Jain monk Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj dies at 77, PM Modi recalls his ‘valuable efforts’

  • February 18, 2024

Renowned Jain monk Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj died on Sunday at Chandragiri Teerth in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district after undertaking ‘sallekhna‘. He was 77.

‘Sallekhna’ is a Jain religious practice involving voluntary fasting unto death for spiritual purification, a statement from the teerth said.

Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj attained Samadhi through ‘sallekhna‘ at Chandragiri Teerth at 2:35 am, the statement said.

“Maharaj was staying on the teerth in Dongargarh for the last six months and was unwell for the past few days. For the last three days, he was observing sallekhna’, a religious practice of voluntarily fasting to death, and had quit intake of food and liquids. According to Jainism, it is a vow taken for spiritual purification,” the statement said.

A procession will be taken out at 1 pm on Sunday for people to pay tribute to the departed seer and the final rites will be held in Chandragiri Teerth, it added.

On November 5 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Dongargarh, a popular pilgrimage spot, and met Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj and took his blessings, ahead of the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls.

In a tweet on Sunday, PM Modi condoled the demise of Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj and said it was an “irreparable loss”. He also said his valuable efforts for spiritual awakening among the people will always be remembered.

“Throughout his life, he remained engaged in poverty alleviation as well as promoting health and education in society. It is my good fortune that I continue to receive his blessings. My meeting with him at Chandragiri Jain Temple in Chhattisgarh last year will be unforgettable for me. I had received a lot of love and blessings from Acharya ji,” he wrote on X.

“His unmatched contribution to society will continue to inspire every generation of the country,” he said.

PM Modi said his thoughts and prayers were with the countless devotees of Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj.

“He will be remembered by the coming generations for his invaluable contributions to society, especially his efforts towards spiritual awakening among people, his work towards poverty alleviation, healthcare, education and more,” he wrote.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai described Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj as “a bundle of spiritual consciousness”.

“Acharya Shri Vidyasagar Ji Maharaj, who enriched the country and the world, including Chhattisgarh with his dynamic knowledge, will be remembered for ages for his remarkable work, sacrifice and penance for the country and society. I bow down to the feet of Acharya Shri Vidyasagar ji, a bundle of spiritual consciousness,” he wrote in Hindi on X.

The state government has declared a half-day state mourning on Sunday due to the death of the Jain monk.

“During this period, the national flag will remain at half-mast and no state functions/programmes will be organised,” Vishnu Deo Sai said.

(with inputs from Parmanand Rajak and PTI)

Published By:

Prateek Chakraborty

Published On:

Feb 18, 2024

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