Who is a Jain Shravak: 36.2 A Few Distinguished Shravaks and Shravikas

Published: 02.04.2020

4. Kesar Singhji Bhandari

A well-known follower, Kesarji was son of DevrajjiBhandari of Kapasana, who settled in Udaipur. Kesarji was trustworthy and had gained the favour of MahaaraanaBhimsinghji of Udaipur. Mahaaraana entrusted him with many important responsibilities. He worked as a tax officer of the state. Impressed by his honesty and hard-work, Mahaaraana rewarded Kesarji four villages (Jawasia, Akalya, Astipura and Lodiyana) as a token of his appreciation. Kesarji worked as an executive officer of the palace for many years before becoming the chief justice. Over the years, Kesarji became close to Mahaaraana, and the royal family would treat him as a member of the family.

Kesarji became a follower of Terapanth during AcharyaBhikshu's tenure and the credit goes to Shobhaji, who made him Terapanthi. He accepted AcharyaBhikshu as his guru after comprehensively understanding the faith and conduct of Terapanth. However, Kesarji did not declare himself as the follower of Terapanth for many years, as in those days people who converted to Terapanth had to face many social hardships, which he wanted to avoid.

In V.S. 1875, AcharyaBharimalji came to Udaipur where his fame was spreading and attaining great heights. This was intolerable for opponents, who devised a plan to misguide King MahaaraanaBhimsinghji. They said 'Famine occurs in the place where the Terapanthi monks reside. They oppose the principles of daan (charity) and daya (compassion). The sojourn of such monks is not good for the city.' Mahaaraana became a victim of their conniving plan and ordered the monks to leave the city. AcharyaBharimalji left and moved to Rajnagar. The opponents got encouraged and subsequently started a new plan to exile the monks out of the Mewar state. When Kesarji came to know about it, he went to the Mahaaraana and said, 'Oh Lord! What have you done! The monks who don't even hurt an ant, have been ordered to leave the city? Now I hear plans are being made to drive them out of Mewar. On your order, they will indeed leave the country. Remember that the result of abusing such great monks will never be beneficial. These days even the nature is wrathful to the city. Poverty is spreading, people are dying every day; the king's son-in-law expired suddenly; Prince Jawaharsingh has fallen ill and now if you exile them, it will be difficult to predict what will happen soon.'

Under the influence of the wrong counsel, Mahaaraana said, Kesar! You know nothing. Those monks should not stay in the city. They prevent rain and there is a possibility of famine because of their stay. Therefore, I ordered them to decamp.' Hearing this, Kesarji explained the essence of Terapanth and the jealous attitude of the opponents.

The Mahaaraana asked with surprise, 'Do you know these opponents?' Kesarji realized the opportune moment for his revelation said, 'Yes, AcharyaBharimalji is my Guru.' The Mahaaraana heard the complete story of the rise of and opposition faced by the Terapanth religion. He regretted his actions and after discussing with Kesarji, sent a letter to AcharyaBharimalji requesting him to return to Udaipur. Owing to his old age, AcharyaBharimalji could not go back, but instead sent Muni Hemrajji, an influential monk, to Udaipur. Muni Hemrajji earned good favour and acceptance for Terapanth. At that critical juncture, KesharjiBhandari had whole heartedly served the sangh by his foresightedness.

5. Bahadurmalji Bhandari

BahadurmaljiBhandari, a prominent personality of Jodhpur, was a prudent, wise, judicious, and intellectual person. Not only was he religious, but he was also endowed with good administrative skills. He was a good shravak, successful bureaucrat and had even served as a Court Minister for a short period. He accomplished all tasks assigned to him with devotion. Bhandariji immeasurably served the Terapanthsangh at crucial times. The following incident in particular illustrates the importance of his services.

