Pujya Aacharya Bhagvant Himanshusuri Dada
17 Dec

A wonder from the 20th century – “Pujya Aacharya Bhagvant Himanshusuri Dada”

Himanshusuri dada
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If we ask a kid to describe the length of the sky, all he would do is spread his arms, cover the maximum possible area and say "This much!" That’s the case with us today. While it is impossible to describe the life of a personality like the one that we shall be reading today about, all we can do is try our best and make an attempt; just like capturing the depth of an ocean on a mere piece of canvass. Some may call this an effort in vain, but the motive behind this is to encourage everyone to borrow a page or two from his life. There are many people that we come across in life, but very few of them can be termed as great personalities! The very reason for terming them “great personalities” would be the life that they lived, the legacy they left behind! The personality that we shall be attempting to know today is someone who had multiple roles to play and it shall be an understatement to say that he justified each one with highest spirits! Let’s guess this personality with this hint – He did approximately 3000+ Upvas (complete fasts) and approx 11,500 Ayambils during his lifetime!!! Yes, you heard it right! Here’s presenting the “Tap-Samrat”, “Bhishma Abhigrahadhari”, “Girnar-Shahsavan Tirthoddharak” and someone who cannot be fully described with many such adjectives – Pa. Pu. Acharyadev Shrimad Vijay Himanshu Surishwarji Maharaj Saheb.
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Early life & Diksha Mahotsav

Pa. Pu. Acharyadev Shrimad Vijay Himanshu Surishwarji Maharaj Saheb was born in the village of Limbodra, Gujarat on 19-04-1907 (Vikram Samvat 1963, Chaitra Sud 6) to father Shri Fulchandbhai and mother Smt. Kunverben. He was named Hirabhai (fondly called as “Hiro” meaning a gem). Fulchandbhai & his family resided in the village named Manekpur in the Mansa Taluka, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The family had a humble and religious background and believed in Jainism with complete faith and devotion. This made young Hirabhai familiar with Jainism and its activities right from an early age. He used to go to the upashray of his village for Pratikraman. His sharp mind can be judged from the fact that at the young age of 13 years he learnt all the sutras of 2 pratikraman by merely listening to them regularly. Those were the times of child-marriage and it was a socially acceptable practice. Young Hirabhai was married to Smt. Chandanben at a tender age of 13 years. Having started a family, the responsibility to earn a living came on his shoulders. He went to Ahmedabad to try his fortune in trade but soon returned to Manekpur due to a slow start. During this time, he thought to uplift himself religiously and started with “Tap Sadhana”. In those days, it was very difficult to do Ayambil in a small village due to lack of facilities as there were no Ayambil-shalas like we have now. But this didn’t stop the already determined Hirabhai. He did his first ayambil with roasted rice grains and boiled water. Who knew that a foundation of 11,500 ayambils was being laid here! With a view to trying his luck in business, he came to Bombay (Mumbai) and started exploring opportunities. This was the time when there was no person or place known to him in Mumbai. He hesitated to ask someone for arrangements of ayambil in this unknown city. But his determination was strong enough that made him buy roasted chana (chickpeas) from the market and have it with boiled water for Ayambil! Such was his tap-sadhana even before taking Diksha! Later in Vikarm Samvat 1982, he was blessed with a boy who was named Chinu and in Vikram Samvat 1984, a girl who was named Vimala. He was in the sugar trading business with his elder brother Manekbhai in Mumbai and the then Muniraj Ramvijayji Maharaj was in Lalbaug for chaturmas. He started listening to his sermons regularly and this sowed the seeds of Vairagya in his life. He asked Manekbhai to join him in the daily sermons. Fully impressed by the Vyakhyan, Manekbhai decided to renounce the material world and accept the Diksha under Muniraj Ramvijayji. Soon Hirabhai, with his son Chinu, started visiting Guru Maharaj with an intent to follow the footsteps of his brother. Young Chinu was all prepared for Diksha and so his parents Hirabhai and Chandanben gave him permission. This is a beautiful practice followed by Jains, that when anyone wishes to renounce worldly pleasures and accept Diksha, he has to ask for permission from his Guru Maharaj and especially family members. On the day of Diksha, the barber who was appointed to conduct the Mundan Vidhi of young Chinu during Diksha refused to turn up. The Diksha time or “Muhurat” was nearing and with no alternative around Hirabhai decided to take the razor and do the Mundan of his son himself. It takes a ‘56 inch chest’ to do Mundan of your own son while his Diksha just for his spiritual and eternal happiness. Such was the dedication to support his son Chinu and his choice of the right path! Soon after Chinu’s Diksha, Hirabhai could not wait to take the same path. He put forth this request to his wife Smt. Chandanben! A mother who had let go her only son was now prepared to also let go her husband! She generously agreed to Hirabhai’s proposal! A sacrifice of supreme level. The day of Vikram Samvat 1990, Vaishakh Sud Dwitiya 9 was selected for Diksha of Hirabhai. Co-incidentally, the marriage of his younger sister was fixed on the very same day! Thus on the pre-decided day, in the presence of the then Pujya Siddhi Suri M.S, Pujya Dansuri M.s, Upadhyay Premvijayji M.s, Panyas Ramvijayji m.s and other Gurubhagwants, Hirabhai took Diksha at Ahmedabad and was named Muniraj Himanshuvijayji Maharaj!
Pujya Aacharya Bhagvant Himanshusuri Dada

