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Acharya Vidyasagar: A Spiritual Giant


Famous Personalities  •  19 Feb, 2024  •  48,337 Views  •  ⭐ 2.0

Written by Shivani Chourasia


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The spiritual world and its followers are mourning the loss of one of the most venerated Jain monks, Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj, who passed away at the age of 77. His departure on a serene Sunday, after embracing 'sallekhna', a Jain ritual of fasting unto death for spiritual cleansing, has left a void that resonates with many. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his sorrow over this great loss, labelling it as something beyond repair.

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The Final Journey

Who was Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj, prominent Jain seer died in  Chhattisgarh? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj, a revered figure within the Jain community, concluded his earthly journey at Chandragiri Teerth, located in the heart of Chhattisgarh's Rajnandgaon district. He was 77 years old. 'Sallekhna', the practice he undertook, is a Jain tradition of voluntary fasting to death aimed at spiritual purification, as stated by the teerth's official announcement.
The Acharya reached the profound state of Samadhi through 'sallekhna' at Chandragiri Teerth at the break of dawn, around 2:35 am. The announcement further detailed that the revered monk had been residing at the teerth in Dongargarh for the past six months. His health had declined over the recent days, leading to the final three days of 'sallekhna', during which he abstained from all food and liquids. This practice, rooted deeply in Jainism, is undertaken for spiritual purification. A procession was organized on Sunday afternoon, allowing the public to pay their respects to the departed soul, with the final rites being conducted at Chandragiri Teerth.

A Spiritual Legacy Remembered

Acharyashri Vidyasagar Of Digambara Muni Tradition Took Samadhi,  Mahasamadhi of Jain saint Vidyasagar ji | विद्यासागर जी ने 22 की उम्र में  दीक्षा ली थी: आजीवन नमक-चीनी, हरी सब्जी, दूध-दही ...
Image Credits: Bhaskar

On a significant visit last November 5th, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Dongargarh, a key pilgrimage site, to seek blessings from Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj ahead of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections. Reflecting on the monk's demise, PM Modi took to X to express his condolences, highlighting the irreparable loss faced by the nation and the monk's invaluable contributions towards spiritual awakening and societal upliftment.
"His life was a beacon of service, contributing significantly towards alleviating poverty, and advancing health and education. I was fortunate to have received his blessings. My encounter with him at Chandragiri Jain Temple last year remains an indelible memory filled with affection and blessings," PM Modi shared.

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The Prime Minister emphasized that Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj's unparalleled contributions would forever inspire future generations. He extended his thoughts and prayers to the monk's numerous followers.
Chhattisgarh's Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai also paid homage, describing Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj as a "reservoir of spiritual wisdom".
"Acharya Shri Vidyasagar Ji Maharaj, with his dynamic knowledge, has left an indelible mark on the country, including Chhattisgarh. His extraordinary work, sacrifice, and penance for the country and society will be remembered for generations. I pay my deepest respects to Acharya Shri Vidyasagar ji," he penned in Hindi on X.
In light of the Jain monk's passing, the state government announced a half-day state mourning on Sunday. The national flag was flown at half-mast, and no state functions or programs were conducted.

A Life of Spiritual Eminence

Acharya Vidyasagar: Illuminating Paths Of Knowledge And Compassion - K-Tech  Hindi
Image Credits: K-Tech-Hindi 

Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj was the most esteemed saint within the Digambara Jain sect, known for his deep scholarly pursuits and profound spiritual insight. Born on October 10, 1946, in Sadalga, Karnataka, he was drawn to spirituality from a young age. He became a Digambara monk at 22 under Acharya Gyansagar Ji Maharaj's guidance in 1968 and was elevated to Acharya status four years later.
Throughout his life, Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj delved into Jain scriptures and philosophy, gaining mastery over Sanskrit, Prakrit, and several other languages. His literary contributions include insightful commentaries, poems, and spiritual texts that have resonated within the Jain community, such as Niranjana Shataka, Bhavana Shataka, Parishah Jaya Shataka, Suniti Shataka, and Shramana Shataka.

Conclusion

The departure of Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj has plunged the spiritual community into mourning, marking the end of an epoch. His profound teachings, emphasizing compassion, non-violence, and purity, have illuminated the paths of countless seekers. As a spiritual luminary, his contributions transcended the confines of Jainism, touching the lives of people across different faiths. His practice of 'sallekhna' symbolizes the ultimate act of renunciation, reflecting his unwavering commitment to spiritual ideals. The nation, led by its Prime Minister and countless admirers, bids farewell to a true sage, whose legacy of wisdom and devotion will continue to inspire future generations towards a path of enlightenment and peace.

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