• Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Special on Birthday -: Vigilant guard of Shramana culture

ByThe Current Scenario

Jul 11, 2024
Special on Birthday -: Vigilant guard of Shramana cultureCelebrate the special birthday of a vigilant guardian of Shramana culture, honoring their dedication and wisdom.

Mahesh Dhoundiyal – New Delhi

A senior scholar of the world of learning and Jainism, Shrut Sevan, respected Prof. Dr. Phoolchand Jain Premi ji is an exemplary example of Shrut Sadhana, whose entire life has been spent only in preserving and promoting the ancient Indian learnings, languages, religions, philosophies, and cultures. Living in Kashi, today he is completing 76 years of his life and 51 years of marriage, and even at this stage of age, he is continuously engaged in this mission with more enthusiasm, dedication, and full body, mind, and money than the youth. He has done many important works in the field of writing and it is from your pen that a book Shramana Sanskriti Vedic Vratya has been written, which proves the glorious tradition and antiquity of Guardian of Shramana Culture among the Indian masses with evidence.

Kashi has had a rich tradition of scholars since ancient times. Scholars of many disciplines have been practicing on this land and spreading the fame of Indian languages ​​and knowledge all over the world. Prof. Premi, who has been practicing selflessly for the last fifty years in the discipline of Sanskrit-Prakrit languages, Indian philosophy, and Shramana culture and has set an exemplary example by traditionally engaging every member of his family and many disciples in these disciplines, is such a great personality and scholar of Kashi’s tradition of scholarship who, due to his gentle nature, sweet voice, always happy posture, modesty, humility, honesty, is always present in the hearts of people from a common citizen and student to great scholars, eminent personalities, industrialists, ministers, sages, saints and sadhaks with deep affection. A person who meets him even for five minutes is unable to forget him for the rest of his life. You have done unparalleled work in the field of oriental Indian culture, history, Jainism-philosophy, Prakrit, Sanskrit, Apabhramsha language, and literature. Given these services, His Excellency the President has honored you with the Presidential Award, and His Excellency the Governor of Uttar Pradesh and the Honorable Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ji has honored you with the Vishisht Award and Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnun has honored you with the Aagam Manisha Samman.

Life Message –

Your life has been like an open book. While talking about himself, he often says that I was never a very talented student during my studies. I did not get very high marks in the examinations, but I never gave up and kept moving forward while facing many difficulties, disappointments, etc. that came my way with courage. I have been fond of reading essays and books of great writers and writing diaries since childhood. I used to get courage and encouragement from these and used to handle myself in every difficulty and struggle. I have to protect Shruti at any cost – this resolution always remained in my heart and mind and I continued to study with honesty and devotion. I never developed any other harmful vices because the nature of study, teaching, writing, philosophy, and worship always kept me immersed in all these activities.

‘Keep doing your duty silently and honestly because success is also based on your pure aim and feeling, not just on talent. Make your life meaningful, success kisses your feet automatically.’ – This is the message of Premji’s life for all the youth and students of today.

