Acharya Mahapragya Founder of Preksha Meditation System
Acharya Mahapragya, a great humanitarian leader, spiritual Guru, philosopher, and author, was the tenth Acharya, supreme head of the Svetambar Terapanth sect of Jainism and is credited as the founder of Preksha Meditation. A ‘Living Legend’ in his own right, he was a treasure house of infinite knowledge and was designated as the ‘Second Vivekananda of India’ by the noted poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar.
Born in 1921 at Tamkor in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan, India as Nathmal, Acharya Mahapragya began his spiritual journey at the tender age of ten when he was initiated into monkhood by Acharya Kalugani, eighth Acharya of Jain Swetambar Terapanth on 29 January 1931. With this he became Muni Nathmal and under the able guidance of Acharya Shree Tulsi, expanded his scholarship of diverse disciplines in great depth, combining classical and ancient subjects with modern trends. Impressed by his dedication, Acharya Tulsi awarded him the qualitative epithet of ‘Mahapragya’ (highly knowledgeable) on 12 November 1978. Declared as the successor designate ‘Yuvacharya’ in 1979, in 1994, he succeeded Acharya Tulsi to the position and title of ‘Acharya’ (the supreme head). On 5 February 1995, Mahapragya was formally consecrated as the tenth Acharya of the Terapanth religious order in a public meeting in Delhi.
Founder of Preksha Meditation
Acharya Mahapragya discovered the boundless wonders of meditation in his late twenties, and for over two decades, devoted himself to the deep practice of meditation, experimenting with various techniques. This led to the formulation of the well organized and scientific method of Preksha Meditation in 1970 by him. Bringing together Meditation, Yogasana, Pranayama and Mantra, he developed Preksha Meditation as a special practice influenced by the tenets of the Jain Agamas, ancient scriptures, Yoga Science, Biology, Modern Physics, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, etc. After a rigorous practice for a period of 9 months beginning 3 March 1977, Acharya Mahapragya organized the first Preksha meditation camp later that year. Today, there are several Preksha Meditation centres operational around the globe.
Role in the Anuvrat Movement
Acharya Mahapragya also played a seminal role in the Anuvrat Movement launched by his guru Acharya Tulsi on 2 March 1949. The objective of the movement was and remains the creation of a nonviolent socio-political world order with the help of a global network of self-transformed people. Since its inception, the movement has inspired millions of people to practice purity and self-discipline in their personal lives. Acharya Mahapragya aided Acharya Tulsi in the preparation of the contents of Anuvrat and spread the mission and vision of Anuvrat to initiates, often acting as a representative of Acharya Tulsi. On succeeding Acharya Tulsi, he led the Anuvrat Movement for more than two decades.
Research and Scholarly Work
A prolific writer, author, and poet, Acharya Mahapragya, in collaboration with Acharya Tulsi and other intellectual monks and nuns of the sect undertook the research, translation and annotation of the Jain Agamas in order to facilitate the permanent preservation of many thousands of years old canonical scriptures and embellish them with a scientific outlook acceptable to lay persons.
Science of Living Education System
In 1979, Acharya Mahapragya conceived the philosophy of the Science of Living Education System at the Jain Vishva Bharati in Ladnun in Rajasthan. An effort to implement a value-based moral system, Science of Living Education system is directed at the overall holistic development of students by achieving balance in emotional, intellectual and physical development, a principle which is gaining more acceptance in the Indian education system.
Jain Vishva Bharati University
Acharya Mahapragya also conceptualized the founding of the Jain Vishva Bharati University at Ladnun in Rajasthan in 1991 under the spiritual patronage of Acharya Tulsi. Acharya Mahapragya served as the head of University since 1995. The aim of the University is to revive truths and values hidden in the ancient Indian traditions in general and in the Jain tradition in particular. Another primary objective of the University is to spread literacy in subjects like nonviolence and peace, Jainology, Sanskrit, Prakrit, yoga, meditation, and literature. Regular degree courses leading to Bachelors and Masters degrees are presently being conducted at the University.
An exemplary practitioner of Anekantavada and Non-violence, Acharya Mahapragya, embarked on an Ahimsa Yatra, a journey on foot to advance the cause of non-violence, on 5 December, 2001 at Sujangarh in Rajasthan. An endeavour to throw light on the infinite power of non-violence, through the Yatra, Acharya Mahapragya passed through 87 districts across the length and breadth of India, covering more than 2400 villages, towns and cities, where he held meetings with many spiritual and political leaders and appealed for communal harmony. The Yatra successfully concluded on 4 January 2009 at Sujangarh, the same place where it had begun.
Acharya Mahapragya left for his heavenly abode on 9 May 2010 at 2:52 pm in Sardarshahar, in Churu district, the place where he attained monkhood. Mahaprayan of Mahapragna created a vacuum across the globe and political and spiritual leaders and common people paid their tributes to him.
- National poet Ram Dhari Singh Dinkar said “Mahapragya is a Modern Vivekananda. We have not seen Vivekananda, only heard and read about him. But now we can see Vivekananda through his Vision”
- Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has often stated: “I am a lover of Mahapragya’s literature”.
- The Eminent Scholar of Philosophy, Dr. Daya Krishna has recognized Acharya Shri Mahapragya as the most knowledgeable person on the subject of Jain Logic.
- The famous Bangla writer Shri Bimal Mitra said: “I find new truth in Mahapragya’s work. When I read his books, I feel as if I write for the masses and he writes for me. If only I could have met him in the initial stages of my career, my literature would have had a new path to follow”.
Awards and Honours
- Mother Teresa National Award of Peace by Inter faith Harmony foundation of India in 2005
- Sampradayika Sadbhavana Puraskar (Communal harmony award) by Govt. of India in 2004
- Ambassador of Peace (London) by Inter Religions and International Federation in 2003
- Lokmaharshi by New Mumbai Municipal corporation in 2003
- Indira Gandhi National Integration Award in 2002
- D.Litt by Netherland Inter-Cultural Open University in 1999
|Father's Name||Tola Ram Choraria (Jain)|
|Birth Place||Tamkor (Distt Jhunjhanu,Rajasthan,India).|
|Birth Date||14th June 1920.||Initiation to Monkhood (Jain Asceticism)||29th January 1931, at Sardarsahar(Rajasthan):Named as Muni nath mal.|
|Guru-Initiator||Shrimad Kalu Gani ( The 8th Acharya i.e. the supreme head & preceptor of the religious order of Jain Shwetambara Terapanth)|
|Guru-Educator||Acharya Shri Tulsi ( The 9th Acharya of the religious order of Jain Shwetambra Terapanth) Nomination as Successor-designate to Acharya Tulsi 4th February 1979 at Rajaldesar, Rajasthan Consecration as the 10th Acharya of Terapanth 5th February 1995, Delhi.|
|Left for Heavenly Abode||9th May 2010 (aged 89) Sardarshahar, Rajasthan, India|