19 Nov

A Leading light of Jin Shasan – Visionary Suri Chakravarti Shasan Samrat Pujya Nemi Suri Maharaj!

Shasan Samrat!

Bal Brahmachari!

Suri Chakravarti!

A splendid Jainacharya under the leadership of whom the Jain Sangh made the first ever, auspicious beginning of the publication of Jain literature!

The list of adjectives might end, but they will still not be able to do justice to the character of this great personality about whom we will read today! It would be arduous to introduce this Jainacharya with limited words, but let us still make an attempt!

Here's introducing a glimpse of the life of the Great Shasan Samrat Param Pujya Acharya Dev Shrimad Vijay Nemisuri Maharaj Saheb!

If we think of one of the most prominent Suri Chakravartis of the last century, it will undoubtedly have to be Acharya Shrimad Vijay Nemisuri Maharaj Saheb. With his clear & long-term vision for Jin Shahsan, Saheb defined an era of Jain history with his exemplary work in the creation, preservation & maintenance of thousands of Jain Scriptures. An awe-inspiring personality with the highest levels of celibacy, he was considered to be amongst the prominent scholars of his time.


Birth & Early life:

Shasan Samratwas born at Mahuva, Gujarat, on the auspicious New Year Day of Kartak Sud 1, Vikram Samvat 1929(1872 CE) to mother Diwaliben & father Laxmichandbhai. In one of the rare events, the mother who gave him birth was Diwaliben by name, and Diwali was the day his death occurred. The family named him Nemchand. He learned in a dust school at the beginning, where children were taught to write letters of the alphabet and numbers with a stick in the dust spread on a wooden board. He studied in a vernacular school for seven years and then in an English medium school for three years.

After finishing his education & as per his father's wish, he went to the stock market to try his fortune in business. He got himself trained and eventually got a grip on the industry. However, soon he lost interest in it and started learning Sanskrit and religious Sutras, where he found peace. With his father's consent, he went to Bhavnagar to study under Gurudev Shri Vruddhichandraji Maharaj & made excellent progress in his study. While learning, he served devoutly to his Gurubhagavant & other Sadhu Mahatmas, which began to infuse in him the feeling of detachment from worldly life. This was the point that sowed the seeds of Diksha in Pujya Shri's life!



As time passed, the thought of taking Diksha started getting grip into his mind. Being in constant touch with mahatmas, the life of Pujya Shri was well moulded & shaped with emotions of "Vairagya," & eventually, he became averse to worldly life. The detachment was so much that when his father wrote to him about the demise of his grandmother, Pujya Shri, in reply, said," What is the meaning of this material & worldly life where no one belongs to anyone? One should engross themselves in Vairagya & that is what holds the highest meaning!" Yes, that was the reply!

On reading this reply, father Laxmichandbhai apprehended that if Nemchand stays with Gurubhagwants any further, he would surely take Diksha! So he called him back, telling him that he was ill & needed Nemchand to be with him, and then he became vigilant in watching all his activities. On the other side, Nemchandbhai also grew more assertive in his thoughts of vairagya. Durlabhjibhai, one of his friends, was a Mumukshu who didn't get permission for Diksha from his home.

And with this, both the friends planned to run away & take Diksha! On getting an opportunity, they left Mahuva & reached Bhavnagar (when Nemchandbhai was of a tender age of 16 years) and urged Gurubhagavant to give them both Diksha. However, Gurubhagwant firmly refused to give Diksha without the consent of their families.

With favorable circumstances, Durlabhji was given Diksha on an auspicious day by the Gurumaharaj.

Now Nemchandbhai was even more resolved to get Diksha by any means. He approached Maharaj Ratnavijayji and convinced him to give him a "Sadhu Vesh," or the dress of a Sadhu! When he got it, he put it on in a lone place and presented himself before Gurumaharaj. Gurumaharaj was just amazed at first, but when he realized the complete background & his daring, he agreed, gave Diksha performing the holy ceremony, and offered him the 'Ogho' of Gacchapati Shri Mulchandji Maharaj on Jeth Sud 7, Vikram Samvat  1945. He was named Muni Nemvijayji. When father Laxmichandbhai came to know about this, he immediately came to Pujya Shri & tried his best to convince Pujya Shri to reverse this decision. But the strong vairagya of Pujya Shri was unshakeable! Having performed the rites of Yogodwahan strictly according to scriptures under Pujya Panyas Shri Pratapvijayji, he got Vadi-Diksha together with other Sadhus.


Life after Diksha & the influence of Shasan Samrat!