In V.S. 1920, Jayacharya initiated Munipatji in Churu, whose mother was initiated six months later. Munipatjis' father had been adopted by Thanji Chopra of Jaipur. However, the father-son relationship was always stressful and the relation did not last long. Munipatjis father soon passed away. Munipatji and his mother became spiritually involved and got initiated. When Thanji Chopra knew about their initiation, he misled, Takhatsinghji, the king of Jodhpur. He complained of this initiation, claiming that Munipatji was his grandson by adoption and that he should be returned to the family. Without investigating the reality, the king ordered to arrest both the Guru and disciple (Jayacharya and Munipatji). Ten men on horseback were sent to Ladnun, where Jayacharya was staying for his chaturmasa.

Bhandariji came to know about the conspiracy and immediately tried to contact the king. It was night and the king had gone to his personal chamber. However, Bhandariji was able to meet him and exclaimed, 'Your Highness, your order to arrest Jayacharya is based on false information. He happens to be my Guru; the head of my religion and I can assure you that he would not initiate anybody without family consent. It's very important and necessary to investigate this issue. Jayacharya has thousands of followers. They will not hesitate to lay down their lives for their Guru. It will make a large section of the society revolt against the kingdom.'

After listening to Bhandariji, the king was worried and asked for possible solutions to resolve the problem. Bhandariji said, 'Kindly issue a new order cancelling the previous order. I will send this order with my elder son, Kishanmal. In his leadership send a few horsemen and order them to ride quickly and let the previous group of horsemen return without presenting your edict.' The king accepted Bhandarijis' suggestion and instantaneously actioned it. Kishanmalji carried the order, met the previous group of horsemen and showing the new order asked them to return. Kishanmalji along with his horsemen went to Ladnun and met with Jayacharya and narrated the entire affair.

After a few days, when Bhandariji visited Jayacharya, he praised his foresight and prudence. Jayacharya wanted to reward him for this extraordinary contribution to the order. In a happy mood, Jayacharya asked 'How should you be rewarded? If you were a monk, even declaring you as yuvaachaarya (successor of the order) would not have been enough.' Bhandariji in all humbleness replied, 'I do not even have the competency required to be a monk. It is your kindness that you are bestowing on me for such a small contribution.' Jayacharya still wanted to reward him in some way. Bhandariji requested, 'Please oblige me by hosting your next chaaturmaas (4 month stay) in Jodhpur. Jayacharya accepted his request and for V.S. 1921 chaaturmaas in Jodhpur was declared.

Bhandariji is also credited with handling a similar situation that arose during SadhviBhurajis' initiation, for which Bhandariji was again rewarded with chaaturmaas in Jodhpur in V.S. 1925.

6. Duli Chandji Dugar

DulichandjiDugar was a distinguished shravak of Ladnun, famously known as asDuljiDugar. He was the son of MangiramjiDugar, but was adopted by his uncle, Shivaramji. Dulji's family had accepted samyaktvdiksha by AcharyaRishiraya. Dulji had been blessed with the opportunity to serve through the tenure of Rishiraya to Kalugani. Dulijis' mother, Gulabaji, was initiated as a nun by Jayacharya. Dulijis' selfless services have become embellished in history.

Regarding Munipatjis' initiation, the order was issued by the king to arrest Jayacharya in Ladnun who was unaware of this conspiracy against him (as mentioned in the previous section).

Meanwhile, after becoming aware of this incident, BahadurmaljiBhandari from Jodhpur immediately sent a message to the shravaks in Ladnun requesting their assistance in getting the order repealed.

The shravaks of Ladnun pondered on this unexpected and highly critical situation impinging over the sect. A defensive strategy was formulated as follows:

  1. To stop the horsemen coming from Jodhpur.
  2. To contact the king of Jodhpur to halt the advancing horsemen.
  3. To face the situation if the riders reach before any change in the orders.
  4. To seek assistance from thakursab of Ladnun.

