This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. (December 2015)
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Tapa Gaccha is a Gaccha (monastic order) among the Shvetambara Jain monks. It was founded by Acharya Jagatchandra Suri in Vikram Samvat 1285 (1228 AD) who was given the title of "Tapa" (i.e., the meditative one) by the ruler of Mewar. It was a branch of the Brihad Gaccha founded by Udyotan Suri. Vijaydevsuri (1600–1657 AD) is considered one of major leader of lineage. This title was applied to the group.
Under Vijayanandsuri's leadership and other monks, Shwetambara Murtipujak Conference was established in 1893 which reformed mendicant as well as lay religious practices. As a result of this reform, most Shwetambara Jain monks today belong to Tapa Gaccha.
Denominations Tapa Gachha is divided in different 21 samuday or orders. There are some differences between them in relation to rituals but they do not have differences about scriptures. Some of these differences include Tithi (calendar date), veneration of gurus, pilgrimage of Palitana during monsoon and Santikaram chanting on chaturdasi. Ramchandrasuri of Premsuri order opposed two senior ascetic leaders, Sagaranand and Nemisuri, who held the view that religious ritual date should not be omitted or held twice in calendar. In 1935, on Samvatsari, the last day of Paryushan, Ramchandrasuri order observed it on different day. So two schools of thought in relation to date issue of Jain calendar was erupted, Ek tithi paksh or 'one day fraction' and be tithi paksh or 'two days fraction'. Ek tithi is followed by seventeen orders while be tithi is followed by three orders. Shantichandra order is divided into both these schools of thought. Anandji Kalyanji Trust which manages 1200 Jain temples, attempted several times to resolve the issue but did not succeed. In 1986, Ramchandrasuri order was formally separated from Premsuri order.. Atam Vallabh Samudai has persisted with the progressive stance enunciated by Guru Atam and followed and expanded by Guru Vallabh. Major changes brought about have been in respect of progressive and broad outlook, embracing Lok - Kalyan work of setting up education and health care and other institutions for social needs, removal of orthodoxy and simplicity in the rituals and customs. At present Gachhadhipati Acharya Shri Vijay Nityanand Suri Ji is carrying forward the Atam Vallabh Mission with Sewa (service), Sangathan (Organisation), Shiksha (Education), Swawlamban (Self Reliance) and Saitya Prakashan (publishing and dissemination of Jain literature) as the focal issues. There is also an issue regarding veneration of gurus using Vasshkep, a powder of sandalwood used for worship, between these two fractions. Be tithi fraction believe that Guru or Acharya should be venerated by Navangi Guru Poojan, spreading powder on nine points of body while Ek tithi fraction believe that it should be spread on one point of body,Akangi Guru Poojan.. Both fractions differ on pilgrimage of Palitana temples on mount Shatrunjay by lay persons during rainy season. Orders of Tapa Gaccha
Orders of Tapa Gaccha
In Samvat 1942 (1886 CE), Acharya Shri Vijayanandsuri, also known as Atmararamji, was initiated as Acharya at Palitana after a gap of 262 years in the presence of more than 35000 people. He was responsible for reviving the wandering orders among the Shvetambara monks as well as re-establishing the original tenets of Jainism especially the Idol Worship in Jain Temples and prioritizing study and dissemination of Jain literature. His disciple Acharya Shri Vijay Vallabhsuri stressed on education in Jains and focused on establishment of educational, social and religious institutions, eradication of orthodoxy, encouraging Jains to take part in Government and Administration, and preservation and publication of Jain literature. His five point mission Sewa (Service), Sangathan (Organisation), Shiksha (Education), Sadharmik Utkarsh (amelioration of distressed co-brethren), Sahitya Prachar & Prakashan (propagation and publication of Jain Literature) is popularly known as Atam- Vallabh