The Tapa Gaccha is the largest monastic order of Svetambara Jainism. It was founded by Acharya Jagat Chandrasuri in Vikram Samvat 1285 (1229 CE). He was given the title of "Tapa" (i.e., the meditative one) by the ruler of Mewar. It was a branch of the Brihad Gaccha founded by Udyotan Suri.
In Samvat 1942 (1886 CE), Shri Vijayanand Suri Ji Maharaj (also popularly known as Shri Atma Ram Ji or Guru Atam) was bestowed with the title of Acharya at Palitana after a gap of 262 years. He was responsible for reviving the wandering orders among the Svetambara monks. As a result of this reform, most Svetambara Jain monks today belong to the Tapa Gaccha. He was followed by Acharya Vijay Vallabh Suri who spread the teachings of Lord Mahavira and carried forward the good work done by Shri Atmaramji especially on spread of education amongst Jains and relentless work on the Panchamrat of: Sewa (service), Sangathan (education), Shiksha (education), Sadharmik Utakarsh (upliftment of co-brethren) and Sahitya Prakashan (printing and spread of Jain Literature). After Acharya Vijay Vallabh Suri, Acharya Vijay Samudra Suri was appointed as his Patdhar who was then followed by Acharya Vijay Inderdin Suri. Currently, Acharya Vijay Ratnaker Suri is the patdhar of Atam Vallabh Pat parampra.
Besides, there were other Acharyas who also were disciples of Guru Atam and amongst them, currently Shri Prem Suriji samuday has nearly 1000 Sadhu maharaj. Shri Ramchadra Suri ji M and Shri BhuvanBhanu Suriji M are prominent group among PremSuriji M. this group covers nearly 66% of total Tapagachchha.
Today near 60% of monks and nuns are disciples and followers of Atmaramji Maharaja who was during his lifetime, acknowledged as the highest authority on Jainism and mention to this effect is found in World Parliament of Religions in Britain as well.
68th Jain acharya of the Svetambara Tristutik order, Acharya Rajendrasuri, reformed and simplified the Jain yati/monk institution. He opposed worship of other gods and goddesses other than the Tirthankara.
Differences among subsects
All the Tapa Gaccha sects and subsects are followers and disciples of Acharya Vijay Dev suri M.S. (1600–1657 AD) It is remarkable here that Acharya Vijay Dev suri was worshiped end number of time with Navangi puja which is still exists with Acharya Prem suri, and Acharya Shantichandra suri sects (Samudaya).
In all sub sects of Tapa Gaccha there are a few differences as below:
- Navangi Puja of monk (worship).
- Tithi (calendar).
- Palitana Chaturmas yatra.
- Santikaram Chanting in Chaturdasi.
Acharya Vijay Dev suri (1600–1657) was above all this controversy and never chanting Santikaram after Chaumasi pratikraman, always worshiped by Navangi Puja by followers and plenty of examples in his disciples who has established pratishtha on palitana hills in so called chaturmas times.
In the Tapa Gaccha now there are total 8000 monks and nuns with nearly 24 different sects belongs to Tapa Gaccha. Tapa Gaccha is having different 24 branches in different groups or subsects. The biggest group is Achary Prem suri, where nearly 2200 monks and nuns are with highest number. One is followed by Acharya Ramchandra Suri (1350 monks and nuns), who established be Tithi principle. Another is Acharya shri BhuvanBhanu Suri ji (850 monks and nuns). Other big group is "Sagar Samuday" and "Acharya NemiSuri Samudaya" which are counted as big group in Tapa Gaccha. Acharya Ramchandra Suri and Acharya Bhuvanbhanu Suri aer both disciples of Acharya Nemi Suri. Mainly Prem Suri sect has more than 25% of Jain monks.
Acharya Ramchandra Suri group (first disciple of Acharya Premsuri) is biggest having more than 1401 monk &nuns Acharya Shri Hembhushan Suri was Head (Gaccha Nayak) of this Jain monk's group who died last year and Shri Punyapal Suri is new gacchadhipati.
Acharya Shri Bhuvan Bhanu suri group (another prominent disciple of Acharya Premsuri ji) is also another group in Tapaa Gachchha having 972 monk and nuns. Currently Acharya Jayghosh Suri ji is Head (Gaccha Nayak) in this group. It is important that Jaygosh suri ji has highest number of monks in any singal samudaya that is 461 monks.
Sect of Tapa Gachchha
- Shri Vijay Prem-Ramchandra Suri (total monks and nuns 1401)
- Shri Vijay Prem-Bhuvan Bhanu suri (total monks and nuns 972)
- Shri Anandsagar suri (Sagarji) (total monks and nuns 847)
- Shri Vijay Nemi suri (Shasan Samrat) (total monks and nuns 581)
- Shri Vijay Kanak suri (vagad) (total monks and nuns 634)
- Shri Vijay Niti Suri total (monks and nuns 465)
- Shri Vijay Siddhi suri (Bapji M) (total monks and nuns 446)
- Shri VIjay Dharma Vijayji-shri RAM SURI (Dahela vala) (total monks and nuns 331)
- Shri Vijay Bhakti Suri total (monks and nuns 325)
- Shri Vijay Labdhi Suri total (monks and nuns 292)
- Shri Vijay Vallabh Suri Patdhar of Acharya Vijayanand Ji ( Guru Atma Ram Ji ) Acharya Ratnakar Suri is the current Patdhar of Acharya Vijayanand ( Guru Atam ) Pat parampra chosen by Acharya Inderdin Suri.
- Shri Vijay Keshar Suri (total monks and nuns 228)
- Shri Vijay Dharma Suri-Kanakratna Suri (total monks and nuns 247)
- Shri Vijay Himachal Suri (total monks and nuns 136)
- Shri Buddhisagar Suri (total monks and nuns 120)
- Shri Vijay Shantichandra Suri Ist (total monks and nuns 225) be tithi
- Shri Vijay Shantichandta Suri 2nd (total monks and nuns 207) ek tithi
- Shri Mohanlalaji (total monks and nuns 41)
- Shri Vijay Amrat Suri (total monks and nuns 29)
- Shri Vimal Gachchha (total monks and nuns 41)
- Shri Tristutika Gachchha All (Acharya Shri Jayantsain suri) (total monks and nuns 292)
As a one largest part of tapa gachchha, one should understand what is gachchha system prevail in Jainism.[clarification needed] There are mainly five gachchha as follows:
Tapa has almost twenty-one different samudays and two schools of thought. One is called ek tithi and second is be tithi. In ek tithi there are almost seventeen different samuday or groups and in be tithi there are nearly three samudays. In numbers if you count, it is 94% is only tapa gachchha and 5% is other four gachchha.[clarification needed] Acharya shri Ramchandrasuri ji samudays in be tithi and Acharya Bhuvan bhanu suriji samuday in ek tithi is almost 45% of total sadhu numbers and 25% of total sadhu sadhvi numbers.[clarification needed] About 75% of the initiations happens in this two groups which are most prominent and fast developing samuday among all. There are nearly 203 acharya and out of those number at least 60 acharya belongs to these two samudays.
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