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Jain Acharya Kundkundacharya

Jain Acharya Kundkundacharya

  The great spiritual saint Sri Kundkundacharya deo occupies the highest place in the tradition of the Jain acharyas. He is remembered immediately after Bhagavan Mahavira and the preceptor Gautam as an auspicious blessing. Every Jain recites the couplet with the three adorable, everyday reverentially before starting the study of religious texts. Kundakunda acharya as the leader of the mulasangha was the most eminent among the ascetics. This is clear from a popular sloka found in the following Jain inscription. 

 Mangalam Bhagavan viro, mangalam gautami gani, 
 Mangalam kundakundadya jaina dharmostu mangalam. 
 

         Acharya Kundkunda

  According to the Jain tradition, Kundakunda succeeded to the pontificate seat in Vikrama Samvat 49 (8 B.C.) at the age of 33. He lived as the pontiff of the mulasangha up to 52 years and passed away in 44 A.D. when he was 85 years of old. He was a contemporary of Bhadrabahu II and Arhadbali. Jinasena a commentator of Kundakunda, has observed that he was disciple of Kumaranandi. According to Pattavalies, he was the student of Meghanandi Whose teacher was Arhatbali. But in his own work of Bodhapahuda, Kundakunda calls himself as nayam sisenaya bhaddabahussa-sisya of Bhadrabahu who lived between 37 to 14 B.C.

 According to epigraphical records his name is Kundakunda. Devasena (10th cent A.D.) and Jayasena (12th cent.) refer him as ‘Padmanandi’. In the later works, he is known as vattekera, grudhapichha and Elacharya. From a reference in Bodhapahuda, he hailed from the Krishna region of Andhra Pradesh. As regards his nativity at Konakondla in Anantapur district, its antiquity may not be placed earlier than 7th cent. A.D. Through exploration in the area has not yielded any archaeological material datable to the period of Kundakunda. 

 Jain community is as unacquainted with the life of Kundkundacharyadeo, as it is acquainted with his name and glory. Always resting in the depth of the soul and away from worldly fame, Kundkund has nowhere written anything about himself. Merely his name has been mentioned in Dwadshanupreksha. Likewise, he has described himself in Bodh Pahud as the disciple of scriptural sentient Bhadrabahu, who had the knowledge of Twelve Anga Scriptures and who had spread the message of the Fourteen Purvas. Though writers afterwards have referred to him with faith and reverence, which throws light on his greatness, yet no particular knowledge about his life is obtained.

 From the information available, his time is the beginning of the Vikram Samvat. In the Tika-Prashashti of Shat Prabhrit, Shrut Sagar Suri has called him the omniscient of this dark age. He had many great fortunes. He went to Bhagwan Seemandhar Nath is Videh Kshetra and offered his homage to him. Devasenacharya in V. S. 990 in his Darshansar, has referred to about this as below :

 "If Padma Nandi Nath (Kundkundacharyadeo) had not distributed the divine sentience obtained from Seemandhar  Bhagwan amongst the Sadhus, how could they realize   the real path of liberation ?".  Following works of Kundkundacharyadeo are available:-

 Samaysar, Pravachansar, Panchastikaya, Niyamsar, Asta Pahud, Dwadshanu-preksha and Dash Bhakti., Rayansar and Moolachar are  said to be his works. It is said that he wrote eighty-four pahuds. It is also said that he wrote a commentary named Parikarma on the first three parts of Shat-khandagam, which is not available.

 Samaysar is the great unique treatise of Jain spiritualism. Pravachansar and Panchastikaya have detailed description of the Jain principles. The above three are also known as Natak Trayi, Prabhrit Trayi and Kundkund Trayi. Acharya Amritchandra has written elaborate commentaries on the three in the Sanskrit language. Commentaries of Acharya Jaisen in Sanskrit are also available.

 It was Kundakunda who provided some of the philosophical texts of the Digambara Church. In fact he is venerated almost as a Ganadhara, that is as if he was as knowledgeable as one of the immediate disciples of Mahavira. As time passed he gained in miraculous powers, and in an inscription at Sravana-Belgola dated AD 1398, it is said that when Kundakunda walked his feet would be four fingers above the ground.

 

                                                                                                                                                                      

 

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