Diksha Jeevan:

Muniraj Himanshuvijayji Maharaj’s Diksha Jeevan was an ideal example of Tap-Sadhana, Gyan-Sadhana, Guru Samarpan and Tirth Seva. His dedication towards Tap Sadhana and Gyan Sadhana can be understood from the fact that during his Vis-Sthanak Tap, with an intent to learn the Mahanishith Sutra (one of the 45- Agamas), he rewrote the whole Sutra while he was fasting continuously for 20 days! He started a full-fledged study of various Jain scriptures and granths like Prakran Bhashya, KarmaGranth and other Sanskrit books. Very few know this fact that Pa. Pu Aa. Himanshu Suriji Maharaj was one of the key people to inspire Shri Akshayraj to take diksha who later went on to become Pa. Pu. Aa Kalapurna Suriji Maharaj! It was Vikram Samvat 2007 when Pa. Pu Aa. Himanshu Suriji Maharaj came to Girnar, Junagadh. Many unforeseen circumstances came into play that resulted in Sahebji’s chaturmas there in Junagadh. This made him come closer to Dada Neminath and Girnarji Tirth. No one could imagine at that point that this great person was meant to be the pioneer of Girnar Tirth Seva! On his visits to Girnar, he always used to feel sad about the compromised situation and the gradually forgotten history of the great Tirth-Kshetra that witnessed 3-kalyanaks of 22nd Tirthankar Shree Neminath Prabhu. But as they say, great are the people who seek the solutions and not just see the problems! With the continuous efforts, co-operation and full backing of Shree Jain Sangh, Pa. Pu Aa. Himanshu Suriji Maharaj began the tough task of restoration work of Shree Sahsavan (Girnar) Tirth Kshetra. To join him in this task, Pa. Pu. Aa. Hemvallabh Suriji Maharaj (then Muniraj Hemvallabh Vijayji) and Pa. Pu. Aa. Dharmarakshit Vijayji Maharaj (then Muniraj Dharmarakshit Vijayji) dedicated their entire life to him despite originally being the disciples of Pa. Pu. Panyas Chandrashekhar Vijayji Maharaj! That’s the beauty of Jinshashan! Challenges were all around but so was the determination and grit to successfully complete the mission. The efforts turned fruitful and today we can all see the magnificent and amazing “Samavasaran Derasar” at Shree Sahasavan and a well-constructed structure at the Diksha & Keval Gyan Bhumi of Shree Neminath Prabhu. It shall not be a hyperbole to say that major share of credit for restoration and preservation of Shree Sahsavan Tirth and Girnarji can be attributed to this great personality. During this phase, on the auspicious day of Vikram Samvat 2015, Fagan Sud 3, he was conferred upon with the prestigious “Gani-Panyas” Padvi and later in Vikram Samvat 2029, Magsar Sud 2, he was conferred upon with the highly revered “Acharya” Padvi – a designation in the Shraman tradition of Jainism. He was a great Tap-Sadhak. With an intention to unify the entire Jain Sangh, upliftment of Shree Jain Shasan and resolution of petty disputes. Pa. Pu Aa. Himanshu Suriji Maharaj did 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107 & 108 Ayambil Oli without any break and this went on till 1751 Ayambils! In another instance, he did 1008 continuous ayambils! That was the level of his dedication towards Shree Sangh and its welfare which was always on the topmost priority. This is what distinguished him - his unmatched efforts towards unifying various beliefs of Jain Samuday. Once, Pa. Pu Aa. Himanshu Suriji Maharaj, with all his disciples, was in Girnar. He, along with Pu. Pu. Aa. Hemvallabh Suriji Maharaj had done Attham Tap (fasting for 3 continuous days). The parna (event of completing the fast) was scheduled at around 10:30 am the next day once they got down after doing the yatra of Girnarji Tirth. But, Pa. Pu Aa. Himanshu Suriji Maharaj, deeply immersed in Prabhu bhakti, forgot the time. He spent close to 3 hours in Prabhu bhakti and came down with Pu. Pu. Aa. Hemvallabh Suriji Maharaj at around 3 pm! Both of them fasted for 3 continuous days and arrived for parna at 3 pm! They sat down for Parna at around 3 pm. Pu. Pu. Aa. Hemvallabh Suriji Maharaj got busy in some other work and came late for the parna. He asked Pa. Pu Aa. Himanshu Suriji Maharaj that why did you not start with the parna? Sahebji replied, “How could I start without you!” That was the greatness of this personality. Pa. Pu Aa. Himanshu Suriji Maharaj suffered from many illnesses during his life, some of which were extremely painful. But what was remarkable was the Samadhi - calm and composure that he maintained. He went on bearing the pain silently with a smiling face that could not let anyone realize what he actually was suffering from! During these testing times, he never even thought to take an exception in his “Saiyam Achaar!” He maintained high regards for his Saiyam Achaar and never allowed himself any compromise or exception. He saw his final breaths nearing and called upon the then Muniraj Hemvallabh Vijayji, Muniraj Nayanratna Vijayji and Muniraj Gyanvallabh Vijayji for handing over all the tasks that he started. It is a well-accepted method to pass the legacy to the deserving and trustworthy person before someone breathes his last. He assigned all the tasks amongst the various disciples and chose Muniraj Muniraj Hemvallabh Vijayji as his successor. All the disciples asked him about his last wish. Pa. Pu Aa. Himanshu Suriji Maharaj put forth his wish – I did Ayambil during my lifetime for various causes of Jain Shasan. But due to my deteriorating health, I am unable to carry on this Tap Sadhana. He asked Pa. Pu. Aa. Hemvallabh Suriji Maharaj if he can continue this legacy of lifetime Ayambil! Without giving a second thought, Pu. Aa. Hemvallabh Suriji Maharaj immediately agreed to this and is even today successfully carrying on this promise of Ayambil for the rest of his life!
Pujya Aacharya Bhagvant Himanshusuri Dada with hemvallabh maharaj saheb

