Every human being desires or strives to be famous or great, but Destiny ordains only a few persons to be great. Such chosen few radiate energy and all encompassing authority that defies logic. By dint of their humility, compassion and tolerance, they activate and multiply the latent potentialities and areas of their influence surpassing or transcending barriers of region, language or state. The life of Upadhyaya Shri Maniprabh Sagarji is a living testimony of such a divine blessed soul.
In Barmer district of Rajasthan, there is a village called Mokalsar, which is inhabitated by wealthy businessmen. On 12th March,1960, Shri Paras Malji Lunkad and Rohini Devi were blessed with a son. Shri Paras Malji Lunkad - a highly respected social leader was a leading businessman, whose joy seemed no bound to have a son as his first child. The new- born son was named Meethalal. Everyone was looking forward to greater happiness in the family in times to come, but was destined to be otherwise. When Meethalal was an innocent toddler of only 4 years, cruel death snatched away Shri Paras Malji from their lives. Orphaned by the untimely and sudden death of his father, Meethalal used to remain immersed in his own thoughts oblivious of his surroundings. But overcoming her grief and taking control of their lives, his mother Rohini Devi sent him to school for education. His intelligence, inquisitiveness and humble nature were revelation to his teachers and school- mates alike. By 13th Year, he had passed 9th standard and everyone in the family was looking forward and were confident about his higher studies and successful initiation in business. In November 1972, his mother had gone to Nakodaji to participate in the Updhaan Tap held under the guidance of renowned Jain saint, Acharya Shri Jin Kanti Sagar Suri ji. Meethalal and his sister Vimla Kumari went to Nakodaji to meet their mother during Deepawali vacation and for the first time saw Acharya Shri Jin Kanti Sagar Suri ji there. The first glimpse of Acharya Shri Jin Kanti Sagar Suri ji had electrifying effect on brother sister duo. During his interaction with him, he raised many queries and very satisfactory replies thereto made Meethalal determined to renounce this world and pursue the religio-philosophical questions for their answers and dedicated life for propagating the gospel teachings of Jain Teerthankars. He sought his mother’s permission for initiation as Sadhu. But his mother and younger sister had already decided to renounce the world. All three of them – mother Rohini Devi, Meethalal and sister Vimla Kumari were initiated as Sadhu and Sadhvis by Acharya Shri Jin Kanti Sagar Suriji at Palitana Teertha on 23rd. June, 1973 ( Asadh Krishna Saptami, S.V. 2030) and named as ‘ Sadhvi Ratnamala Sreeji, Sadhu Maniprabh Sagarji and Sadhvi Vidyut Prabha Sreeji respectively.
Thereafter under the watchful eyes of his Guru, Shri Maniprabh ji started the studies of Jain scriptures, canons, Grammar, Astrology etc. His sharp intelligence, inquisitiveness and dedicated concentration to learn resulted in his mastering the same within a short span of time. He would remain constantly at the back and call of his Gurudev and carry out his orders wholeheartedly.
During the course of vihar from Siwana to Jiwana, Gurudev, Shri Maniprabh Sagar ji and others reached Mandawala on 3.12.1985, where around 12.00 noon, Gurudev felt uneasiness and had fever. He had premonition of his death and called for Shri Maniprabh Sagarji. Giving him necessary advise and direction to take charge of the Sangh after his death, Gurudev declared him his heir apparent. Suddenly, at 9.16 A.M. on 4.12.1985, Gurudev breathed his last. On 5th. December, 1985, Gurudev’s body was consigned to flames amidst thousands of his devotees and followers. After lighting of pyres, people present there saw a miracle, when Gurudev’s right hand in Ashirwad Mudra swayed in the atmosphere for around half an hour and this spectacular magical scene was recorded on tapes by photographers. Then and there, Shri Maniprabh Sagarji announced formation of ‘Shri Jin Kantisagar Suri Smarak Trust’ and declared that an unique temple, first of its kind in the world shall be constructed at Mandawala to perpetuate the memory of Gurudev. That commitment bore fruit, when on 30th January 1999 ‘Anjan Shalaka and Pratistha’ of JAHAJ MANDIR was held at Mandawala. JAHAJ MANDIR is first of its kind temple in world built in spotless white marble in the shape of a ship.
