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Books > Hindu > Festivals & Rituals > In Quest of The Self (The Life Story of Acharya Shri Vidyasagar)
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In Quest of The Self (The Life Story of Acharya Shri Vidyasagar)
In Quest of The Self (The Life Story of Acharya Shri Vidyasagar)
Description
About the Book:

This book is the extraordinary life story of an extraordinary saint. In the year 1958, we undertook the journey to Gomukh on foot. Gomukh is the source of the river Bhagirathi. The ascent from Gangotri to Gomukh seemed like a trip to paradise. It cleansed the heart, not leaving a trace of impurity anywhere. I do not recall having experienced such purity ever in my life. I experienced the same feeling while reading this book.

The author has chosen the Mother as the narrator of the story that takes the reader from the childhood of Vidyadhar to his culmination in Acharya Vidyasagar. In fact, the central theme of the narrative is not the life story of her son, but his spiritual voyage. The anthology of rare and unheard of reminiscences given of the end provides an inexhaustible source of inspiration to the reader.

-Yashpal Jain

About the Author:

Muni Shri Kshamasagar

Born: September 20, 1957, Sagar

Education: M. Tech, Saugar University

Given Name: Singhal Virendra Kumar

Mother: Shrimati Asha Devi

Father: Jeevan Kumar Singhal

Ordination: Kshullak-Nainagiri, January 10, 1980, Ailak-Muktagiri, November 7, 1980, Muni-Nainagiri, August 20, 1982.

Publications: Pagadandi Suraj Tak (1992), Muni Kshamasagar ki Kavitayen, Apana Ghar (Collection of Poems); Ekibhav Stotra (Translation); Atmanveshi, Ammorta Shilpi (Reminiscences) and Guruvani (Sermons).

From the Introduction:

This book is the extraordinary life story of an extraordinary paragon of saintliness. The fame of Acharya Vidyasagar has spread today across the length and breadth of the country. He is the Acharya of Jains, but his love, his compassion and his sensitivity are not reserved for any particular faith. He belongs to everyone and claims everyone as his own.

In the year 1958, we undertook the journey to Gomukh on foot. Gomukh is the source of the river Bhagirathi. The ascent from Gangotri to Gomukh seemed like a trip to paradise. It cleansed the heart leaving not a trace of impurity anywhere. I do not recall having experienced such purity ever in my life. I experienced the same feeling while reading this book. It seemed as if one was wandering in another world in the company of an other-wordly personage. Suddenly, all that was sacred in life expressed itself.

The author of the book, Muni Kshamasagar, is a special disciple of Acharya Vidyasagar's. As a digambar monk, he has renounced everything, but like his guru, he has been given birth to her offspring, morphs into a mother, her love envelopes one and all.

The author has chosen the Mother as the natural narrator of this story. He does have a keen eye, but who could be better qualified than the Mother to describe the goings on in her son's world: a world which is more internal than external? This is the reason why he has chosen the Mother to narrate this glorious saga.

After giving a bird's eye view of her family to the reader, the Mother talks of the birth of her son and then commences her journey along the child Vidyasagar, taking the reader to the climax of his transformation into Vidyasagar. Actually, it is not the story of her son's voyage; it is the story of a voyage of faith. Just as there is many a halt on a pilgrimage, this journey also has many halts. The first halt is that of Vidyadhar's childhood. The Mother informs the reader that he had given early indications of his greatness. The child Vidyadhar is religiously inclined from the beginning knowledge of his true self, rather than a bookish knowledge. The Mother says, "Sitting at the feet of Maharaj, you commenced your studies formally. Lost in constant reflection, contemplation and devotion, your mind gradually withdrew from the external world. Through unflinching dedication, you acquired an insight into the unseen universe. From now on, your sole objective was to behold that vision of the universe beyond this material world."

The story that starts at childhood gradually unfolds itself, passing from one halt to another. Everyone was astonished when he was ordained a muni at the tender age of twenty two but his genius reassured them.

The submission made by him before his Guru at the time of his ordination enraptures me even today.

