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Life

Shrimad Rajchandraji
Shrimad Rajchandraji
2500 years ago, the 24th Tirthankar, Bhagwan Mahavira attained nirvan. Since then, several Enlightened Souls have expounded the philosophy of Jainism. One such exalted soul was Shrimad Rajchandraji. He is deeply venerated for the great spiritual heights He had attained, His outstanding personality, His remarkable exposition of Bhagwan Mahavira's teachings and His literary genius. He is spirituality incarnate; benevolence personified – a perfect blend of pure knowledge, absolute and selfless devotion and complete detachment. A surging ocean of divine compassion, His life was an epitome of an intense and incessant pursuit of religion.
Shri Ravjibhai and Smt. Devba Mehta
Birth

Shrimadji was born on the auspicious day of kartik purnima, in V.S. 1924 (9th November, 1867). It was in the garb of an ordinary child that one of the future torchbearers of Jain religion was born, in the town of Vavania in Gujarat, India to Smt. Devba and Shri Ravjibhai Mehta.
Shri Ravjibhai and Smt. Devba Mehta
Jatismaranjnan (Awakening)

At the tender age of seven years, young Raichand passed through an extraordinary experience. An acquaintance had passed away. Curious to know the meaning of 'death', He climbed up a tree near the crematory. The visual of the burning pyre triggered an unprecedented intense churning, so profound that it led to the attainment of Jatismaranjnan (recollection of several past lives). This vivid recollection established continuity with His previously attained elevated state of knowledge, meditation and penance.

Recollection of past births
Recollection of past births
Excellence in education
Excellence in education
Education

Like all children, Shrimadji started school at the age of seven, but the school teachers soon realised He was like no other. Aided by an extraordinary grasping power, perceptive intelligence and paranormal memory, He completed the study of seven academic years in just two.

By the time His physical age touched the teens, He was endowed with great literary skills which earned Him great name and fame as a poet. The age of thirteen to sixteen years was a period of deep contemplation. He judiciously studied and mastered almost all the eminent treatises on philosophy in this remarkably short span of time. His sole purpose being to discover the Ultimate Truth.
Excellence in education
Excellence in education
Shatavdhan (Mnemonic Powers)

Shrimad Rajchandraji was endowed with the extraordinary power of shatavdhan. Avdhan is the ability to concurrently be attentive to a number of activities and objects, and shat means one hundred. Thus shatavdhan is the ability to focus on one hundred different activities and objects – all at one time!
On a few occasions Shrimad Rajchandraji has demonstrated this special skill in public. Some of the tasks performed by Him include:
  • Playing the game of chaupat (a kind of checkerboard) with three other players.
  • Playing cards with three people concurrently.
  • Playing chess.
  • Keeping count of the sound of a small gong.
  • Computing mentally arithmetical sums involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  • Keeping count of the movement of beads on a thread.
  • Composing verses on sixteen diverse topics selected on the spot, and in the specific meter chosen by various members of the audience.
  • Answering riddles.
  • Recalling four hundred words spoken at random in different languages, including Greek, English, Sanskrit, Arabic, Latin, Urdu, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali and rearranging them in the proper order of subject, object etc.
He publicly demonstrated this special skill at the age of nineteen, in Mumbai at the Sir Framji Cowasji Institute on Saturday, 22nd January, 1887. Presided over by Dr. Peterson and attended by renowned persons from across the city, the audience was enthralled and astounded to see Shrimadji performing one hundred things simultaneously.
In appreciation, He was conferred the epithet 'Sakshat Saraswati' (Goddess of Learning Incarnate). Eulogies followed in newspapers including, The Times of India, The Mumbai Samachar etc. and showers of praise were bestowed upon the young prodigy by renowned persons.
Shrimad Rajchandraji Performs Shatavdhan at Sir Framji Cowasji Institute in Mumbai, 1887
Shrimad Rajchandra is conferred the epithet 'Sakshat Saraswati' after performing 100 tasks at once
Impressed by this astounding mental prowess of retaining and reproducing a hundred things at a time, Sir Charles Sergeant, the then Chief Justice of the Mumbai High Court, invited Him to Europe to demonstrate His extraordinary mental powers, but Shrimadji politely declined. He knew that living abroad as per the Jain tenets, in those times, would be difficult. No amount of name, fame, money, power, adoration or honours could tempt Him. He was well aware that the demonstration of such power and the popularity earned through it could hinder the spiritual journey. Therefore, at the age of twenty, came the decision not to perform such feats henceforth. This example is only an inkling that shows His inner strength, the tip of His true greatness. It is not for an ordinary person to withhold such a rare ability – a power which could draw and hold thousands of people spellbound. Only a spiritual giant like Shrimadji, whose sole purpose was liberation from the cycles of birth and death, could do this.
Shrimad Rajchandra is conferred the epithet 'Sakshat Saraswati' after performing 100 tasks at once
Shrimadji's marriage to Jhabakbai
Shrimadji's marriage to Jhabakbai
Marriage and Business

Though Shrimadji had an intrinsic sentiment of detachment and a burning desire for total renunciation, His parents denied Him the liberty to sever all worldly connections and take renunciation. Accepting this as an outcome of His own previous karma, Shrimadji tied the knot of marriage at the age of twenty and also engaged in business. He was married to Jhabakbai in V.S. 1944, at Morbi and then came to Mumbai to enter the jewellery business.

