Monday, November 16, 2009

Bahushruta Jain monk Muni Jambuvijayaji killed in a road accident


An E-mail from Shikhar Kochar, Chennai informed me of this sad incident. I reproduce the mail as it is.

Bahushruta Jain monk Muni Jambuvijayaji was killed in a road accident. His tragic death is deeply mourned.

In the morning of 12 November, 2009 Jambuvijayaji was traveling on foot along with other monks from Balotra in Rajasthan to Jaisalmer and they were hit by a speeding truck.  Two monks, Jambuvijayaji and Namaskarvijayaji died in the accident and others are seriously injured. Jambuvijayji was 87 years old.

I am deeply saddened to hear of this grave loss. Muni Jambuvijaya was a scholar in the tradition of Upadhyaya Yashovijaya. He was only interested in the Agamas and his work. He had no interest in sectarian politics, in building temples, etc. All he did was produce high class critical editions of the Agamas for the Mahavira Jain Vidyalaya series.

I have been fortunate enough to meet him in 2004. One of his students, Prof Dr Sin Fujinaga had taken me to meet him. We were in Ahmedabad as we were both presenting papers at the World Peace Conference there.

Dr Fujinaga took me to Koba and there we spent about 7 - 8 hours with pujya maharaj Shri Jambuvijayaji.

Jambuvijayaji was kind enough to spare a lot of time for us. He knew my great-grandfather, Pandit Nathuram Premi, very well and reminisced about his meetings with him. Fortunately for me, Shri Chitrabhanuji also arrived at about the same time to meet Jambuvijayaji. And since I am close to Chitrabhanuji, it was wonderful to spend the day in the august presence of such learned scholars.
We discussed several issues. Jambuvijayaji spoke of his tremendous reverence for Acarya Kundakunda, Acarya Pujyapada, Acarya Akalanka and Acarya Joindu and both Chitrabhanuji and Jambuvijayaji expressed their immense admiration for the Samayasara.

Jambuvijayaji spoke of the many occasions when he has visited Digambara Jain temples and said in a light vein. - 'Pitaji to pitaji hote hain, aankh lagaao to, nahiin lagaao to bhii.' (My father is my father, whether he is fitted with external eyes or not). He was referring to the Jinas, and saying that whether the Jina image was a Shvetambara image (with external eyes affixed to it) or a Digambara image (without external eyes affixed to it).

Both Jambuvijayaji and Chitrabhanuji, also, the Bandhu Triputi (Titthal) were all antevasi (direct) students of Acarya Prem Suri (of Pindwada). Acarya Prem Suri was one of the most important Jain monks of the 20th century. His students were all masterpieces.
Acarya Bhuvanabhanu Suri, Acarya Ram Suri, Acarya Jayaghosha Suri were all Gacchadhipatis. Jambuvijayaji, Chitrabhanuji, Acarya Jayasundara Suri, the Bandhu Triputi are all widely respected and learned scholars.

Jambuvijayaji was a student of Premi Suri and then became a student of Bhuvanabhanu Suri. I still retain with pride, my copy of JAIN DARSHAN by Dr Mahendrakumar Nyayacarya, autographed by Jambuvijayaji. I will treasure my meeting with him in Koba and am thankful to my friend Sin Fujinaga for having taken me there to meet him.

Jambuvijayaji was a credit to Jainism. He worked all his life to create critically edited volumes of the Agamas. After his death, I can only think of Shilacandra Suri who is doing this kind of work in Shvetambara murtipujaka parampara. There is no monk in the Digambara parampara who is doing this kind of critical editing work. I have hopes from the Shvetambara Terapanthi parampara. Hopefully, they will carry on this noble task of producing critically edited texts of all Agamic literature. It is a very crucial task and Jambuvijayaji, like Jinavijayaji and Punyavijayaji before him, stuck to this low profile task manfully.
His death is a blow to all of Indological studies, not just Jain studies. Eminent Western scholars of Jainism such as Prof Dr Padmanabh S Jaini, Prof Dr Nalini Balbir, Dr Paul Dundas, Prof Dr Phyllis Granoff, Prof Dr Willem Bollee, Prof Dr Adelheid Mette, Prof Dr John Cort, Prof Dr Sin Fujinaga, Prof Dr Olle Qvarnström, Dr Peter Fluegel, Dr Kornelius Kruempelmann, Dr Eva DeClercq and Dr Piotr Balcerowicz  will all be deeply saddened by this loss. As indeed is all of India.

I bow in reverence to his profound scholarship and remember with gratitude his kindness to me

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