Mission and being followed and implemented by a large number of his followers. After Vallabhsuri, Samudrasuri was appointed as the leader of order, Pattadhar, followed by Indradinsuri. Indradinsuri appointed Ratnakarsuri in the year 2000. In 2004, Ratnakar Suri expelled a large number of Acharyas and Monks from the Atam Vallabh Order after which the Chaturvid Shrisangh, composed of Jain Sadhus, Sadhwis, Shrawaks and Shrawikas in one of its largest congregation in 2005, anointed Acharya Shri Nityanand Surishwer Ji as the Kramik Patdhar of Atam – Vallabh – Samudra – Inderdin order at Vallabh Smarak, Delhi. The Patdhar Padwi was bestowed upon Shri Nityanand Suri Ji with the blessings of the senior most Jain Acharya of the Atam Vallabh order at that time - Acharya Shri Vijay Janak Chandra Suri Ji, in the presence of other Jain Acharyas - Shri Dharam Dhurander Suri Ji, Shri Virendra Suri Ji, Shri Vasant Suri Ji and a large number of Sadhus, Sadhwis, Shrawak, Shrawikas. Subsequently, during the Chaturmas at Samana, the Chaturvid Shrisangh conferred the title of Gachhadhipati to Shri Vijay Nityanand Suri Ji. Recently after the death of Shri Ratnakar Suri Ji in a road accident on 23rd December 2014, Vijay Dharm Dhurandhar Suri Ji has been declared as his Patdhar. Incidentally, Acharya Vijay Nityanad Suri & Acharya Dharam Dhurander Suri are real brothers; Acharya Nityanand Suri was conferred Acharya Padwi in 1993 by Acharya Inderdin Suri Ji and Acharya Dharam Dhurander Suri was conferred Acharya Padwi in 1996 by Acharya Janak Chandra Suri Ji on the instructions of Acharya Inderdin Suri Ji. Presently, Acharya Nityanand Suri is the seniormost Acharya of the Atma - Vallabh order.
After taking over the reins of Atam – Vallabh order in 2005, Acharya Nityanand Suri has travelled the length and breadth of India – from Jammu to Chennai and from Kachh to Kolkata and with his inspiration, a large number of Jain Temples, Pilgrimage centres, educational institutions, hospitals and public welfare projects have been completed / consecrated and many new projects including refurbishing of ancient Jain pilgrimage places is underway. Acharya Nityanand Suri is the senior most Acharya in the Atam Vallabh order and to him goes the credit of carrying forward the Atam – Vallabh mission. This year being Golden Jubilee year of Gachhadhipati Acharya Vijay Nityanand Suri's diksha, elaborate celebrations have been planned under the aegis of Akhil Bhartiya Shri Atma Vallabh Jain Mahasangh at Vallabh Smarak, Delhi.
Another disciple of Atmaramji, Premsuri was also prominent leader. Premsuri order is the largest order of all having nearly 2200 monks and nuns. His disciples Ramchandrasuriand Bhuvanbhanusuri were major leaders of this lineage. Ramchandrasuri differed on date issue in Jain calendar, Be Tithi. His order has around 1400 monks and nuns. Hembhushansuri headed this order until recently.
Bhuvanbhanu order have around 900 monks and nuns. Jayghoshsuri is the current leader of Bhuvanbhanu order. Others Other major orders are Sagar Samuday and Nemisuri Samuday. List • Atam - Vallabh Samuday (presently led by Acharya Vijay Nityanand Suri Ji) • Prem-Ramchandrasuri (total monks and nuns 1401) • Prem-Bhuvanbhanu suri (total monks and nuns 972) • Anandsagarsuri (Sagar Samuday) (total monks and nuns 847) • Nemisuri (Shasan Samrat) (total monks and nuns 581) • Kanaksuri (Vagad Samuday) (total monks and nuns 634) • Nitisuri (total monks and nuns 465) • Siddhisuri (Bapji Maharaj Samuday) (total monks and nuns 446) • Dharmasuri-Ramsuri Dahelavala (total monks and nuns 331) • Bhaktisuri (total monks and nuns 325) • Labdhisuri (total monks and nuns 292) • Kesharsuri (total monks and nuns 228) • Dharmasuri-Kanakratna Suri (total monks and nuns 247) • Himachal Suri (total monks and nuns 136) • Buddhisagarsuri (total monks and nuns 120) • Shantichandra Suri (total monks and nuns 225) Be tithi order • Shantichandta Suri (total monks and nuns 207) Ek tithi order • Mohanlalaji (total monks and nuns 41) • Amratsuri (total monks and nuns 29)
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