He wanted to adopt Dixa at the age of 17 but he could not do
so because his parents did not consent.
Thus, he was totally detached with worldly lie right from his
age of understanding. He
used to sit at the cloth-shop of his father but dealt with total
honesty and maintaining absolutely truthful behavior with all.
He was careful not to be at lapses of integrity at any stage.
Even while working at the shop he kept his mind in the
service of the Lord, his prayers, self-study, company of saints and
high thoughts. Since he was intending
to adopt Dixa, his parents allowed him to observe certain vows,
rules and non-eating but directed that he should not leave the house
until they were alive. He used to sit at the shop more time but continued to think
of eternal element.
At the age of 32, he went to the great pilgrimage of
longing for pilgrimage was very deep.
In the memory of this pilgrimage he took vows not to eat ghee
and edible oil for the whole of his life.
He, thus, started his steps on the way of future mendicant
ship. On return from
pilgrimage he took a vow of only one time dining in a day.
His father also took water and meals only for once in a day
for 16 years. He
accepted meditation-death and left the mortal body while muttering
the name of Lord Arihant. Satgonda
was of 37 at this time. His
mother also passed away after three years by adopting
After this he stayed in house for some years and prepared himself
for permanent Dixa. When
Digambar Mooniraj Shri Devapa Swamy (Devendra Kirtiji Maharaj) came
to Uttoor Village, Satgonda requested before him for Dixa.
The learned saint explained him that it was a difficult path
to be Nirgranth Dixa-holder (Possession less
mendicant) and by sincere adoption of this Dixa, there is no
fear for the soul to turn back to worldly affairs.
Then after, as per the advice and guidance of Gurudev Devapa
Swamy, Shri Satgonda took dixa in 1915 AD at the age of 43 in Uttoor
village. He left
everything after keeping only two clothes to wear and on begging
bowl to ask for alms and to eat.
He accepted the position of a minor mendicant.
Satgonda was now free from the attachments of house and
family. He was now
worthless man named ShantiSagar.
He kept away his attachments with the region of Bhoj Bhoomi
and accepted the whole earth as his own nature place.
He now started moving on earth seeking eternal freedom for
him and for others. He
suffered several large and minor troubles for long time and then he
was steady in the quite sea of peace.
He, on his way of moving from place to place came to the
mountain Girnar that was holy with the footprints of Tirthankar
Neminath. In this Holy
Land Shri ShantiSagarji
Maharaj adopted Elak Dixa as he was very much increased in his
feelings of non-attachment
Once moving in routine course, Maharaj came over to Parnal
village where the celebrations of Panch Kalyan Pratishtha Mahotsava
of Lord Jinendra-a big religious rite) were going on Digambar
mendicant Shri Devendra Kirti Maharaj was also there.
Shri ShantiSagarji Maharaj requested for Nirgranth Dixa-Possession
less mendicantship by placing his head on his feet.
The great teacher mendicant Devendra Kirti Maharaj explained
him that this was as painful as walking on the edge of a sword, but
ShantiSagarji Maharaj said that he had sufficient power of
restraint, celibacy, sympathy, tolerance and truth and therefore,
Devendra Kirti Maharaj invested him with the title of Mooni
ShantiSagar by granting him higher stage of Dixa in the presence of
thousands of followers and disciples on the holy day of
Dixa-Kalyanak of Panch Kalyan Pratishtha Mahotsava, Maharaj
ShantiSagar was of the age of 45 at this time.
While maintaining his vows very strictly, he moved towards the south
and expanded religion at all places through which he passed.
He advised people to shun evil practices.
By time, he became famous.
He granted Dixa and vows to several Shravaks (Jain
1834, he regularly established Shraman Sangh at the time of Mooni
Dixa of Shri Nemisagarji. The
Jain community gave him the title of Acharya at his age of 52; and
after 26 years in 1951 at the holy celebrations of Panch Kalyanak
Pratishtha Mahotsava at Gajpantha in Maharashtra, Acharya Shri
ShantiSagarji was given further award of Charitra
In 1928, Acharya Shri Shantisagar ji started for the pilgrimage of SamedShikhar
along with his disciples and followers. This was the first occasion after many centuries that a large
group of possession less mendicants was moving in north India and
there was a sharp wave of religious fervor in this region.
He was honored at all places and Panch.
Kalyanak Celebrations were also held at SamedShikhar.