Education and choice of field of work –

You received your education up to class 5 in the government school of your village, then you stayed in Shri Shanti Niketan Jain Sanskrit School of Katni (MP) till Pre Madhyama class, later staying in the famous Shri Syadvad Mahavidyalaya of Kashi established by Varni ji, you got the degrees of Shastri, Acharya (Jain Philosophy and Prakrit), M.A. in Sanskrit from Jain and Buddhist Studies class from Kashi Hindu University and PhD on the subject of ‘Critical Study of Moolachar’ from the Department of Philosophy here. Thereafter, you taught for four years in the Department of Jain Studies and Prakrit in Parmarthik Shikshan Sanstha, Jain Vishwa Bharti, and Ladnun, (Rajasthan). Later, while adorning the post of Head of Jain Philosophy Department and Acharya for thirty-two years in Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, you not only taught many ancient original texts of Prakrit and Sanskrit but also wrote, edited, and published them. After this, you have rendered valuable services by adorning the post of Director of Bhogilal Laherchand Institute of Indology, Delhi. You have also been the President of All India Jain Vidvat Parishad, Executive Member of Shastri Parishad, and Emeritus Professor at Jain Vishwa Bharati Institute, (Deemed University), Ladnun. You have got many researchers to do research work and many students from India and abroad keep coming to Kashi separately to seek guidance from you. At present, you are serving as the Dean of Syadvad Mahavidyalaya, Varanasi, and Emeritus Professor of Tirthankar Mahavir University, Moradabad for many years. Apart from being the Vice President of Shri Ganeshvarni Shodh Sansthan located in Naria in Kashi, a member of Vidya Parishad of Parshvanath Vidyapeeth Shodh Sansthan, you have an active role in many committees of many universities and academic and social institutions. You have been a member of the Sanskrit Parishad of the Ministry of Human Resource Development and have also been the editor of the ancient literature published by Mathura.
He is also the honorary editor of the Akshayik magazine ‘Jain Sandesh’. He has played an active role in Sarvadharma Samnvay and other programs organized by many social organizations like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Sanskrit Bharati, Christian Society, Buddha Society, Jain Society etc. Having a deep interest in Jain history, art, and archaeology, he has written many essays and books on this subject and has also discovered many old pilgrimages and archaeological evidence. Along with academic work, he is also a classical discourse writer to awaken the spirit of knowledge in society and hundreds of your discourses have been held on traditional Shastrapeeths at many places in the country, due to which the common people of the society respectfully call him ‘Pandit ji’ and among friends and relatives he is famous as ‘Premi ji’. Disciples address him as ‘Guru ji’.

You are credited with starting regular Shastra Sabha in Bhelupur Digambar Jain temple, the birthplace of Tirthankar Parshvanath in Kashi. Here you have continuously made the common people study the Prakrit texts Samayasaar, Dravyasangraha, etc., and the Sanskrit texts Tattvarthasutra, etc. You also started a diploma program in the Prakrit language here. As a result, many men and women became proficient in speaking and writing Aagam and Prakrit languages. You started the first workshop of Prakrit conversation in Syadvad Mahavidyalaya. Even during the global pandemic Corona, your teaching series did not stop, by learning new techniques you continued your self-study through online mediums also. Under the aegis of the Jain Foundation, Mumbai, for six months, about 300 people from India and abroad were made to practice the Prakrit language regularly and also took the diploma examination.

Family background is also unique-

You were born in Goill gotra of the Baisakhiya clan of Digambar Jain Parwar caste on 12 July 1948 in Dalpatpur (District Sagar), M.P. I was born to Singhai Nemichand Jain and Smt. Udyati Devi Ji is from a very respectable and highly aristocratic family of pious parents. Being born in the land of Bundelkhand, self-respect for one’s country, religion, and culture was in every vein of yours. Since the family traditionally engaged in agriculture, living a natural life and working with limited resources is still a part of their lifestyle. ‘Simple living, high thinking’ has been the basis and aim of your life. You are the fourth among five brothers after the eldest two sisters in the family. Since childhood, you have been going to the Shastra Sabha and Pathshala run in the Jain temple of the village and with the inspiration of your parents, you studied in Jain Sanskrit Vidyalaya and Gurukul in Katni from class 6 to acquire Sanskrit education and then came to Kashi for higher education. You were married to Munni Jain, the elder daughter of the virtuous Shri Hukamchand Jain and Smt. Jain, in a Digambar Jain family of the Parwar caste. Your wife had just passed the 11th standard examination at the time of marriage. Walking hand in hand with her husband in the service of Shruti, after marriage, you obtained the traditional degrees of B.A., M.A., Jaindarshanacharya, Prakritacharya, etc. and after doing in-depth research on the topic ‘Contribution of Jain sage Pandit Sadasukhdas ji in the development of Hindi prose’ from Banaras Hindu University and obtained a PhD degree. While fulfilling all the family responsibilities, you have edited and published many manuscripts with Premi ji and independently. You are an expert in the ancient Brahmi script, and you have organized many workshops for the training of this script in big cities. You have received many special awards and honors.

