Acharya Haribhadra was born in a Brahmin family during the sixth century
. He was highly intelligent learned man and was proficient in all
subjects. He was the follower of lord shiva. One day while he was passing through a street, he came across the royal elephant. The animal was drunk and had gone out of control. The keeper was trying his best to bring him into control, but the elephant was not responding to any of his efforts. As the elephant was approaching fast towards him, Haribhadra had to escape somewhere. As he looked around, he saw in front of himself the prominent Jain temple of the city. He ran towards it and entered the temple in order to save himself from the wrath of the elephant.
Haribhadra had never entered a Jain temple before. He did not have any clear concept about the Jain Tirthankars. As he entered the temple, he saw the white marble idol of Bhagavan Mahavira and Utsarpini as well as Avasarpini. Once, while Haribhadra was passing by the ladies' Upäshray, he heard the nun Yäkini Mahattarä
reciting a verse indicating the order in which the sovereign emperors and Väsudevs occurred during the current
Avasarpini. As a student, Haribhadra had studied the Jain philosophy. But he obviously had no background regarding the above mentioned tradition. As such, he could not make out what the Mahattarä was uttering. He asked the nun about the meaning was and what the Mahattarä had uttered. he requested her to accept him as a pupil and to explain what she was
reciting. The Mahattarä replied that nuns are not supposed to teach the males and cannot have the male pupils. She therefore advised Haribhadra to go to her Guru Jinabhattasuri who was capable to explain the verse as well as its implied meaning. She added that if he thought fit thereafter, he could become the pupil of that Guru. Accordingly, Haribhadra went to Ächärya Jinabhattasuri who explained the verse in proper perspective. He however did not ask Haribhadra to be his pupil.
The way, the Ächärya explained, induced Haribhadra to know more about Jainism. He therefore requested the Ächärya to accept him as a pupil. Thereupon, Jinabhattasuri asked him to get the consent of his family and other close relatives. Haribhadra persuade the members of his family and other relatives. He explained to them that his knowledge would remain incomplete without gaining the knowledge of Jainism at length. He ultimately succeeded in gaining the consent of all the
concerned. Thereupon, he renounced the worldly life and became a pupil of
Now, he diligently started studying the Jain scriptures and other sacred books. The smart and intelligent as he was, he could soon gain mastery over the Jain scriptures. The study of the Ägams showed to him how much depth has been reached by Jainism in seeking the truth. When it was seen that he had gained the mastery over the Jain literature and was thoroughly convinced about the true faith, it was decided to take the advantage of his capability by bestowing on him the state of Ächäryahood.
On an auspicious day, he was formally announced as Ächärya Haribhadra-suri. In
that capacity, he managed the Jain order very capably and efficiently. By virtue of his knowledge and intelligence, he could attract many people to the Jain fold. Many of them also renounced and became his pupils. Jainism saw a new height of popularity during his stewardship. The Guru advisedhim to compose the books that would attract the people to the right faith.
Accordingly, Haribhadra-suri started writing. He was a prolific writer. He wrote many books of which only a few are available at present. The commentaries on Dashvaikälik-sutra, Tattvärthasutra, Panchasutra, and Ävashyak-sutra are among his well known compositions. Moreover, he wrote Lalitvistarä,
Dharma-sangrahani, Upadeshapad, Shodashtaks, Dharmabindu, and Anekänta Jaypatäkä. He was probably the first Jain scholar to write on Yoga.
Yogabindu, Yogavinshikä, Yogashatak and Yogadrashti Samuchchaya are his compositions on Yoga. He will always be remembered for the valuable contribution in this area.