After becoming a Sadhu, Muni Nemvijayji was fully engrossed in observing the daily rites & acts of Sadhu Jeevan(Life). He devoted himself to Gurubhagavant & followed the training with the utmost sense of devotion & enthusiasm. As a result, he became the most beloved of the Gurubhagavant and won his heart. He had already been well versed in the avashyaka sutras – necessary for a Sadhu, in a very short duration. He started studying & learning a lot of scriptures that laid a strong foundation for his Sadhu Jeevan(Life)! It was noteworthy that while continuing his own study, he also used to teach other Sadhus. Following the death of his Guru, he independently travelled to many places to undertake various tasks of Jin Shasan. He inspired many worthy souls who went on to become his disciples. They also turned out to be able servants to the Shasan, dignified scholars, and strict followers of the conduct. He was sincere in his own behavior and a strict disciplinarian in training his disciples.

Gurubhagavant's health was deteriorating. He became vigilant in Vaiyyavacch & took utmost care of him. His study continued. During that time, Pujya Danvijayji, a very learned disciple of Pujya Mulchandji, an unmatched scholar of Nyayashastra (logic), visited Bhavnagar. He was highly impressed by Muni Nemvijay's keenness for acquiring knowledge and devotion to observing the rites. He went to Palitana. There he set up 'Shree Buddhisinhji Jain Sanskrit Pathshala. ' Sadhu and Sadhvi Bhagwants were to be taught Nyaya (logic) and Vyakarana (grammar) there.

When the Pathshala was set up, Pujya Danvijayji wrote to Vruddhichandraji Maharaj that if he could send Muni Nemvijayji to Palitana, he would conduct the Pathshala well and would teach the Sadhu-Sadhvis. Gurubhagvant asked Nemvijay to go to Palitana. Looking at the ill health of Guru Maharaj, he was reluctant to go but yet he honored his desire and went to Palitana. He conducted the Pathshala well, and his study under Pujya Danvijayi also went on.

Here in Bhavnagar, Gurubhagavant's condition worsened, and at last, on the Day of Vaishakh Sud Satam, he breathed his last! Nemvijayji Maharaj was deeply grieved and shocked by this news. He was more grieved because he could not be beside him during his final moments. But eventually, he reconciled, calmed down, and firmly resolved to accomplish the desires of the Gurubhagavant for the service to Jin Shasan.

He founded numerous Jain schools (Pathshalas) throughout Gujarat and Rajasthan to spread knowledge of Jain scriptures and conduct. He also established several Gnanbhandars and libraries to store and protect ancient literature in religious books. He also composed several Jain Granthas. His far-sightedness can be seen from the fact that he got the best volumes of some of the most ancient Acharyas like Haribhadrasuri, Hemchandracharya, and YashovijayVachak, edited and published for the very first time & gifted a considerable resource of rich & ancient knowledge to Shree Jain Sangh. This activity benefits even the current Day Shraman Samuday!

His level of compassion towards every living being can be assumed from the fact that he preached to the fishermen in the coastal villages & thousands of fishermen gave up fishing to choose an alternative earning source! He was highly instrumental in raising massive amounts of funds to settle the debts of the Panjarapoles & always encouraged the setting up of Panjarapoles for cattle.

He was at the forefront of putting up a winning fight. He successfully overcame many challenges of Tirth Raksha of Shree Shatrunjay Tirth, Girnar Tirth, Taranga Tirth, and Sammet-Shikharji Tirth standing together with Sheth Anandji Kalyanji Pedhi. He also undertook "Jirnoddhar," or renovation/development of many ancient & highly pious Tirth places like Kadambgiri, Sherisa, Matar, Vamaj, etc.

In one of the instances, with the intention to hurt the sentiments of Jains, the then Maharaja of Palitana – Mansinhji used to climb Shatrunjay Giriraj with Boots on & used to enter the main temple while smoking cigarette. Seeing this, the entire Jain community got furious & started taking steps to stop this nuisance. However, all the attempts were in vain. As a last resort, a case was filed against the Maharaja & this made him more aggressive. So he announced that he would build a room in the Angarsha Premises over Shatrunjay Giriraj & conduct Bali (sacrifice) of goats & throw the blood of it on Dada Adinath. Angry & restless Jain Sangh came to Pujya Nemi Suriji Maharaj for help. Shasan Samrat called upon one the most able Shravaks Shri Bhaichandbhai & chalked a plan. He gathered the Aayar community who were the caretakers of goats & explained them that if the plan of Maharaja succeeds, the goat population shall vanish. This shall be detrimental to the livelihoods of the community & their generations to come. Thus, Shasan Samrat & Bhaichandbhai firstly erased the probability of availability of goats! Later with another master plan, they dumped all the material that was sent on Giriraj for construction of the slaughter room! And in the meanwhile, the Maharaja lost the case to Sheth Anandji Kalyanji Pedhi on the grounds of Ashatana to holy place. The efforts of entire Jain community & that of Shasan Samrat succeeded that helped in protecting the sanctity of Shatrunjay Giriraj!