Guru Parampara-

Prof Premi Ji has been a direct disciple of great Gurus like Pandit Kailashchand Siddhantshastri Ji, Pandit Phoolchand Siddhantshastri Ji, Pandit Jaganmohanlal Ji Siddhantshastri Ji, Pandit Darbarilal Ji Kothiya Nyayacharya, Pandit Udaychand Jain Sarvadarshanacharya, Pandit Bholanath Ji Pandey, Pandit Diwakar Joshi Shastri, Pandit Govind Narhari Baijapurkar, Pandit Suryanarayan Upadhyay, etc. Apart from this, Dr. Sampurnanand Ji, Pandit Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Pandit Banarasidas Chaturvedi Ji, Pandit Sitaram Shastri, Pandit Vasudev Dwivedi, Pandit Amritlal Jain, Pandit Dalsukhbhai Malvadia, Prof. Nathmal Ji Tatia, Dr. Jagdishchandra Ji Jain, Prof. He received the constant company of many great scholars like Sagarmal Jain, Prof. Reva Prasad Dwivedi ji and did research work at Parshvanath Vidyapeeth under the able guidance of Dr. Mohanlal Mehta ji.

Amazing disciple tradition –

Generally, every teacher has thousands of disciples whom he has been teaching throughout his life, apart from this, Prof. Premi ji also has an amazing disciple tradition. Swami Charukirti Bhattaraka Swami ji of Shravanabelagola sent many brahmacharis and bhattarakas to Kashi to study under him, he taught them with great love and gave many other support. Today he is the Swami of big monasteries of the South. Many Brahmacharis and students who received education from him are today practicing the path of salvation in many muni associations such as Ailak, Kshullak, and Muni-Aryika. Many Shvetambara monks, nuns, and nuns have studied under you and are studying, teaching, and practicing in various organizations. Apart from this, many researchers from abroad have always been coming to you for guidance. Their Gurumata Dr. Munni Ji would feed all the students who came to her home with love and affection. Guruji imparts knowledge – in this way, the chain of imparting knowledge and food has been going on from the beginning till today and his entire disciple tradition is also a witness to the fact that Guruji never accepted Gurudakshina from any disciple.

Son and daughter are also like worthy disciples –

Often scholars also have this pain that we explain and inspire the world but our family members do not listen to them. Prof. Premi ji often does not get tired of praising the Brahmin tradition that they preserve and promote the Vedas and scriptures from generation to generation, only then the Vedas and Sanskrit languages are still alive. Seeing the gharanas of Kashi in the field of music, tabla, shehnai, etc., you were also inspired to dedicate the children of your family to the preservation and promotion of Shrut Aagam Shastra and its original language Prakrit, and take Jain Vidya forward traditionally. The natural feelings of welfare of simple and great people never go in vain, nature itself starts transforming towards that. This is what happened in Premi Ji’s family, his wife Dr. Munni Pushpa Jain was already engaged in his eternal path, both of them together dedicated their two sons and daughter to this path since childhood and started teaching Sanskrit-Prakrit, etc. languages ​​from the very beginning. Not only this, one of his sons-in-law and two daughters-in-law who joined his family by good fortune were also found to be very religious, and later on, with love, he also joined them in this campaign. In the materialistic age, as there were relatively fewer students in the field of oriental studies, Prof. Premi ji raised an army of Shruti Sevaks at home.

Your elder son, Prof. Dr. Anekant Kumar Jain, who has been awarded the Yuva Rashtrapati Samman, is the Acharya of the Jain Philosophy Department at Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri National Sanskrit University, New Delhi. Along with publishing many research papers, articles, and books, he is the founder editor of the first newspaper published continuously in the Prakrit language, ‘Pagad-Bhasa’, and is known in India and abroad for his classical discourses and lectures. Your daughter-in-law, Dr. Ruchi Jain, has done research work on Jain Yoga and has obtained a PhD degree. Great-grandson Sunny Jain and great-granddaughter Anupreksha Jain are also moving ahead on the same path.

