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Acharya Vidyasagar

Sant Shiromani Acharya Shri 108
Ji Maharaj
Acharya Vidyasagar, a prominent Digambara monk
Religion Jainism
Sect Digambara
Born Vidyadhar
(1946-10-10) 10 October 1946 (age 71)
Sadalga, Belgaum district, Karnataka
  • Mallappa (Mallinath) (father)
  • Shrimanti (mother)
Religious career
Predecessor Acharya Gyansagar
Disciple(s) Pramansagar, Sudhasagar, Kshamasagar, Guptisagar
Works Mukamati
Initiation 30 June 1968
by Acharya Gyansagar

Acharya Shri Vidyasagarji Maharaj (born 10 October 1946) is one of the best known modern Digambara Jain Acharya (philosopher monk). He is known both for his scholarship and tapasya. Despite of being in a modern age, he is known for his hard austerity and long hours in meditation.


Vidyasagar was born as Vidyadhar on 10 October 1946 on Sharad Purnima (full moon) in Sadalga, Belgaum district, Karnataka. His father Mallappa, mother Shrimati, and two sisters took diksha and joined the sangh of Acharya Dharmasagar.[1] Of the three brothers, two of them joined the sangh of Acharya Vidyasagar himself, leaving one brother Mahavira Ashtage, to marry and continue the blood line.[2][3]

He was initiated as a Digambara monk at the age of 22 by Acharya Gyansagar, who belonged to the lineage of Acharya Shantisagar, at Ajmer in 1968.[4] He was elevated to the Acharya status in 1972.[5]

Acharya Vidyasagara is a scholar of Sanskrit and Prakrit and knows several languages such as Hindi and Kannada.[6] Several researchers have studied his works for masters and doctoral degrees.[7] His works include Niranjana Shataka, Bhavana Shataka, Parishah Jaya Shataka, Suniti Shataka and Shramana Shataka. He also authored nearly 700 Haiku poems which are unpublished. He authored the Hindi epic poem Mukamati.[5][7] This has been also included in the syllabus of MA Hindi in various institutions.[which?][8] This epic poem has also been translated into English by Lal Chandra Jain and was presented to President of India.[7][9][10]

Acharya Vidyasagar has been a source of inspiration to the people for starting institutions for the welfare of living beings at different places.[5]

Acharya Vidyasagar has been a source of inspiration for religious functions. He has initiated more than 125 monks,[11][12] a number unmatched in the past nine centuries.

Acharya Vidyasagar has been a source of inspiration for the construction, development and renovation of Jain temples and images all over India.[5] He has always inspired to invite scholars of eminence to have discourses on different subjects. He has also taken classes to teach his disciples different Jain texts. He is a strong supporter of cow protection movement.[13]

His Chaturmas for 2016 was in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh,[14] where he was accompanied by 38 munis.[15] He gave his Pravachana in Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly on special invitation from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on 28 July 2016.[16][17]

Inscription on Parshvanath idol at Orchha mentioning the lineage of Acharya Vidyasagar from Acharya Shantisagar. He is termed anasakta yogi, jyeshtha, shreshtha, sant shiromani

In 2016, during a busy trip to Bhopal, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi took time to visit him,[18] leading to speculations on what was Modi's objectives and what they discussed.[19] He was also visited by former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia from the opposing Congress Party[20] There is a belief that his blessings may bring victory in elections.[21]

His tradition

He belongs to the tradition established by Acharya Shantisagar.[22] Acharya Shantisagar initiated Acharya Virasagar, who was then succeeded by Acharya Shivsagar, Acharya Gyansagar[23] and finally Acharya Vidyasagara. Two of his brothers, Anantanath and Shantinath also followed him and were initiated by Acharya Vidyasagar as Muni Yogasagar and Muni Samaysagar respectively.[24]

Some of his disciples are well known scholars of their own right. As of 2001, about 21% of all the Digambar monks were under Acharya Vidyasagara.[11][25] One of his best known disciples, Muni Kshamasagar ji, obtained samadhi in 2015[26] Muni Sudhasagar and Upadhyaya Guptisagar are also his disciples.