"I feel nothing but forgiveness for all beings, and may they also forgive me! I accept the eternal 'Shraman Dharma', expounded by the last Tirthankar, Mahaveer Swami. May the feet of the great Guru, Shri Gyanasagar, upholder of the glorious tradition of Digambar Acharyas, namely Shri Shantisagar, Shri Veerasagar and Shri Shivasagar, be my haven. May the venerable Maharaj oblige me by ordaining me a Jain Muni."

The Mother says, "That day, when you took the first step on the road to salvation by the side of your Guru, it seemed that the earth, which is the symbol of immovability, had heaved to hold your feet and said, "O Shraman! this is the first step of your victory march. Go forth and roam without let or hindrance in the infinite outer space of the spirit."

The Mother's mind is flooded reminiscences of her glorious son.

"It was the full moon of the month of Ashwin, when you were born. It seemed to me that all the light of the Ashwin moon had congealed in your person. Your upraised arms appeared to enclose the heavens. I felt like having encompassed the entire universe in my anchal. The ecstasy of a glorious motherhood gave me goose-flesh all over the body."

Translator's Note:

It was on the auspicious day of Ananta Chaturdashi in 1994 that I had my first darshan of Muni Kshamasagar. Ever since, I have been returning to him to find solace and renew my faith in human endeavour. The opportunity to pay homage to Acharya Shri Vidyasagar presented itself four years later. Only then could I have some understanding of the depth of Muni Kshamasagar's devotion to his Guru. But Vidyasagar into English was entrusted to me, I found myself woefully ill-equipped. It was only Muni Kshamasagar's patient guidance that made me persevere. I would take my work to him at irregular intervals and make unreasonable demands on his time to resolve my doubts concerning the expressions, allusions and imagery used in the text. He would readily provide the desired elucidations, paying to add for the assistance of readers unfamiliar with the Jain tradition and practices. I am, however, conscious of the deficiencies in my effort and assume full responsibility for them.

Be that as it may, this assignment has greatly enriched and uplifted me. I do hope that the reader will be able to perceive the nobility of the subject and the rare beauty of the original narration despite the inadequacies of the translation.

I have received immense support in this undertaking from my uncle, Shri Yogendra Kumar Jain. We have grown up together in more than one sense and were together on that momentous Ananta Chaturdashi day. He has kept me on track and doggedly monitored the progress of my fitful labours. My wife, Neelima, has given me all the encouragement over the years, going to the extent of typing out several chapters of my badly scribbled and constantly evolving manuscript. I am indebted to my associates, Shri L. D. Sharma and Shrimati Suman Dhingra for their help in transcribing and organising the manuscript as I worked over it. Suman's contribution in putting together its electronic version is particularly notable. In the final stages, my daughter in law, Neelu, and my son, Tanmay, have provided invaluable help by way of proof reading, editing and reformatting the text. But above all, it is the grace of Acharya Shri that has ensured the success of this collective effort.

Kamal Kant Jaswal

CONTENTS

Page
Foreword 7
Translator's Note9
Introduction11
Life Story19
Inspiring Incidents75
Atithi 77
Intrepidity78
Love of Nature79
The First Darshan80
Impeccable Routine81
The Repository of Jewels84
Society of Sadhus 86
Inward Voyage88
Radiant Soul90
Triumph over Ordeals91
Internal Light93
Conquest of Attachment and Aversion94
Saintly Exhortation95
The Sanctuary96
The True Way98
Vigilance99
Nirgrantha 102
The Title104
Purity106
Limitless Affection107
The Solution109
Salvation110
The Best Spiritual Endeavour111
Affinity113
The Boon114
True Kindness115
Sense of Duty116
Self-discipline117
Reinstatement118
Power of Renunciation119
The Means120
Self-Confidence122
Practice of Equanimity124
Firm Resolve126
The Examination127
Essence of Proximity128
Inspiration for Duty130
Goodwill132
Attachment to the Unattached134
Farsightedness 135
Affinity137
Endurance138
Passionlessness 139
Self-realisation140
Humble Reverence141
Discipline142
The Etiquette143
GLOSSARY146