Your daughter, Dr. Indu Jain, Rashtra Gaurav, has also obtained a research degree in Shauraseni Prakrit literature. She is spreading the influence of Jain religious philosophy as an announcer, writer, motivational speaker, and international Jain representative. Representing Jainism at the foundation stone laying and inauguration of the new Parliament House, you have done historic work by presenting Mangalacharan in Prakrit, Sanskrit, and Apabhramsha languages, which was appreciated all over the world. Son-in-law Shriman Rakesh Jain is a dedicated social worker and remains engaged in propagating Jainism. Your youngest son Dr. Arihant Kumar Jain is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Jain Studies at Somaiya Vidya Vihar University in Mumbai. He has obtained two PhDs in Oriental Studies. While working in the field of art and literature, he made a documentary film on the Prakrit language which gained international fame. He is continuously editing an international newsletter ‘Prakrit Times’ in English. Many of his articles have been published in English and Hindi. Daughter-in-law Mrs. Neha is engaged in propagating Jainism and working on Jain Yoga.

Thus, apart from your many books and articles, there are also these three living creations that are constantly engaged in Shruti worship and service. Not only this, you also sent the sons of your other brothers, that is, your nephews, to Sanskrit colleges outside the village for studies. As a result, your three nephews Pandit Kamal Kumar Shastri, Kolkata, Dr. Anand Shastri, Kolkata, and Dr. Kamlesh Shastri, Varanasi are serving the society as famous Vidhanacharya and Pratishthacharya of the country. Among these, you have got Dr. Anand and Dr. Kamlesh to do their research work for PhD degrees under your guidance.

Premi Ji is loved by many Acharyas, saints, and scholars –

In the Jain tradition, whether it is Digambar tradition or Shwetambar, there is hardly any Acharya, saint, or scholar who does not praise the Shrut Sadhana of Prof. Premi Ji. Everyone is a fan of his profound knowledge and simple nature. You have had a special closeness with the most revered Saint Shiromani Acharya Shri Vidyasagar Ji since the time you were doing PhD on Moolachar from BHU about 50 years ago. I was doing my Ph.D. I received proper guidance and many complex solutions from you in this research work on many subjects. That is why, on a humble and special request, Pujyashri read your research paper based on Moolachar with some monks of the Sangh in Lalitpur about four decades ago. So that no ethical and theoretical mistakes remain. Only after this, it was published by Parshvanath Vidyapeeth Shodh Sansthan, Varanasi. The world-renowned scholar of Prakrit literature, Dr. Jagdish Chandra Jain, has written the introduction to this research paper of yours. Just now, on receiving your work ‘Shramana Sanskriti aur Vaidik Vratya’, Acharyashri read it from beginning to end and praised it a lot. On your proposal, Pujya Acharya Vidyanand Muniraj declared Shrut Panchami as Prakrit Day.