Shrimadji's truthfulness and adherence to moral values left an impressionable memory on all those who came in contact with Him. In spite of having spent nearly a decade of His life as a householder, ably discharging the duties that came His way, inwardly Shrimadji remained absolutely detached. He spent long hours in contemplation and meditation.
Shrimadji's marriage to Jhabakbai
Shrimadji's marriage to Jhabakbai
Samyak Darshan (Spiritual Enlightenment)

An incessant inward pursuit of spirituality and a consciousness deeply immersed in the Truth, resulted in the attainment of shuddh samyak darshan (right self-perception) at the age of twenty-three, in V.S. 1947. He remained in the state of samadhi (inner equanimity), in all activities. No external occurrence could disrupt this inner equipoise. Lit by His complete detachment, He kept the flame of self-realisation alive even in the black dungeon of worldly activities.

The mental equipoise of others even without any external adversities could not match His equanimity, even as He engaged in worldly responsibilities. Amidst various demands from the family and business, and in spite of His primary stay in a city as enticing as Mumbai, His ceaseless spiritual endeavours ensured that His spiritual state was ever-advancing.
Self-realised Shrimadji
Meditating in forests
Spiritual Retreats

After the age of 28 Shrimadji began to spend more time in seclusion in jungles, mountains and remote places in Gujarat, immersed in the bliss of the Soul effortlessly leading an austere life. The purpose of solitude was only one - to remain constantly immersed in the Self through deep contemplation and meditation.
Meditating in forests
He remained so absorbed in ecstasy that external focus on meals, clothes, family bonds, financial activities etc. lost their value. He would consume very little food only once a day. He remained equanimous in all circumstances – hunger, thirst, the attacks of mosquitoes, the scorching heat or the stinging cold etc., thus increasing the depth of His spiritual state. He observed the conduct of a nirgranth (monk).
The villages of Kavitha, Vaso, Uttarsanda, Kheda, the hills of Idar and other places were all witness to this Great Soul's incessant spiritual advancement.
Indifference to body's misgivings
Incessant spiritual growth
The Last Years

He was only 32 and at the threshold of complete renunciation, when He contracted a severe illness - one from which He never recovered. As His health deteriorated, He was taken to places where the climate would suit His frail physical condition. One such place that He visited, not only for His health, but also to remain in seclusion, was the land of Dharampur, which He graced with His presence in the month of chaitra V.S. 1956 (March-April 1900) . Having stayed there for a month, He visited Ahmedabad, Viramgam, Vavania, Morbi, followed by Wadhwan Camp.
While at Wadhwan Camp, Shrimadji established an institution - the Paramshrut Prabhavak Mandal. Similarly, a library, Shri Subodhak Pathshala, was also set up at His instance at Khambhat - all this in spite of His poor health.

This only speaks volumes for His unmatched love and respect for the valuable religious scriptures. While He remained internally unmoved, His body moved on, and from Wadhwan Camp He went to Ahmedabad again and after that, returned to Mumbai. He was taken to the coastal areas of Matunga and Shiv in Mumbai and Tithal near Valsad. Once again He returned to Wadhwan Camp, and then to Rajkot, where He stayed till the final end of His sojourn on this earth.

In Rajkot, His health took a turn for the worse. In spite of extreme physical discomfort, His persona radiated bliss. Minute examination and comprehensive treatment by doctors, meticulous care and loving attendance by devotees and relatives were of no avail. This Pure Enlightened Soul left His mortal body on the day of chaitra vad pancham, V.S. 1957 (9th April, 1901) at Rajkot, in a state of complete awareness. This Divine Soul, nurtured under the skies of India, illuminated the whole of mankind with its divine flame of spirituality and attained immortality on this day.
Shrimadji is not merely a mortal person, but a phenomenon. He is divinity personified, one who attained enlightenment and unfolded the unprecedented infinite prowess of the Soul. He traversed a long journey in an amazingly short time, continually unveiling the powers of the Soul, travelling at jetspeed on the path of liberation till the very end. He scaled great heights of spiritual attainment and achieved the lofty status of one who has to take only one more birth till total emancipation, in a brief journey that lasted 33 years and 5 months.