Since the number of monks (munis) and nuns (āryikas) initiated by him and are directed by him exceeds two hundred (117 Digambar Muni, 172 Aryikas), they stay in more than 60 locations in India during chaturmas, ranging from Gujarat to Jharkhand, and Haryana to Karnataka.[27] This ensures that only a few monks or nuns are staying in a place. They all depend on local Jains to provide them shelter and food.[citation needed]

His wanderings (Vihara)

As a traditional Digambara Jain monk, he never stays in a single place for more than a few days, except for the four months of the rainy season (chaturmas). He never declares which place he will be in next, although people attempt to estimate his next move.[28][29] Since his initiation in 1968 he has had 7 chaturmas in Rajasthan (1968–74), one in UP (1974), 7 in MP (1976-1982), one in Bihar (1983), 9 in MP again (1984-1992), two in Maharashtra (1993–94), one in MP (1995), one in Gujarat (1996), 11 in MP again (1997-2007), one in Maharashtra again (2008), 8 in MP again (2009-2016).[citation needed]

The Acharya does not eat salt, sugar, fruits, milk, in addition to what is traditionally prohibited (like onions). He goes out for meal at about 9 AM. The devout wait for him to pass by and urge him to visit their kitchen. The Acharya picks one family, and accepts food given to him in the palms of his hand, one morsel at a time.[30]


His disciple Muni Kshamasagar wrote his biographical account Ātmānveśhī (hi:आत्मान्वेषी) which was translated in English as 'In Quest of the Self' and was published by Bhartiya Jnanpith.[31]

See also



  1. ^ Gita Jain 1978, pp. 8-14.
  2. ^ "जब छिपकर विनोबा भावे को सुनने गए थे आचार्यश्री विद्यासागर", Patrika, 8 June 2016 
  3. ^ "अपने ज्ञान को दर्शन बनाएं", Bhaskar News Network, 25 September 2016 
  4. ^ Kshamasagar 2007, p. 28.
  5. ^ a b c d Natubhai Shah 1998, pp. 56–57.
  6. ^ Kshamasagar 2007, p. 26.
  7. ^ a b c "Acharya Vidyasagar's book "Silent Earth" presented to President", Web India 123, 15 June 2011 
  8. ^ "बीयू के सिलेबस में जैन ग्रंथ 'मूकमाटी' को किया शामिल", Dainik Bhaskar, 24 May 2013 
  9. ^ "Acharya Vidyasagar's Book "Silent Earth" Presented To President", 
  10. ^ Vidyasagar 2010.
  11. ^ a b Flügel 2006, p. 356.
  12. ^ "Religious intolerance, terror attacks threat for country: Acharya", One India, 5 October 2008 
  13. ^ Flügel 2006, p. 353.
  14. ^ "आचार्य विद्यासागर महाराज के प्रोग्राम में चार महिला चोर गिरफ्तार, सात सोने की चैन जप्त", Nai Duniya, 27 July 2016 
  15. ^ Vidyasagar Ji Maharaj Sangh Parichaya book 2016.pdf
  16. ^ "देश के इतिहास को बनाए रखने के लिए पक्ष-विपक्ष साथ काम करें: आचार्यश्री", Rajasthan Patrika, 28 July 2016 
  17. ^ "When Another Jain Monk Addressed A State Legislative Assembly And There Was No Controversy", The Huffington Post, 29 August 2016 
  18. ^ Ranjan (14 October 2016), Why is Modi keen to meet Acharya Vidyasagar?, Bhopal 
  19. ^ Sharma, Rajendra (15 October 2016), Modi holds close-door meet with Jain seer, TNN 
  20. ^ Scindia makes up his mind to lead Congress in state, Sep 29, 2016
  21. ^ Blessings of seers behind BJP’s victory in 2014 Lok Sabha polls: Amit Shah, Indian Express, June 18, 2016
  22. ^ In Quest of The Self (The Life Story of Acharya Shri Vidyasagar), Muni Kshamasagar, 2006, Bharatiya Jnanpith
  23. ^ "इस संत के जीवत रहते स्टूडेंट कर रहे हैं इन पर PHD, जानें क्या है इनकी खूबी", Dainik Bhaskar, 17 October 2016 
  24. ^ Kshamasagar 2007, p. 73.
  25. ^ "Jain Muni Pramansagar ji Maharaj disciple of Acharya Vidyasagar ji", The Times of India, 27 October 2010 
  26. ^ [वर्णीभवन मोराजी में मुनिश्री क्षमासागर महाराज का समाधिमरण, Patrika, 2015-03-13]
  27. ^ शिष्य गण – चातुर्मास 2009
  28. ^ दयोदय गौशाला पहुंचे आचार्यश्री, होली पर दिया यह संदेश, Patrika, 3/13/2017
  29. ^ आचार्य विद्यासागर जी का ससंघ प्रवेश आज, Bhaskar News Network, Jul 15, 2016
  30. ^ आचार्यश्री के आहारचर्या के लिए सजती हैं चौकियां, जानें किन चीजों को देख छोड़ देते हैं खाना, Patrika, 2016-06-05
  31. ^ Kshamasagar 2007, p. 4.


Further reading

  • Mācave, Prabhākara; Rāmamūrti, Tripāṭhī, Mūkamāṭī-Mīmāṃsā (in Hindi), 1, 2 & 3, Bhartiya Jnanpith 

External links