In 1999, when the Sangh Chaturmas of the ascetic emperor Acharya Shri Sanmati Sagar ji took place in Varanasi, then as per his wish and order, Accordingly, you recited and discussed Ashtapahud written by Acharya Kundakunda in front of the entire Sangha and society for 45 days continuously. After this, you recited the Vasunandi Shravakachaar book continuously for about a month. Pujya Acharya Shri considered this a great achievement of Kashi Chaturmas. As a result of this, Acharya Sunilsagar ji, who is currently the influential Acharya of the big Sangha, who at that time was constantly engrossed in study and meditation in the state of a monk in the Sangha of his guru, edited and published a book named Vasunandi Shravakachaar based on the recitation. Many revered Acharyas and monks of the Sangha like Param Pujya Acharya Shri Vimal Sagar Ji, Acharya Bharatsagar Ji, Acharya Vardhman Sagar Ji, Acharya Gyan Sagar Ji, Acharya Viragsagar Ji, Acharya Vishudhsagar Ji, Acharya Shrutsagar Ji, Acharya Prajnsagar Ji, Acharya Vasunandi Ji, Acharya Prasannasagar Ji etc. keep discussing with you on various subjects and problems. Prof Premi Ji is also among the scholars who have received cordial greetings from Param Pujya Niryaapak Shramana Muni Pungav Shri Sudhasagar Ji and he has had this good fortune for a long time. You have had a very cordial relationship with many Acharyas and monks of the Shwetambar tradition like Acharya Tulsi Ji, Acharya Mahapragya Ji, Acharya Shivmuni Ji, Muni Shri Mahendra Kumar Ji, etc. and they have been discussing with Premi Ji on many works and plans. The most revered Ganini Aryika Shri Gyanmati Mata Ji, Aryika Shri Suparshwamati Mata Ji, Shri Syadvadmati Ji, and many other Aryikas have always had affection for Premji.

It has always been Premi Ji’s nature to automatically correct his disciples on their mistakes, whether they like it or not, but it is also surprising that Premi Ji personally points out the shortcomings of Sadhus and Acharyas for the sacred purpose of welfare and the Sadhaks who are sincerely engaged in self-welfare are eager to listen to him and also make corrections. Premi Ji’s ideal has always been to always remain silent in useless disputes and when truth is being violated, then ‘Aprasthaarapi Vaktyaktam’ – one must speak even if no one asks or asks. He has been a very close friend of Bhattaraka Charukirti Swami Ji, the most influential of Shravanabelagola, for a long time. As per your instructions, he successfully took the responsibility of the main convener of the huge All India Jain Scholars’ Conference in the Mahamastakabhishek Maha Mahotsav of 2006 and also organized the All India Sanskrit Scholars’ Conference on the same occasion in 2018 with great success. Many Sadhus and senior scholars of Vedic and other traditions keep taking advice from you. Pandit Jagannath Upadhyay Ji, Pandit Baldev Upadhyay Ji, Padmashri Pandit Bagish Shastri Ji, Kashi, Pandit Neeraj Jain, Satna, Principal Narendra Prakash Jain, Firozabad, Dr. Hukumchand Bharill and Pandit Ratanchand Ji Bharill Jaipur, Prof. Gokulchand Ji, Prof. Sagarmal Jain Ji, Prof. Vachaspati Upadhyay Ji, Prof. Ramakant Shukla Ji, Pandit Ratanlal Bainada and many other eminent scholars, despite being older than you, always maintained a friendly behavior with you as your beloved. Pandit Baldev Upadhyay Ji, a world-renowned scholar of the Sanskrit world, used to ask for Jain texts from Premi Ji many times at the time of writing and used to write only after taking advice and decisions. Similarly, you were in a long association with Pujya Kshullak Jinendra Varni, the author of excellent and famous books like Samanasuttam and Jainendra Siddhant Kosh. You used to give and take many contemporary suggestions in your writing work. You always get cordial guidance from many senior scholars like respected Prof. Kamalchand Sogani, Prof. Rajaramji Jain, Prof. Dayanand Bhargava, Prof. Vashisht Tripathi, Prof. Premsuman ji Jain, Prof. Rameshchand Jain. You are also loved and respected by many contemporary high-ranking Jain and non-Jain scholars of the country and abroad.

