Pujya Ganini Pramukh Shri Gyanmati Mata Ji is like the brilliant sun on the wide-spread sky of Jain tradition in the present century. All the efforts to enclose her glorious personality in words will surely remain incomplete, however with the sincere wish of paying homage to her long ascetic life, I am humbly trying to pen down her brief introduction-
‘Maina’ was born as the first child of Smt. Mohini Devi, the wife of Shri Chotteylal Ji Jain of Tikaitnagar (Dist.-Barabanki, U.P.) on 22nd October 1934, the day of Sharad Poornima.
By the regular study (Swadhyaya) of ‘Padmanandipanchvinshatika’, an ancient Jain scripture, which was given to mother Mohini in dowry by her parents, Maina developed a deep feeling of renouncing the world. Infact, such feelings were deeply rooted in her since previous births.
At the tender age of 18 years, Maina took the vows of lifelong Celibacy, Seven Pratimas (Vows for householders) and the renouncement of home from Acharyaratna Shri Deshbhushan Ji Maharaj in 1952 on the very day of Sharad Poornima.
Later in 1953 the first Brahmacharini of the 20th century Km. Maina took Kshullika Deeksha (Primary stage of initiation) from Acharya Shri Deshbhushan Ji on Chaitra Krishna Ekam at Mahavir ji Atishaya Kshetra (Rajasthan) to become ‘Kshullika Veermati’.
In 1955 Veermati Ji stayed in the holy feet of Charitra Chakravarti Acharya Shri Shantisagar Ji Maharaj for one month at the time of his Samadhi at Kunthalgiri and as per his order, She took Aryika Deeksha (Highest stage of initiation for females) from Acharya Shri Veersagar Ji Maharaj, the first disciple Pattacharya of Acharya Shri Shantisagar Ji, on Vaishakh Krishna Dooj of 1956 at Madhorajpura (Jaipur-Rajasthan) to become Aryika Gyanmati.
Since the beginning Mata Gyanmati Ji was having keen desire for acquiring knowledge. The best means for the same was chosen by her in the form of teaching Munis (Digambar saints), Aryikas (female saints) and other disciples of the Sangh (group). She started with ‘Katantra Roopmala’ (the Sanskrit Grammer) to continue with various ancient Jain scriptures as Gommatsar, Parikshamukh, Nyaydeepika, Prameyakamalmartand, Ashtasahastri, Tattvartharajvartik, Sarvarthasiddhi, Angardharmamrit, Moolachar, Triloksar etc. She gained a lot of knowledge in a very less time and she also became an expert of various languages as Hindi, Sankrit, Prakrit, Kannad, Marathi etc.
Infact there was no example of writing scriptures by Jain Sadhvis (female saints) in the history of 2500 years after Lord Mahavir, the 24th Tirthankar (Jain Lord) but Kshullika Veermati Ji created the landmark when she started writing with 1008 Mantras (holy verses) of Sahastranam. These matnras proved to be like the boon of Mata Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge) for her. Since then Pujya Mataji did-not look behind and till date Teekas (explanatory notes or commentary) &original texts in Sanskrit & Hindi written by her, have crossed the number of 200.
In 1969-70 she translated the highest scripture of Nyaya (Jain-logic)-Ashtasahastri into Hindi for the surprise of the world of scholars. Afterwards explanatory notes in Sanskrit & Hindi on Samaysar, Niyamsar etc.; Scriptures for Swadhyaya as-Jain Bharti, Gyanamrit, Trilok-Bhaskar, Pravachan Nirdeshika etc.; Novels like Pratigya, Sanskar, Bhakti, Adibramha, Atae Ka Murga, Jeevandan etc.; Hindi translation of Dravya Sangrah, Ratnakarandshravakachar, Katantra Vyakaran etc.; Balvikas, Balbharati, Nari Alok etc. and a number of other scriptures show the highly talented calibre of Pujya Mataji as a versatile writer.