Lacs of devotees arrived there for this celebration from the
whole of India. Acharya
Shri walked about 35,000 miles in seven years and lacs of devotees had
taken advantage of his spiritual knowledge. Maharaj Shri had cleared the way of Mooni-Vihar (movement of
mendicants). The number of Acharyas, Moonis, small persons, women
and celibates who had taken Dixa at the hands of AcharyaShri was
about 3 to 400.
Once AcharyaShri came to know that a big volume of religious
teachings collected from the preaching heard from time to time and
completed by Swamy BhootBali was written an one thousand years old
leaves and trees. It
was then very old and was about to be destroyed by insects.
He felt importance of preserving it and hence he proposed to
get the whole book re-written on copper sheets so that it can remain
totally secured for thousands of years.
He requested the rich Jains to bear the costs and expenses
for this task. Thus,
ShantiSagarji got these Agam books re-written on copper sheets and
this was his most important work of his life.
It will be noted by golden writings in the history of
Shrutoddhar of invaluable books of Jainism i.e.. Re-writing of books,
which were written, on leaves of trees by hearing the preaching of
Jain saints & mendicants. Acharya had to face many difficulties
in his life and he faced all the adverse circumstances with
fearlessness, patience and tolerance.
He has, thus, established his highest character and we are
confirmed of his greatness. AcharyaShri
was famous as charitra-chakravarti only because of his achievements
and accomplishments for the up-life of Jainism.
Once Acharya Shri was performing Samayik (religious rite) in a cave.
At this time, thousands and crores of red ants came up on his
body and began to suck his blood by severely painful biting.
AcharyaShri did not move for about two hours and went on
suffering this pain. Afterwards,
some Shravakas saw this and they removed the ants by throwing sugar
nearby. Maharaj Shri
opened his lips only after all the ants were gone away from him.
AcharyaShri was performing noon-Samayik in the
cave named Kagnoli. At
this time a dangerous black snake came over his body and wrapped
him. The snake was for
more than 20 minutes in this position pressing the body of Acharyaji.
Acharyaji, however, maintained Mauna- (non-speaking) and
meditation. There have been many such instances in the life of Acharyaji
wherein he has been proved to be victorious over rigorous physical
pains and mental worries.
AcharyaShri had created deep impressions on
common people by religious preaching and restrained life.
Rulers of Sangli, Faltan, Kolhapur, Pratapgadh, Idar, Dholpur
and other states used to come to see him.
Even several European officers were also attracted towards
Acharyaji. His preaching
were highly philosophical; his thinking was of the
highest level. He
considered people of all religious equally. His disciples had also created very good impressions on the
Acharya Shri ShantiSagarji adopted ultimate vow
of Yam-Sannllekhana fast unto death at the closing years of his
life. His welcome
death was as good as putting up a golden pot on the top of temples.
He had adopted 12 year vow of Sannllekhana in the presence
of Lord Jinendra in the Gajpantha region and he had stopped taking
food since then.
When his eye sight began to weaken in 1955 AD,
he thought that it was then different for him to observe several
vows like kindness to animals and several rules of daily routine
life. He had, therefore, started preparations to adopt Sannllekhana
Vow-fast unto death. In
the first eight days, he took only two bits of food everyday.
Then after he took only juice from black grapes for another
eight days and after that he used to take water only.
He took water at an interval of four days and sometimes after
five and six days. This
continued for about two months.
When he was absolutely weak and unable even to stand without
help from someone, he adopted Yama-Sannllekhana and stopped taking water till the end of his life.
He did not take services from others even in his total
weakness and continued to be in meditation of soul-salvation and
muttering religion phrases and hymns.
In these days he was at Kunthalgiri holy place
in Sangli District of Maharashtra.
More than one lac of people took his Darshan within two
months. People considered them to have been purified with his Darshan
and held that their lives were fulfilled.
Acharya Shri ShantiSagarji Maharaj breathed his last.
It was September
18, 1955 AD. He had
touched Jinendra Murti with his hand just before five minutes of his
passing away and had moved his head towards his feet.
He was muttering "Namah Siddhebhya: -"- respects to
the Absolute when he breathed last.
Acharya Shri ShantiSagarji Maharaj was an ideal digambar jain
saint who observed rigorous vows and restrained life with total
celibacy for about forty years.
He had won over his senses and had captured anger, greed,
attachments, sensuality, pride desires with six enemies.
His life was a lamppost for all mendicants, disciples and
followers. He re-incarnated the Digambar traditions.