Shri Maniprabh Sagar ji and Sadhvi Vidyut Prabha Shreeji has been relentlessly pursuing their studies of scripture, philosophy and authoring books in spite of their heavy pre occupations in connection with Vihar, Pratistha, Shilanyas, Updhaan Tap, Diksha Samaroh etc. In recognition of his invaluable services and leadership qualities, Jain Khartargachha Sangh had conferred the ‘ Gani’ Padvi at Padru ( Rajasthan) on 25.06.1988. Since then, he has been managing the affairs of Sangh with aplomb. During this time, Sadhvi Vidyut Prabha Shree ji completed his M.A. and therefore did research on ‘Dravya Vigyan’- a complex theoretical subject of philosophy, which had wide ranging influence and importance in relation to many unanswered questions. On successful completion of her Ph.D. research in 1994, she was been awarded Doctorate – a rare honour for Jain Khartargachha Sadhvis. Her thesis– ‘ Dravya Vigyan’ has been published. Besides this, she had penned the life story of Moti Sha Seth and Gurudev Shri Jin Dutt Suri ji is a novel form titled ‘ Swapnadrasta’ and ‘ Gurudev’ respectively. Based on the ‘ Devchandra Chaubisi’ she has authored ‘ Preet ki Reet’ expounding therein and succinctly portraying the true meaning and underlying spirit behind the Bhajans by Shri Devchandra, which has deep philosophical meanings. ‘Uth Jaag Musafir Bhor Bhai’ – a collection of discourses of Gurudev Acharya Shri Jin Kanti Sagar Suriji, ‘ Vidyut Tarangen’, “ Bhigi Bhigi Khusboo’, ‘ Amar Bhaye na Marenge’, Rahi aur Rasta’, ‘ Anugoonj’ are some other books penned by her. Some other books and novel like biographies are in progress, which are scheduled to be published in due course.
Shri Maniprabh Sagarji has traveled different parts of the country for Chaturmas as well as Anjan Shalaka Pratistha, Shilanyas, Updhaan Tap, Diksha Samaroh etc. Many historical Pratistha Samaroh performed by him include Phalodi, Mokalsar, Padru, Jaipur, Chohtan, Sanchor, Udaipur, Vishala, Dhori Manna, Jalore, Beawar, Siwana, Bilada, Mandawala, Champa Vadi (Siwana), Amarsagar - near Jaisalmer, Bhilwara, Pachpadara all in Rajasthan, Palanpur (Guj.), Pune (Maharastra) Indore (M.P.), Updhaan Tap at Bikaner, Malpura, JAHAJ MANDIR in Rajasthan and at Pune (Maharastra). He has two direct disciples – First disciple Muni Manishprabh Sagarji at Padru in 1988, Muni Mayankprabh Sagarji at Barmer in March, 1994 and another Diksha of a direct disciple is scheduled for 16th. January, 2002 at Mokalsar (Rajasthan). Besides this, he has performed Diksha of around 30 Sadhus and Sadhvis till date.
He has authored many books of poems, religious hymns, Muktaks as well as on various other subjects. They include ‘ Tasme Shree Gurve Namah’ – a biography of his Gurudev, Acharya Shri Jin Kanti Sagar Suriji, ‘ Mani Manthan’,and Jagran – a collection of his discourses, ‘ Mayna Sundari Raas’ and ‘ Rishidutta Raas’ , ‘ Chintan Chakra’, ‘ Vandana’, ‘ Baj Uthi Bansuri’, ‘ Samarpan’, ‘Sudharas’ , “ Pujan Sudha’, Amijharana, ‘ Disha Bodh’, ‘ Nakoda Teertha ka Itihaas’, and many others.
Under his able guidance and advise, many ambitious projects have been started or near completion. They include ‘ Kushal Vatika’ – a multi purpose, multi faceted socio religious project at Barmer, Kika Bhai Trust – Kesharia Vaas at Kesharia ji near Udaipur, etc.
Jain Khartargachha Sangh in recognition of his leadership qualities, positive and constructive contribution through his various socio- religious and literary activities and having future of Samaj in mind, conferred the ‘Upadhyaya Padvi’ on 26.01.2001 on the occasion of Pratistha Samaroh at Champavadi, Siwana in Rajasthan.
Upadhyaya Shri Maniprabh Sagarji is a multi faceted personality, whose every face mesmerizes and leaves lasting impression. One may be overawed by his monumental achievements in such a short span of time, but when one meets him, he finds a ever smiling, humble, genial person, whose deep feelings and compassion touches his heart. His vast and deep knowledge of scriptures and sharp memory amazes you, but his firmness on matters of principle in this era of petty and mean compromises instills sense of faith. Though a religious leader, he is not bound by dogmas or narrow parochial considerations or fundamentalism. He is always open to new ideas and vistas of knowledge and his behaviour or thinking is never prejudiced or governed by closed mindset. In the present era of all round enveloping darkness, he is a source of light and beacon of hope for mankind in general and Jain Samaj in particular.