She has not only written on Adhyatma (spirituality), Vyakaran (grammer), Nyaya (logic), Siddhant (formulae), children literature, Novels etc. but also devotional poetic worshipping hymns i.e. Vidhans. Indradhwaj, Kalpadrum, Sarvatobhadra, Teenlok, Siddhachakra, Vishwashanti Mahavir Vidhan etc. have immersed the people into the devotion of Lord Jinendra throughout the country.
The specific characteristic of the writing of Pujya Mataji is that it is in full accordance with the ancient Jain Agam (scriptures).
At present, Pujya Mataji is indulged in writing the Sanskrit Teeka ‘Siddhant Chintamani’ of the first Siddhant Grantha of the Jain Philosophy i.e. ‘SHATKHANDAGAM’. She has completed 13 books, out of which the first & the second books have been published with Hindi Teeka also.
As 1000 years before, Acharya Shri Nemichandra Siddhantchakravarti wrote Dravya Sangrah, Gommatsar, Labdhisar etc. similarly Pujya Mataji is also writing on Shatkhandagam after a deep life-long practice of Jain Agam to be truely called as Siddhant Chakreshwari (well versed in Jain philosophical formulae).
After the writing of Dhavla Teeka by Acharya Shri Veersen Swami 1000 years before, for the first time the simple teeka of this great scripture is being written.
By the inspiration of Pujya Mataji a number of teaching camps have been organized so that Jain scholars may understand the real theme of Jain-Agam.
In 1969 a specific camp on ‘Jain-Astronomy’ was organized between the chaturmas of Jaipur and Pujya Mataji introduced & explained extensively Jain Geography & Astronomy to the scholars.
In Oct. 1978, a teaching camp of about 100 scholars including Pt. Makkhanlal Ji Shastri, Pt. Motichand Ji Kothari, Dr. Lal Bahadur Ji Shastri etc. was organized at Hastinapur and in this camp Pujya Mataji guided the scholars on various issues related with the real Jain tradition. Even today the series is going on.
International Seminars-In 1985 an International Seminar on ‘Jain Mathematics & Cosmology’ was organized at Jamboodweep-Hastinapur followed by a number of other seminars in later years. In 1998 the Vice-Chancellors of various Indian Universities gathered at Hastinapur to attend ‘Lord Rishabhdev National Vice-Chancellors’ Conference’, in which the participants were introduced with the first Tirthankar Lord Rishabhdev as the propagator of human culture of the present age.
Through the seminar on ‘Antiquity of Jainism’ at Jamboodweep-Hastinapur on 11th June 2000, the message to correct the misconceptions about Jainism in the textbooks of History was also conveyed to NCERT.
Many other seminars have also been organized at different times.
Without having the traditional degrees of the college & University, Pujya Mataji touched the heights of knowledge, teaching & literature- writing and to honour this unique talent, Avadh University-Faizabad presented the honorary degree of D.Lit. to her on 5th Feb. 1995. Pujya Mataji became the first among the Digambar Sadhu tradition to get this degree.
In the same way various Acharyas and social institutions have presented various titles (ranks) to her at different times such as-Nyaya Prabhakar, Aryikaratna, Aryikashiromani, Ganini Pramukh, Vatsalyamoorti, Teerthoddharika, Yugpravartika, Charitrachandrika, Rashtragaurav, Vagdevi etc. but remaining aloof from all these honours, she always remains engrossed in penance for self purification.
In 1992 when Pujya Mataji came to know that students all over the country are being taught that ‘Lord Mahavir is the founder of Jain Dharma’ through the History books published by NCERT, she was deeply hurt.
Consequently by the continuous efforts of 10 years including the direct talks with the Prime Minister, Human Resource Development Minister, Director-NCERT etc., the process of correcting the misconceptions could be initiated.
Pujya Mataji have always been dedicated for the development of the Kalyanak Kshetras especially the birthplaces of Tirthankar Lords. She says that such places are the great treasures of our eternal culture so we should always remain awakened for their protection & development.