In Quest of The Self (The Life Story of Acharya Shri Vidyasagar)

Item Code:
IDG476
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2006
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ISBN:
8126311665
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Pages:
155
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About the Book:

This book is the extraordinary life story of an extraordinary saint. In the year 1958, we undertook the journey to Gomukh on foot. Gomukh is the source of the river Bhagirathi. The ascent from Gangotri to Gomukh seemed like a trip to paradise. It cleansed the heart, not leaving a trace of impurity anywhere. I do not recall having experienced such purity ever in my life. I experienced the same feeling while reading this book.

The author has chosen the Mother as the narrator of the story that takes the reader from the childhood of Vidyadhar to his culmination in Acharya Vidyasagar. In fact, the central theme of the narrative is not the life story of her son, but his spiritual voyage. The anthology of rare and unheard of reminiscences given of the end provides an inexhaustible source of inspiration to the reader.

-Yashpal Jain

About the Author:

Muni Shri Kshamasagar

Born: September 20, 1957, Sagar

Education: M. Tech, Saugar University

Given Name: Singhal Virendra Kumar

Mother: Shrimati Asha Devi

Father: Jeevan Kumar Singhal

Ordination: Kshullak-Nainagiri, January 10, 1980, Ailak-Muktagiri, November 7, 1980, Muni-Nainagiri, August 20, 1982.

Publications: Pagadandi Suraj Tak (1992), Muni Kshamasagar ki Kavitayen, Apana Ghar (Collection of Poems); Ekibhav Stotra (Translation); Atmanveshi, Ammorta Shilpi (Reminiscences) and Guruvani (Sermons).

From the Introduction:

This book is the extraordinary life story of an extraordinary paragon of saintliness. The fame of Acharya Vidyasagar has spread today across the length and breadth of the country. He is the Acharya of Jains, but his love, his compassion and his sensitivity are not reserved for any particular faith. He belongs to everyone and claims everyone as his own.

In the year 1958, we undertook the journey to Gomukh on foot. Gomukh is the source of the river Bhagirathi. The ascent from Gangotri to Gomukh seemed like a trip to paradise. It cleansed the heart leaving not a trace of impurity anywhere. I do not recall having experienced such purity ever in my life. I experienced the same feeling while reading this book. It seemed as if one was wandering in another world in the company of an other-wordly personage. Suddenly, all that was sacred in life expressed itself.

The author of the book, Muni Kshamasagar, is a special disciple of Acharya Vidyasagar's. As a digambar monk, he has renounced everything, but like his guru, he has been given birth to her offspring, morphs into a mother, her love envelopes one and all.

The author has chosen the Mother as the natural narrator of this story. He does have a keen eye, but who could be better qualified than the Mother to describe the goings on in her son's world: a world which is more internal than external? This is the reason why he has chosen the Mother to narrate this glorious saga.

After giving a bird's eye view of her family to the reader, the Mother talks of the birth of her son and then commences her journey along the child Vidyasagar, taking the reader to the climax of his transformation into Vidyasagar. Actually, it is not the story of her son's voyage; it is the story of a voyage of faith. Just as there is many a halt on a pilgrimage, this journey also has many halts. The first halt is that of Vidyadhar's childhood. The Mother informs the reader that he had given early indications of his greatness. The child Vidyadhar is religiously inclined from the beginning knowledge of his true self, rather than a bookish knowledge. The Mother says, "Sitting at the feet of Maharaj, you commenced your studies formally. Lost in constant reflection, contemplation and devotion, your mind gradually withdrew from the external world. Through unflinching dedication, you acquired an insight into the unseen universe. From now on, your sole objective was to behold that vision of the universe beyond this material world."

The story that starts at childhood gradually unfolds itself, passing from one halt to another. Everyone was astonished when he was ordained a muni at the tender age of twenty two but his genius reassured them.

The submission made by him before his Guru at the time of his ordination enraptures me even today.