Personal philosophy of life –

‘Never be under anyone’s pressure nor put anyone else under your pressure’- this has always been your style of living life. Sattvikta, honesty, and dedication have been your base in life. You have always liked authenticity, both in life and in writing and editing. In research work, you do not proceed further until you match the references, etc. with the original texts, no matter how much time it takes. You have never liked haste in literary service. From a social point of view, you have always been in favor of a coordination approach, you have never supported fanaticism regarding opinions and sects. Despite being a liberal and coordinationist, you are very firm in matters of principles and have never compromised on this level. No matter how much difficulty or loss you have to face due to this. He loves to stay close to books and nature, so he built his residence ‘Anekant-Vidya-Bhavanam’ in half of his plot in Kashi and collected thousands of rare and valuable books, and built a library at his own expense in the remaining front portion, he nurtured various types of plants, trees, and garden which he took care of throughout his life. Regular darshan and worship of God, doing yoga-meditation, consuming seasonal fruits – these are part of his daily routine. Even today, he spends about 8 hours a day in literary pursuit through study, self-study, writing, online teaching, etc.

A life devoted to Aagam and literary service-

Along with creating many original texts, he has edited many texts.
You have been awarded PhD degree from Banaras Hindu University and have been awarded three awards for your research thesis ‘Moolachar Ka Samikalaya Study’. Both of you have been awarded by Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Sansthan for excellent editing of the ancient manuscript ‘Moolachar Bhasha Vachanika’. Along with presenting and publishing more than a hundred research and contemporary articles on Jainism-philosophy and Prakrit-Sanskrit literature in various national and international seminars, you have successfully organized many national seminars, conferences, and Prakrit workshops. You have broadcasted many talks and interviews on Varanasi and Delhi Doordarshan, Akashvani. You have written and published more than four hundred research and contemporary articles on Prakrit, Sanskrit language and literature, and Jainism philosophy.

Your published original books are:

  1. Moolachar Ka Samikalaya (Famous research thesis awarded with three awards)
  2. Art and splendor of the Jain temple of Ladnun
  3. Shramana Sangha in Jainism
  4. Penance in the Jain method of meditation
  5. Prakrit language discussion
  6. Shramana culture and Vedic Vratya
  7. Jain tradition of scholarship in Kashi

The books edited by you are:

  1. Moolachar Bhasha Vachanika (Award-winning large book)
  2. Sermon Examination
  3. Tirthankara Parshvanatha
  4. Adipurana Parikshalan
  5. Self-realization
  6. Self-discipline
  7. Comprehensive History of Sanskrit Literature (Twelfth Part) 8. Contribution of Jain sages of the twentieth century
  8. Necessary appointment 10. Jain cultural heritage of Mathura
  9. Various dimensions of Jain learning
  10. Syadvada Mahavidyalaya Centenary Souvenir
  11. Rishabh Saurabh High 14. Abhinandan Granth (many)

Decorated with awards, decorations, and honors –

Prof. Premi ji, who was honored with the title of ‘Jain Ratna’ by the society, has been honored and rewarded by the society, institutions, and the government for his services. Some of the major honors and awards are as follows –

  1. Shri Chandmal Pandya Award (1981)
  2. Mahavir Award (1988)
  3. Champalal Smriti Sahitya Award
  4. Vishisht Award (U.P. Sanskrit Institute, Lucknow, 1998)
  5. Shrutsanvardhan Award (1998) 6. Gommateshwar Vidyapeeth Award (2000)
  6. Acharya Gyan Sagar Award (2005)
  7. Ahimsa International Award (2009)
  8. Dr. Pannalal Sahityacharya Award (2009) 10. All India Jain Vidvatsammen (Shravanabelagola) Samvadniya Samman (2006) d
  9. Jain Aagam Manisha Samman, Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnun (2013)
  10. President Award (2018) 13. Vishisht Samman (2019)
  11. Mahavir Award (2019) 15. Rishabhdev Award (2023) etc.

It is not easy to fulfill your family responsibilities honestly and make your life meaningful even after doing Shruti Aradhana and self-sadhana throughout your life. Prof. Premi Ji’s life inspires us that only an honest, authentic, and dutiful person can achieve spirituality.

Many many congratulations to both of you on the completion of 76 years of your successful and meaningful life and the completion of fifty years of married life. May you always remain a source of inspiration like this and make this human life successful by doing self-welfare – this is the sentiment of all of us.

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