A step ahead in the journey of Moksh:

It was Vikram Samvat 2059, Magsar Sud 14, at 12:39 in the midnight that Shri Jain Sangh faced a tragic loss of this great personality. He was suffering from immense pain inside but with a conscious and an awakened mind, the pain could not win over his calm & composure. With the continuous remembrance of “Arihant” he breathed his last breath in Girnar, Junagadh. His last rites took place in Shree Sahsavan Tirth, an event that was not less than a miracle. In the history of 500-700 years, no one was given the permission to perform the last rites of anyone in Sahsavan area. But this was an exception & with the collective efforts of all, Pa. Pu Aa. Himanshu Suriji Maharaj’s last rites concluded in Sahsavan Tirth Kshetra and there is a Samadhi Mandir constructed over the place that exists even today. His whole life was a dedication to Shri Jin Shasan, unity of Jain Samuday and maintaining the sanctity of Shree Girnarji Tirth and Sahsavan Tirth Kshetra. In the times where “Tap” and “Tyaag” have become a rare phenomenon, this soul rose to the highest peaks of Tap Sadhana and paved a way of Tapasya, Tyaag and Tirth Seva for the generations to come. Such is the legacy we have inherited as Jain Shravaks and it is indeed not an easy responsibility to shoulder!


  1. Vandana gurudev Acharya Bhagavant Himansusuriji ne.
    His contribution to Jain SHASHAN is amazing. We are proud that his disciples Acharya Hemavallabha Suruji is following his steps . वंदना वारंवार ।

  2. વર્તમાન ના તિર્થકર જ ગણી શકાય
    ખુબ ખુબ વંદન

  3. Acharya Himanshu suri Dada is Vishwa Vibhuti in 20th Centuri, Vachansiddha Mahatma ne koti koti Vandan !

  4. Vandana to such great minds/saints/tapasvi. We owe a lot to to him both as community and individual. Grt work harsh ji, your attempt gives him a great shradhanjali, if not sufficient.

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