Tulsi (Jain faith)

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Acharya Tulsi

Acharya Tulsi (October 20, 1914 – June 23, 1997) was a prominent Jain religious leader.[1] He was the founder of the Anuvrata movement [2] and the Jain Vishva Bharti Institute, Ladnun and the author of over one hundred books.

Acharya Mahapragya and Sadhvi Kanakprabha were his disciples.[3]

Biography[edit]

The Ninth Acharya of the Terapanth Community, Acharya Shri Tulsi was born on 20th of October 1914 in Ladnun, in present Nagaur district of Rajasthan, to Vadana and Jhumarmal Khated.[4] Acharya Kalugani, then the leader of the Terapanth Sangh, greatly influenced Tulsi. Tulsi took his monk’s vows at age 11. In 1936, Kalugani nominated Tulsi to be his successor, making him head of Terapanth Sangh.[5] During his leadership of the sangha, he initiated more than 776 monks and nuns.

Scholarship[edit]

In the 1970s, Tulsi began researching, compiling translations and commentaries on the Jain Agamas. Tulsi, along with Yuvacharya Mahapragya, sought to rediscover Jain meditation and termed it Preksha Dhyan.

Anuvrat Movement[edit]

In 1949 he launched the Anuvrat Movement [6] (anu = small, vrat=vow, Anuvratas are the limited version of the Mahavratas for the monks), based on the five Jain principles Truth, Nonviolence, Non-possession, Non-stealing and Celibacy as applied in their limited version for the lay people. The movement encouraged people to apply the Anuvratas in their personal lives, even when dealing with non-religious aspects of the society. The movement also held that Dharma is not for ensuring happiness in the future lives but also for achieving happiness in the present life.[7]

The movement has continued under the leadership of his disciple Yuvacharya Mahapragya. He was raised to the rank of the Acharya by Acharya Tulsi himself.

Institutions[edit]

In 1948 Tulsi established the Parmarthik Shikshan Sanstha, a spiritual training centre for females aspirants who wanted to lead the Jain monastic lifestyle. Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, an education and research institute was established in 1991 with inspiration from Acharya Tulsi.

Traditionally Jain monks have been prohibited from travelling overseas.[8] Tulsi developed the Saman Order around 1980 in an effort to spread the preachings of Jainism worldwide. This order follows the lifestyle of Sadhus and Sadhvis with two exceptions: They are granted permission to use means of transportation. They are allowed to take food which is prepared for them. This order can be termed as the link between the normal households and the Jain monks and nun.

As a Wandering Ascetic[edit]

Jain Monks and nuns remain under a vow of moving on foot all their life. In Tulsi’s lifetime he covered more than 70,000 km.[9] His major wanderings included:

  • 1949 : From Bikaner to Jaipur, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and back to Rajasthan.
  • 1955 : From Rajasthan to Gujarat, Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh and back to Rajasthan.
  • 1958 : From Rajasthan to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, again Bihar, Uttar pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and back to Rajasthan.
  • 1966 : From Rajasthan to Gujarat, Maharastra, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala, Karnataka, Andra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and back to Rajasthan.
  • 1974 : From Rajasthan to Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, and back to Rajasthan.
  • 1981 : From Rajasthan to Haryana, Delhi and back to Rajasthan.
  • 1987 : From Rajasthan to Haryana and Delhi and back to Rajasthan.

In the course of these travels, Tulsi visited numerous communities and preached to Anuvrat-oriented life.

Call for Jain Unity[edit]

Acharya Tulsi proposed harmonious cooperation among various Jain sects. As a result of his support, Samana Suttam came to be compiled and accepted by all sects.

Recognitions[edit]

  • Title of Yug Pradhan in 1971 by the president of India V. V. Giri[10]
  • Bharat Jyoti Award
  • Vakpati Award
  • The Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1993

Stamp: On 20 October 1998, the vice-president, Krishna Kant, released an Indian commemorative three-rupee postage stamp of Tulsi.[11] Kant said that the Tulsi gave a new and contemporary direction to the high ideals of Jainism.

Coins: In 2014, the Reserve Bank of India issued two coins featuring Achrya Tulsi, Rs 5[12] and Rs 20.[13] Finance Minister Shri P.Chidambaram Released the Commemorative Coins to Commemorate the Birth Centenary of Acharya Tulsi at Bikaner.

Controversies[edit]

Acharya Tulsi encountered widespread praise as well as occasional criticism. [14]

Memorial[edit]

A memorial named Mahashila Abhilekh has been erected in his memory in the village of Todgarh.

Coins of denomination Indian Rupee 5 issued in 2013, on centennial birth anniversary of Acharya Tulsi.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jainism: A Pictorial Guide to the Religion of Non-violence edited by Kurt Titze, Klaus Bruhn, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1998, p. 144
  2. ^ INDIA: Atomic Vows, Time Magazine, Monday, May 15, 1950 http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,820578,00.html
  3. ^ Introduction to World Religions, Christopher Hugh Partridge, Fortress Press, 2005, p. 185
  4. ^ "Haryana to celebrate Acharya Tulsi Jayanti". The Times of India. Oct 3, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  5. ^ The Family and The Nation, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Acharya Mahapragya PHarperCollins Publishers, 2012, p. 23.
  6. ^ The Penguin Handbook of the World's Living Religions, John R Hinnells, Penguin UK, 2010, p. 364
  7. ^ "600 PLEDGE HIGH ETHICS; New Religious Leader in India Effects One-Year Conversion, May 2, 1950, THE NEW YORK TIMES. May 2, 1950
  8. ^ There are some rare exceptions. See Abhayagiri vihāra#King Valagamba and Abhayagiri
  9. ^ Acharya Tulsi - A Peacemaker par Excellence, Acharya Mahaprajna, Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnun, India, Third Edition, 2000
  10. ^ Jain saint Tulsi dies, Indian Express, June 24, 1997. http://expressindia.indianexpress.com/ie/daily/19970624/17550473.html
  11. ^ Stamps 1998: A commemorative postage stamp on ACHARYA TULSI 1914-1997 http://iic.ac.in/projects/nic/Contrivers/1998.html
  12. ^ RBI to issue Rs 5 coins on Acharya Tulsi birth centenary, Press Trust of India, Mumbai April 4, 2014
  13. ^ Wednesday, February 5, 2014 New Coins Released - Acharya Tulsi
  14. ^ अनुशासन के प्रतीक थे आचार्य तुलसी: महाश्रमण http://www.bhaskar.com/article/MAT-RAJ-OTH-c-189-120175-NOR.html
  15. ^ Ramlal Puri vs State Of Madhya Pradesh on 24 December 1970 http://indiankanoon.org/doc/1645758/
  16. ^ Itihas ki Amar Bel - Oswal (Part -I), Mangilal Bhutoria, 1988, p. 286
  17. ^ Muni Lokprakash Expelled From The Sangh, Jain, Aparigraha, Jain, Karuna, 12.11.2005, http://www.herenow4u.net/index.php?id=cd5090
  18. ^ The Bhangi jain converts from Jodhpur, in From Higher Caste to Lower Caste: The Processes of Asprashyeekaran and the Myth of Sanskritization, Shyamlal Rawat Publications, 1997, p. 129, 135.
  19. ^ Shyamlal. Jain Movement and Socio-Religious Transformation of the "Bhangis" of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Indian journal of social work, 53, 59-68, I01743, 1992.

External links[edit]