as Guru, relation of past lives, and the blessed present life. Various other bhajans composed by him are renowned such as: 'diharo', bhentbhaavicharan le sharan, etc. He convinced and converted many people along with his wife to become followers of Terapanth. That is why he was well-known as 'patni-pratibodhak' (Awakener of wife).

3. Gumanji Lunavat

GumanjiLunavat, resident of Pipad, was a religious man and very curious in learning the tenets of Jainism. He had immense faith in AcharyaBhikshu and would relentlessly study scriptures which intensified and extended his knowledge. Once, an idea kindled in his mind- 'If I collect all the scriptures of AcharyaBhikshu, I will have sufficient material for 'svaadhyaay'.' Being an ordinary man, this task was difficult as AcharyaBhikshu would never give his writings to others. There was only one way left, to memorise the scriptures and then put them in writing. He applied this idea by memorising a few verses and then going away to write them down. In this way, he recorded all the scriptures of AcharyaBhikshu and combined them into a single 'Mahaagranth! This manuscript known as 'GumaanjikaPotha' is even today preserved in the library of the Terapanth order (SanghiyGranthaagaar).

Gumanji was one of the trustworthy, devoted disciples of AcharyaBhikshu and a well-wisher of Terapanth.

Once, AcharyaBhikshu called for Muni Veniramji thrice but he was in the opposite shop and could not hear him. AcharyaBhikshu thought that the Muni was ignoring his words. He said to Gumanji who was sitting nearby, 'What's the matter? It's like Veniram doesn't want to stay in our order?' Instantly Gumanji went and alerted Muni Veniramji, who immediately rushed to AcharyaBhikshu and apologised for his impolite behaviour and assuring to be more careful in future. Due to Gumanji, Veniramji could preserve his place in the heart of his Guru. AcharyaBhikshu was assured that it was safe and in the favour of the order to discuss confidential matters with Gumanji. It reflects that Gumanji was a trustworthy shravak of AcharyaBhikshu and he was also well-wisher of Terapanth order.

Vijaychandji Patawa

Vijaychandji Patawa from Pali (Marwar) was one of the prominent religious shravaks amongst the Sthanakavasi sect. Once, AcharyaBhikshu was in Pali and his inspirational discourses and erudition became the 'talk of the town.'

Owing to fear of the society, Patawaji couldn't gather enough courage to visit AcharyaBhikshu during the daytime. However, one night, after Acharya's sermon, Patawaji along with his friend VardhamanShrishrimal (an idol-worshipper) went to see AcharyaBhikshu. At that time, AcharyaBhikshu was getting ready to sleep, but noticing the two gentlemen, he instructed his monks, 'Please go to sleep, I shall have a discussion with them.' Some monks slept while others sat nearby to listen to the discussion. AcharyaBhikshu sat on his aasan (monk's woollen mat) and both men were standing. Patawaji and his friend kept asking questions to AcharyaBhikshu. He replied to each and every query. The principles of Terapanth were discussed throughout the night and by the morning both men understood all the facts and accepted 'samyaktvdiksha' (for accepting Terapanth religion).

VijayjiPatawa became a follower of AcharyaBhikshu by thoroughly understanding the Jain Tenets. His faith in AcharyaBhikshu and Terapanth order was so resolute that it remained firm under all circumstances.

Once, Muni Chandrabhanji (monk expelled from the sangh) visited Pali and came across Patawaji. He openly condemned AcharyaBhikshu, but Patawaji didn't speak a single word in front of him. People standing nearby considered his silence in favour of Chandrabhanji.

Later, when AcharyaBhikshu reached Pali, people complained about Patawaji. AcharyaBhikshu waited for Patawaji to clear his doubts if any. AcharyaBhikshu did not hear from Patawaji and therefore asked him, 'I heard that Chandrabhanji had a talk with you criticizing me. Do you want to clarify anything?' Patawaji replied 'Swamiji! I have no doubt in my mind! I know that the person who has abandoned all his resolutions taken in the presence of the infinite siddhas will never hesitate to lie. Had I started an argument with Chandrabhanji, it would have been a waste of my time.'

Once, AskaranjiDanti told Patawaji: Swamiji believes that it is a misconduct to open kivaad (A type pf door, found in ancient buildings of Rajasthan), but he himself opened the kivaad in certain villages.

Patawaji: 'He can never do such a thing.'

Dantiji: 'Believe me, he has done it.'

Patawaji: 'I believe that you are not capable of telling the whole truth regarding this issue.'

AcharyaBhikshu came to know of this incident. Praising the unparalleled devotion of Patawaji, AcharyaBhikshu stated, 'Even though some people try to show flaws in monks to divert the devotion of VijaychandjiPatawa, he never enquires about them. It seems that he is endowed with kshayaksamyaktv (everlasting right faith).'

In fact, anyone who does has no doubts and has unflinching faith in dev, Guru and dharm never loses his samyaktv.

Such words, by AcharyaBhikshu for any shravak, signify their keen faith in Terapanth religion.

Sources

Title:  Who is a Jain Shravak?
Author: 

Acharya MahaPragya

Translator: 

Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha

Publisher:  Adarsh Sahitya Vibhag, JVB
Edition: 
2019
Digital Publishing: 
Amit Kumar Jain

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anant
  2. Bhajan
  3. Bhajans
  4. Bhikhanji
  5. Darshan
  6. Dharm
  7. Fear
  8. Guru
  9. Jainism
  10. Jaipur
  11. Jodhpur
  12. Kelava
  13. Kishangarh
  14. Marwar
  15. Muni
  16. Pali
  17. Punya
  18. Rajasthan
  19. Samvatsari
  20. Sangh
  21. Shravak
  22. Shravaks
  23. Sthanakavasi
  24. Swamiji
  25. Terapanth
  26. Terapanthi
  27. siddhas
  28. vrat
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