One of the most significant achievements of Shasan Samrat was that he revived the traditions of the specific religious rites and ceremonies like Anjan-Shalaka, Siddhchakra-poojan, Arhant Maha-poojan which were lost for a long time, and brought them into practice along with the correct method of performing them. He also restarted the tradition of Yogodvahan, which was forgotten. He thus became the first Tapagachchhiya Acharya, who was conferred the three degrees (Padavis) of Gani, Panyas, and Suri with the rites, rituals, and ceremonies chalked out in the Shastras.

With his knowledge & skillful approach, he preached to the kings and royalties of many princely states like Bhavnagar, Vallabhipur, Jaisalmer, and Udaipur. He inspired them to do acts meant for people's welfare, the protection of Tirths & being compassionate towards living beings. He was known for his art of settling disputes amicably among different groups & Sanghs in various places through tactful arbitration that brought unity and harmony among them. He strongly supported helping people get rid of addictions like gambling, drinking, etc. & His great efforts made Darbars of Kadambgiri free from such habits.

Of the many unique attributes that Shasan Samrat possessed, the noteworthy one that he is even today known for is that he was an ardent firm believer, practitioner & preacher of celibacy.

During those days, there was no Acharya Maharaj in the Tapagachha Jain Sangh. It was in consideration of the people to confer this post to a highly inspiring & deserving Shasan-Prabhavak Sadhu. The then-present Mahatmas found Shasan Samrat Muni Nemvijayji perfectly suitable to hold the position of an Acharya. They presented their idea before the leading dignitaries of the Sangha during the sixth meeting of the Akhil Bhartiya Jain Shwetambar Murtipujak Conference held in Bhavnagar in the year 1964 (Vikram Samvat)(1907 C.E.). They accepted this proposal with great joy and conferred Acharyapada to Nemvijayji Maharaj. On the auspicious Day of Jeth Sud 5, Vikram Samvat 1964 (1907 C.E.), with unprecedented pomp and celebrations, Pujya Panyas Shri Gambhirvijayji Maharaj with his sacred hands bestowed Acharyapada to Pujya Nemivijayji. On that Day, Nemvijayji became the first Acharya among the then-existing Samvegi Tapagachhiya Munirajas all over India, who received Acharyapada after undergoing Yoyodvahan, according to the Shastras. He was now proclaimed as Acharya Maharaj Vijay Nemsuriji. He became Shasan Samrat – a leader of the whole Tapagachha!

Despite all this, he was extremely modest and never thought of presenting himself as the best amongst the then Acharyas. He just called himself an ordinary soul who could be compared to a dust particle of the feet of the great Acharyas of the past.

End of an era!

Shasan Samrat had attained old age & his body now needed some rest. He was not in the best of health & decided to stay at Kadambgiri to recover. He even intended to do his Chaturmas there. But the Jain Sangh of Mahuva came to Shasan Samrat and made an ardent request to come to Mahuva for chaturmas and perform Pratishtha of the two new Jinalayas. Shasan Samrat accepted their request for chaturmas but clearly stated that the ritual of Pratishtha would not be done by me indicating that he knew what was destined!. During this Chaturmas at Mahuva, his health started to deteriorate from the days of Paryushan. Pujya Udaysuriji Maharaj and Pujya Nandansuriji Maharaj were always beside his bed, looking after him. When the Day of Diwali was near Nandansuriji Maharaj said to Pujya Shri," Saheb, the day after tomorrow is Diwali and the next day is your Janma Tithi!" Pujyashri replied," What! am I going to survive Diwali?" Everyone was stunned listening to these shocking words from Pujyashri.


It was the Day of Aso Vad 30, and Pujyashri was highly restless. Since morning, Pujyashri had declared that he would not take anything except water. Though there was fever, weakness, and restlessness, his face brightened! Hundreds of people started coming to have a last Darshan of Shasan Samrat when they learned that 'Dada's' end was nearing.

And in the holy presence of the entire Chaturvidha Shree Sangha Shasan Samrat, in deep solemnity, bade farewell to this world. On the ominous New year's Day morning, a grand procession of his last journey was taken out. His Kaldharma took place on the night of Aso Vad 30,  Vikram Samvat 2005 in the city Mahuva & that too just near the spot of his birth!

A Guru Mandir was built where he breathed his last & his footsteps were installed. A miraculous sight that the visitors can even note today is that the flowers placed on these footsteps of Shasan Samrat stay fresh for the whole day till they are replaced the next day! That's the aura this place has today because of this extraordinary & visionary Shasan Samrat. It is also said & believed by many that if you place  Pujya Nemi Suriji’s image in any form at your home, there are negligible chances of a robbery happening in that house! Yes!!

To this man of great stature & a personality beyond definition, we bow our heads to Pujya Sangh Hitchintak, Shasan Nayak, Shasan Udhdharak, Bal Brahmachari Shasan Samrat Pujya Nemi Surishwarji Maharaja!


  1. Adbhud life 🙏🙏 Have heard about Ach. Nemisuri sahebji’s name, but didn’t know all these details. Thank you for this compilation. Inspirational life 🙏🙏

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