After much deliberation, it was concluded that Jayacharya would need to be relocated urgently to a safe place to avoid him getting into any trouble by the sudden arrival of the king's men. People were also prepared for any kind of sacrifice. Dulji requested Jayacharya to continue his discourses from his home instead of the outdoor location. After copious requests by shravaks, Jayacharya reluctantly agreed. The shravaks further explained that if he was safe, they would have time to convince the people advancing to Ladnun and hopefully implementation of the king's order could be delayed. By then it would also be possible to get a retraction order from Bhandariji's efforts in Jodhpur. After humble request, Jayacharya went to his house.

Dulji had made all proper arrangements and the first strategy was marked out to explain to the horse-men the actual incident. The second was to build of a chain of the people to protect Jayacharya in case the horsemen could not be convinced and thirdly, keeping local Rajputs on stand-by who had expertise in safeguarding at the cost of their lives in case any of the above plans failed.

Owing to Dulji's immense dedication towards his Guru, Jayacharya, the shravaks of Ladnun, under his guidance prepared themselves to tackle any untoward incidents.

After all security arrangements were executed, the shravaks awaited the arrival of the horsemen and were ready to confront the impending dangers. Fortunately, due to Bhandariji's prudence, the king issued a new order cancelling the previous one. Kishanmalji, Bhandariji's son, along with other horsemen arrived at Ladnun in time with the new ordinance that revoked the previous one.

Introducing himself, Kishanmalji assured the shravaks of the safety of Jayacharya. Kishanmalji approached Jayacharya and narrated the entire episode. In this incident, not only BhadurmaljiBhandariji's effort is praiseworthy, but also the efforts made by the shravakDulichandji to face the situation which reflects his allegiance for the sangh and devotion towards his Guru.

7. Chainroopji Shrishrimal

ChainroopjiShrishrimal lived in Lototi. He was a faithful and tattvagy (well-learned in the knowledge of real entities, ontology) shravak. He had the opportunity to serve AcharyaBharimalji and AcharyaRishirayaji. Once, ShriPujyaJinachandraSuri of Khatargachcha[1] visited Lototi. He was delivering his discourses in the upaashray (religious place) and explaining the ninetattvas. In his lecture he said, 'aashrav (inflow of karma) is non-living (ajiva)' Chainroopji was knower of ontology. He stood up saying, 'aashrav is jiva (living), how can you say it ajiva (non-living)?' They had a long debate on this topic, but Chainroopji was firm on his views. Suriji requested him to discuss after discourse. Discussions started but ended without any conclusion. The final decision was to refer to the Aagams for clarity.

Suriji called on scholar Yatiji to study the Aagams thoroughly to find the answer. Yatiji concluded that according to Aagamsaashrav is jiva.

Suriji was a spiritual soul and immediately accepted that aashrav was in fact jiva. Surijiapologised to Chainroopji and said micchaamidukkadam (may all the evil that has been done be fruitless) for his erroneous explanation of aashrav.

ShravakChainroopji was highly impressed by Suriji's generosity and aatmaarthikata (higher consciousness). He apologised for interrupting the sermon by questioning in public. As Chainroopji was about to leave, Suriji said, 'We have personally discussed it, but I will clarify this matter tomorrow in my discourse.'

The next morning, Suriji accepted his mistake in the assembly and admitted that Chainroopji was right. He publicly apologised for his incorrect explanation. The public hailed both the personalities, Suriji for his inner simplicity and Chainroopji for his authority in tattvagyaan.

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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. Aagams
  2. Ajiva
  3. Chaturmasa
  4. Churu
  5. Consciousness
  6. Guru
  7. Jaipur
  8. Jayacharya
  9. Jiva
  10. Jodhpur
  11. Kalugani
  12. Karma
  13. Ladnun
  14. Mewar
  15. Muni
  16. Rajnagar
  17. Sangh
  18. Shravak
  19. Shravaks
  20. Soul
  21. Terapanth
  22. Terapanthi
  23. Udaipur
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