"I feel nothing but forgiveness for all beings, and may they also forgive me! I accept the eternal 'Shraman Dharma', expounded by the last Tirthankar, Mahaveer Swami. May the feet of the great Guru, Shri Gyanasagar, upholder of the glorious tradition of Digambar Acharyas, namely Shri Shantisagar, Shri Veerasagar and Shri Shivasagar, be my haven. May the venerable Maharaj oblige me by ordaining me a Jain Muni."

The Mother says, "That day, when you took the first step on the road to salvation by the side of your Guru, it seemed that the earth, which is the symbol of immovability, had heaved to hold your feet and said, "O Shraman! this is the first step of your victory march. Go forth and roam without let or hindrance in the infinite outer space of the spirit."

The Mother's mind is flooded reminiscences of her glorious son.

"It was the full moon of the month of Ashwin, when you were born. It seemed to me that all the light of the Ashwin moon had congealed in your person. Your upraised arms appeared to enclose the heavens. I felt like having encompassed the entire universe in my anchal. The ecstasy of a glorious motherhood gave me goose-flesh all over the body."

Translator's Note:

It was on the auspicious day of Ananta Chaturdashi in 1994 that I had my first darshan of Muni Kshamasagar. Ever since, I have been returning to him to find solace and renew my faith in human endeavour. The opportunity to pay homage to Acharya Shri Vidyasagar presented itself four years later. Only then could I have some understanding of the depth of Muni Kshamasagar's devotion to his Guru. But Vidyasagar into English was entrusted to me, I found myself woefully ill-equipped. It was only Muni Kshamasagar's patient guidance that made me persevere. I would take my work to him at irregular intervals and make unreasonable demands on his time to resolve my doubts concerning the expressions, allusions and imagery used in the text. He would readily provide the desired elucidations, paying to add for the assistance of readers unfamiliar with the Jain tradition and practices. I am, however, conscious of the deficiencies in my effort and assume full responsibility for them.

Be that as it may, this assignment has greatly enriched and uplifted me. I do hope that the reader will be able to perceive the nobility of the subject and the rare beauty of the original narration despite the inadequacies of the translation.

I have received immense support in this undertaking from my uncle, Shri Yogendra Kumar Jain. We have grown up together in more than one sense and were together on that momentous Ananta Chaturdashi day. He has kept me on track and doggedly monitored the progress of my fitful labours. My wife, Neelima, has given me all the encouragement over the years, going to the extent of typing out several chapters of my badly scribbled and constantly evolving manuscript. I am indebted to my associates, Shri L. D. Sharma and Shrimati Suman Dhingra for their help in transcribing and organising the manuscript as I worked over it. Suman's contribution in putting together its electronic version is particularly notable. In the final stages, my daughter in law, Neelu, and my son, Tanmay, have provided invaluable help by way of proof reading, editing and reformatting the text. But above all, it is the grace of Acharya Shri that has ensured the success of this collective effort.

Kamal Kant Jaswal

CONTENTS

Page
Foreword 7
Translator's Note9
Introduction11
Life Story19
Inspiring Incidents75
Atithi 77
Intrepidity78
Love of Nature79
The First Darshan80
Impeccable Routine81
The Repository of Jewels84
Society of Sadhus 86
Inward Voyage88
Radiant Soul90
Triumph over Ordeals91
Internal Light93
Conquest of Attachment and Aversion94
Saintly Exhortation95
The Sanctuary96
The True Way98
Vigilance99
Nirgrantha 102
The Title104
Purity106
Limitless Affection107
The Solution109
Salvation110
The Best Spiritual Endeavour111
Affinity113
The Boon114
True Kindness115
Sense of Duty116
Self-discipline117
Reinstatement118
Power of Renunciation119
The Means120
Self-Confidence122
Practice of Equanimity124
Firm Resolve126
The Examination127
Essence of Proximity128
Inspiration for Duty130
Goodwill132
Attachment to the Unattached134
Farsightedness 135
Affinity137
Endurance138
Passionlessness 139
Self-realisation140
Humble Reverence141
Discipline142
The Etiquette143
GLOSSARY146
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