A great spiritualist genius Pt. Todar Mai was an eminent prose writer, commentator (Tikakar) and religious poet, According to the latest research by Dr. Hukam Chand Bharill he was born at Jaipur in 1719-20 and lived for 47 years.
He was a great revolutionary reformer and had thorough study of grammar, philosophy, literature and Jain tenets. He had very good command over language. His Hindi Tikas on important and popular Sanskrit and Prakrit Jain works created wide respect and repute for him as a learned scholar.
He was born to his parents Jogidas and Rambha Devi. He was Godika Khandelwal Jain also known as Bhaonsa and Badjatya. His ancestors were also known as Dholakas. He had two sons, Harish Chandra and Gumani Ram. The latter was a learned scholar and effective preacher. After the death of Pt. Todarmal he led the religious revolution initiated by him. There followed a Guman Panth after his name.
Pt. Todarmal got his early education in the spiritualist Digamber Terapanthi Saili established by Baba Banshidhar Dass. Later he developed it and became its Chief. He mostly lived at Jaipur. For some time he also lived at Singhara where he worked with a businessman of Delhi. He had statred writing books from the age of 15-16 years. A noted scholar of Sanskrit, Hindi and Prakrit he had good working knowledge of Kannad language as well which he had learnt by himself. He could easily read and write the hand written Kannad scriptures.
Pt. Todarmal was very studious, sobre and simple hearted. He lived a pious and saintly life. He was a very popular and impressive religious preacher. Wherever he went large audience came to attend his lectures. Diwan Ratanchand and Diwan Balchand Chabra and many other important persons of Jaipur used to attend his religious lectures. He had become most prominent in answering the difficult queries on Jain philosophy and tenets made by persons from various parts of the country.
Religious intolerance and orthodoxy, economic and social inequalities, love touch in literature and spiritual degeneration were at their climax in the middle of the 18th century. Asa bold reformist and revolutionary Pt. Todarmal led crusade against these at the cost of his life.
He strongly advocated for following the path of religion with right knowledge in a simple manner.
According to Pt. Bakhtawar Shah, Pt. Todarmal and some other Jains were arrested on a false charge of removing a Shivling and murdered by the order of Jaipur ruler who was under the influence of staunch conservative non-Jains, who had become jealous of his great intellectual and spiritual popularity.
Pt. Todar Mai had an organised system of writing and propagation of Jain literature. Since printing facilities were then not existing 10-12 good copyists were engaged to make copies of important scriptures for use in different parts of the country. Though there were no proper travelling facilities then available he had made efforts for collection of Dhaval, Jai Dhaval, Maha Dhaval and other Sidhanta Shastras from distant Southern India. Even at the cost of the life of a man who died because of rigours of journey these scriptures could not be obtained for him.
Many of his devotees became good Jain scholars and devoted their life to the propagation of Jain religion and spiritualism. Famed learned persons such as Pt. Jaichand Chabra, Pt. Daulatram Kasliwal, Pt. Sewaram and Pt. Devidas Godha learnt from him and dedicated themselves to the creation of Jain literature by his inspirations.
All his 12 important works include 5 original works and 7 commentaries (Tikas). His 5 original works are in prose and poetry both. These are Rahasyapurna Chitthi, Artha- sandrishti Adhikar, Samava Sharan Rachna, Mokshmarg Prakashak and Gommatsar Puja.
He wrote Tikas in Hindi on Sanskrit works Atmanushasan, Purusharthasidhupaya (which could not be completed) and on Prakrit works Gommatsar Jivakand, Gommatsar Karmakand, Labdhisar, Chhapansar and Triloksar.
Mokshmarg Prakashak is his most important and popular work. His main aim to write it was to explain in a simple way all the elements of Jainism to those persons who could not read and understand scriptures on Nyaya, grammar, Naya and Praman, etc. He however, could not complete it, the reasons for which are not known. If completed, it is believed, that according to his plan it would have been a very big work of 5000 pages. Even the incomplete work printed in 500 pages is extremely popular. Its over 51,000 copies published so far in Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and Urdu are found for study in most of the Digamber Jain temples of the country.