Firstly at Hastinapur, the birthplace of Lord Shantinath, Kunthunath & Arahnath, the unique structure of Jain Geography ‘Jamboodweep’ was constructed by her inspiration & guidance. The Tourism Department of U.P. Government has called it as ‘A Man Made Heaven of Unparallel Superlatives and Natural Wonders’ in its publications.
Samavsaran Temple & Trikal Chaubeesi Temple at eternal pilgrimage-Ayodhya, Namokar Dham at Sanavad (M.P.), Lotus temple at Preet Vihar-Delhi, Sahastrakoot Lotus temple at Mangitungi (Maharashtra), Navdevta Temple at Aklooj (Maharashtra), Tees Chaubeesi Temple with 11 summits at Ahichhetra, ‘Tirthankar Rishabhdev Deekshasthali at Prayag-the Initiation (Deeksha) & Enlightenment (Kevalgyan) land of Lord Rishabhdev are the consequences of the inspiration of Pujya Mataji only.
Besides these a number of other constructions have also been done at various places.
Mahavir-Kundalpur (Nalanda-Bihar) has been developed magnificiently by the guidance & auspicious presence of Pujya Mataji in less than 2 years. A grand ‘Nandyavarta Mahal Tirth’ has been constructed there with Vishwashanti Mahavir Temple having the standing postured idol of Lord Mahavir, Navgrahshanti Jin Temple, Trikal Chaubeesi Temple & Nandyavarta Mahal- the birthpalace of Tirthankar Mahavir. Lord Mahavir Swami Kirtistambh has also been constructed.
Besides this, Muni Suvratnath Jin temple at the birthplace of Lord Muni Suvratnath-Rajgrahi along with the construction of the Mansthambh at the base of the Vipulachal Mountain, ‘Lord Mahavir Jin Temple’ with standing postured idol of Lord Mahavir at the Pandukshila campus infront of the Jalmandir of Pawapuri-the Salvation land of Lord Mahavir, Temple of Gautam Swami at His Salvation land-Gunava ji, Lord Rishabhdev Temple at Sammed Shikherji have also been constructed by the inspiration of Pujya Mataji.
At present, the development of Kakandi, the birthplace of 9th Tirthankar Lord Pushpdantnath is being done in the series of the development of the Birthplaces of Tirthankars, the sincere determination of Mataji.
By the inspiration of Pujya Mataji, the construction work of 108 Ft. high standing postured idol of Lord Rishabhdev has been initiated at the mountain of Mangitungi (Maharashtra). This idol will prove to be an astonishing wonder for the whole world and will also introduce the masses with the eternal culture of Jainism.
To establish Shirdi as a prominent Jain Centre, the plan of constructing ‘Gyantirth’ is being worked out. At Gyantirth, the grand idol of Lord Parshvanath will be consecrated along with other constructions as per the guidance of Pujya Mataji.
‘Digambar Jain Institute of Cosmographic Research’ was established in 1972 by the inspiration of Pujya Mataji at Delhi with the major aim of constructing Jamboodweep. This institute has remained indulged in various projects for the dissemination of the preachings of Jainism since then.
Veer Gyanodaya Granthmala publishing scriptures/books in lacs of numbers, Samyakgyan monthly magazine with the knowledge of 4 Anuyogas (4 parts of Jain Agam), Namokar Mahamantra Bank etc. are some important projects to be quoted.
By the inspiration of Pujya Mataji, the then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi inaugurated ‘Jamboodweep Gyan Jyoti’ at Delhi in 1982. The Jyoti travelled throughout the country for 3 years and preached the lessons of Non-violence, Compassion, Universal brotherhood etc. among the masses and later it was consecrated at Jamboodweep (Hastinapur) by Shri P.V. Narsimha Rao, the then Central Defence Minister.
Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee inaugurated ‘Bhagwan Rishabhdev Samavsaran Shrivihar’ at Delhi and it was consecrated at Kevalgyan Kalyanak Temple of Deekshasthali-Prayag after the tour of the whole India.
‘Bhagwan Mahavir Jyoti’ inaugurated from Lord Mahavir Birthplace-Kundalpur (Nalanda) in 2003 is also a landmark in this series.
To establish the ‘Antiquity of Jainism’ and the name & principles of Lord Rishabhdev among the masses Pujya Mataji got organized grand ‘Chaubees Kalpadrum Mahamandal Vidhan’ at Delhi and also ‘Lord Rishabhdev Birth-Anniversary Year’ & ‘Lord Rishabhdev International Nirvan Mahamahotsava Year’ (inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee) throughout the country & aborad.
Various T.V. Channels like Aastha, Jain, Sanskar etc. have done the broadcasting of the Pravachans of Pujya Mataji at various times. Direct telecast of programmes of Hastinapur, Ayodhya etc. have appealed the people in large numbers.
Akhil Bharatvarshiya Digambar Jain Mahila Sangathan’ was established by the inspiration of Pujya Mataji and today through its hundreds of units, it is unifying the feminine power of the Jain society for creative aims.
A large number of other day-to-day activities of Dharma-Prabhavna can be added to the above, however it is not possible to give their written account. The whole of the Jain Samaj consider her as an image of sincerity & hard work.
Since the beginning Pujya Mataji had one aim-to do any work according to Jain Agam only. If any struggle comes in her way in completing her so decided aim, she is never disturbed at all but with more determination, She wins over the difficulties to ultimately achieve her goal.
Whole of her life has been passed in the dissemination of the illumination of Jainism to self & all others along with following the Moolgunas (fundamental 28 tenets of a Jain Sadhu) strictly & protecting the Aarsh tradition (ancient scriptural tradition).
She never allows the use of the money of any institution or Tirth or charity in the arrangement of her sangh. She has followed this vow for 50 long years. That’s why Sanghpati Shravakas consider themselves fortunate when they take the responsibility of long distance pilgrimage tours of the Sangh of Pujya Mataji.
By the inspiration and in the auspicious presence of Pujya Mataji ‘Lord Parshvanath Birth-Anniversary Third Millennium Mahotsava’ was inaugurated on 6th Jan. 2005 at Varanasi, the birthplace of the Lord. This year was celebrated with various programmes at Ahichhetra-the Kevalgyan (Enlightenment) land, Shri Sammed Shikherji-the Salvation land and many other tirths related with Lord Parshvanath & throughout the country.
Pujya Mataji has inspired to celebrate the year 2006 as “Sammed Shikher Year” so that Digambar Jain Samaj may be dedicated for this great pilgrimage with all its power.
Besides this, She has also inspired to protect the Salvation land of Lord Neminath i.e. Girnarji and has attracted the mass-interest towards this issue.
Pujya Mataji is completing the 50 years of her Aryika Deeksha on Vaishakh Krishna Dooj, Veer Nirvan Samvat 2532 i.e. 15th Apr. 2006. Thus she is having the dignity of the most anciently initiated (Deekshit) Sadhvi of the present Digambar Jain Sadhu tradition.
On this unique occasion the Samaj is paying its humble homage in her holy feet by organizing “Ganini Pramukh Shri Gyanmati Mataji Aryika Deeksha Golden Anniversary Celebration” from 14th to 16th April 2006 at Jamboodweep-Hastinapur.
The list of the places of 50 Chaturmas of Pujya Mataji is as follows :
By knowing the number of the years of her penance or Deeksha, several Acharyas, Munis & Aryikas also feel dignified in telling that even my age is not as mush as Mataji has utilized in hard penance because she adopted this path at an early age of 18 years and since then she has passed each of her day in following the difficult path of Jaineshwari Deeksha.
We pay innumerable salutations in her holy feet with a hearty wish that all of us may be able to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary also of her asectic life.