|Charitra Chakravartin Acharya Shri|
Yalgud, Belgaum Karnataka
|Died||18 September 1955(aged 82–83)|
|Cremation place||Kunthalgiri, Maharashtra|
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Acharya Shri Shantisagar (1872 - 1955) was an Indian monk of the Digambara school of the Jain faith. He was the first Acharya (preceptor) and a leader of his sect in the 20th century. Shantisagar revived the teaching and practice of traditional Digambara practices in North India.
Shantisagar was born in either 1872 or 1873 in Yelgud near Bhoj village, Belgavi district Karnataka, India. His father either worked as a farmer or was employed in the clothing business. At age eighteen, having read religious texts and undergone several pilgrimages, Shantisagar decided to dedicate his life to a religious order.
Shantisagar's parents died in 1912. He then traveled to the Jain holy place, Shravanabelagola, a town in Hassan district, Karnataka, India. In 1918, whilst in Shravanabelagola, Shantisagar was lustrated asa kshullaka into the Sangha (holy order) by Devappa (Devakirti) Swami. He took his ailaka (religious vows) before an image of the Tirthankara Neminatha. In about 1920, Shantisagar became a full muni (monk) of the Digambara sect of Jainism. In 1922, at Yarnal village, Belgaum district, Karnataka, he was given the name "Shanti Sagara" ("Ocean of Peace").
He preached the principles of Jainism in various parts of India and became an Acharya. His disciples also called him "Charitra Chakravarti" ("Emperor of good character"). He has also been called "muniraj" ("King among Ascetics"), and "silasindhi" ("Ocean of Observances").
His Vihara throughout India
|“||Shantisagara has owned nothing, not even a loincloth, since 1920. He has wandered on foot over the length and breadth of India, receiving food offerings but once a day, and then with only his bare hands for a bowl; he has spoken little during daylight hours and not at all after sunset.||”|
Based on the accounts given by Sumeruchandra Diwakar and Dharmachanda Shastri, Shantisagar was born in 1872 to Bhimagauda Patil and Satyavati at Bhoj Village in Belgavi dist., Karnataka, India. His birth name was Satgauda. He was married at the age of nine. His wife died six months after the marriage. In 1905, he made a pilgrimage to Sammed Shikharji accompanied by his sister.
In 1925, Shantisagar was present in Kumbhoj township. He attended the Mahamastakabhisheka (grand consecration) at Shravanbelgola, Karnataka. In 1926, he visited Nanded city, Maharashtra. In 1927, he visited Bahubali, Maharashtra and then Nagpur which was then the capital of the Central provinces.
In 1928, Shantisagar visited central India. He visited towns including Katni in Madhya Pradesh state, Jabalpur, Sleemanabad, Nohta, Kundalpur and Sagar. In Dronagir, Shantisagar encountered a tiger. By 1929, Shantisagar was in Lalitpur. In Sonagir, four ailaks (researchers). By 1929, Shantisagar was visiting Gwalior and Murena.
Shantisagar travelled to north India. In Rajakheda, Uttar Pradesh, Shantisagar was attacked by a violent crowd. Shantisagar visited Agra, Hastinapur and Firozabad. In 1930, Shantisagar visited Mathura and received a blessing. Shantisagar's presence in Delhi in 1931 is marked by a memorial at Lal Mandir.
In the 1930s, Shantisagar travelled through Western India. He visited the Shri Mahaveer Ji temple, a Jain pilgrimage site. Shantisagar visited Jaipur in 1932, Byavur in 1933, Udaipur in 1934, Goral in Gujarat in 1935, Pratapgarh in 1936 and Gajpantha in Maharashtra in 1937. Around this time, Shri Shantisagar Charitr was written by Muni Kunthusagar in Sanskrit and in Gajpantha, Shantisagar was given the title, "Charitra Chakravarti". In 1938, Shantisagar visited Baramati, Indore city in Madhya Pradesh. In 1939, he visited Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh.
In the 1940s, Shantisagar travelled through Maharashtra state. He visited Goral in 1940, Akluj in 1941, Korochi in 1942, Digraj in 1943, Kunthalgiri in 1944, Phaltan in 1945, and Kavalana in 1946. Then in 1947, at the time of Partition, Shantisagar was in Sholapur. In a miracle, in Shantisagar's presence, a mute young man began to speak. In 1948, Shantisagar was in Phaltan. He was in Kavlana in 1949.
In the 1950s, Shantisagar continued to travel in Maharashtra state. He was in Gajpantha in 1950, Baramati in 1951, Lonand in 1952, and Kunthalgiri in 1953. In 1953, Sumeruchandra Diwakar's book, Charitra Chakravarti was published. In 1954, there was preservation of the Dhavala books.[clarification needed]
Sallekhana Or Samadhi
In 1955, Shantsagar arrived in Kunthalgiri town. On 18 September 1955, he commenced the practice of Sallekhana, a gradual reducing of intake of fluid and food leading to death. Sumeruchandra Diwakar, Bhattarakas Lakshmisen and Jinasen arrived in the town. Acharya shantisagar attained utkrushta samadhimaran in 35th / 36th day.The title of Acharya pada (teacher of philosophy) was awarded to Muni Virasagar.
Padmanabh Jaini writes about his Sallekhana:
|“||It is 23 August, 1955. On the holy mount of Kunthalagiri, in the state of Maharashtra in India, an man of great soul called Shantisagara (Ocean of peace) is ritually fasting to death. He is the Acharya (spiritual leader) of the Digambara Jain community; now, after thirty-five years as a mendicant, he is attaining his mortal end in the holy manner prescribed by the great saint Mahavira almost 2,500 years earlier. From August 14 until September 7 he takes only water; then, unable to drink without help, he ceases even that. At last, fully conscious and chanting the Jain a litany, he dies in the early morning of September 18. The holiness and propriety of his life and of the manner of his death are widely known and admired by Jainas throughout India.||”|
His lineage (parampara)
He had handed over the leadership to the next Acharya Virasagar (1955-1957). He was followed by, in sequence, Acharya Shivasagar (1957-1969), Dharmasagar (1969-1987), Ajitasagar (1987-1990) and then Vardhamansagar (since 1990) who currently leads his sangha. There are numerous Digambar Jain monks who belong to this tradition. Acharya Gyansagar, the guru of Acharya Vidyasagar, was initiated by Acharya Shivasagar.
Acharya Shantisagar Chhani
Acharya Shantisagar is sometimes termed Acharya Shantisagar (Dakshin) to contrast him with Acharya Shantisagar "Chhani" (North) (1988-1944).  Chhani is a district in Udaipur. They were thus contemporary. Modern Acharya Gyansagar (born 1957) was initially initiated by Acharya Vidyasagar as a Kashullaka, later he was initiated as a full Digambar Muni by Acharya Sumatisagar belonging to the lineage of Acharya Shantisagar Chhani.
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- Media related to Shantisagar at Wikimedia Commons