Born to his parents Sh. Tota Ram and Smt. Mewa Rani in village Chawli in Distt. Agra (U.P.) in 1895, Pt. Makhan Lai received his education in Sanskrit at Dig. Jain Mahavidya- laya, Mathura and Saharanpur. As a student of famed Pt. Amba Das Shastri he passed Madhyama in Navya-Nyaya from Queens College, Banaras and later studied Jain Sidhant from Pt. Gopal Das Baraiya at Morena.
He is looking after the work of Morena Mahavidyalaya since 1927 and has produced a large number of Jain Pandits from this institution. He was Hon- Magistrate for about 15 years appointed by the Govt, of Madhya Pradesh. He has prepared Hindi Tikas of Vartika- lankar, Panchadhyayi and Purusharth-Sidhi- upaya. He edited ‘Jain Gazette’ for 12 years and later also edited ‘Jain Darshan’.
He has been honoured with the titles of Dharma Ratna, Dharma Vir, Saraswati Diwakar, Vidya Varidhi, Nyayalankar, Vidra-Tilak and Sidhanta Vachaspati.