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Acharya Shri Vidyasagar ji Maharaj (10 October 1946 – 18 February 2024) was an Indian Digambara Jain Acharya (Digambar Jain Monk). 

He was praised for his academic achievements and tappingasya (austerity). He was well-known for his lengthy hours of meditation

Although he was born in Karnataka and also took Diksha (undertook religious regimens) during his time in Rajasthan, the majority part of his time within the Bundelkhand area, which is where it is believed that he created a revival in religious and educational pursuits. 

He composed haiku poems and his famous Hindi poem “Mukamati”.Also popularly known in the Jain community as “Chote Baba” in the Jain community.

Childhood and early life of Vidyasagar Maharaj

Vidyasagar Maharaj Ji was born on October 10, 1946, during the festival of the full moon (Sharad Purnima) in Sadalga within the Belgaum district of Karnataka in the family of Kannada-speaking Jain family. The humble house in which he was born today is a temple as well as a museum.

His birth name was Vidyadhar. He was the fourth of four sons, with the oldest child being Mahavira Ashtage Ji, and the younger one being Anantanath Ji and Shantinath Ji.

As a young person, the boy enjoyed eating fresh butter, which was used to create Ghee (clarified butter). He did not need lots and was happy with what was offered to him. 

Vidyadhar would often visit temples and instruct his younger siblings about the principles of religion. He was known to call his siblings “Akka” (elder sister). He was always attentive and keen to study. When he had time off, he was a painter.

Initiation ( Diksha ) of Vidyasagar Maharaj ji

In 1968, Vidyasagar Maharaj ji was ordained as a Digambara monk, at the age of 22. He was initiated by Acharya GyansagarJi Maharaj. The latter was part of the lineage from Acharya ShantisagarJi Maharaj. 

They lived in Ajmer. MallappaJi’s father and mother ShrimatiJi and two sisters all took the diksha before joining in the sangha (community of the religious) from Acharya DharmasagarJi. 

His brothers all of them, Anantanath Ji and Shantinath Ji, Mahavir Ashtage ji followed his example and were ordained to the community by Acharya Vidyasagarji Maharaj as Muni Yogasagarji Maharaj and Muni Samaysagarji Maharaj, Muni Utkrastsh Sagarji Maharaj respectively.

The younger siblings Muni YogasagarJi Maharaj, and Muni Samaysagarji Maharaj embraced Bhramchrya Vrat and became Muni later on.

His older sister Mahavir Ashtage Ji got married and carried on the bloodline, however later, from 2023 onwards, he obtained the diksha of Acharya Shri and became Muni Utkarsh Sagarji Maharaj.

Ascetic Life ( Sanyas Jeevan ) of Vidyasagar Maharaj ji

Acharya Shri Vidyasagar Ji Maharaj set very strict rules to live an ascetic lifestyle. He never drank milk. He also ate no curd, green vegetables or dry fruits. He also only drank water every day, filling it up with his fingers. He would eat simple food items like dal and Roti. He travelled the country on his feet.

Samadhi Maran (Death) of Vidyasagar Maharaj

Vidyasagar Maharaj took Sallekhana (samadhi) on the 18th of February 2024, aged 77, at Chandragiri Tirth in Chhattisgarh’s Dongargarh.

The Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh Governments declared a half-day mourning day for Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj’s death. The Uttar Pradesh Governor and Chief Minister expressed condolences for his passing.

Acharya Title Jain Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj ji

Vidyasagar was elevated to Acharya position in the year 1972. The Acharyas were not allowed to eat sugar, salt and fruits, as well as milk and oil, nor ghee in addition to the foods that are typically forbidden (like onion). 

He ate dinner around 9:15 a.m.-10:00 a.m. From the Sravakas (lay candles). He ate once a day, in the palms of his hands, a bite at one time.

Vidyasagar lay either on the floor, or on a wooden platform, without a mattress or cushion. In his role as the Digambar monk, he was given a platform for his discourses. There was a raised wooden chair with no padding.

In 1999, the then the Prime of the country Atal Bihari Vajpayee made a stopover at Acharya Shree in his visit to the city of Gomatgiri Indore.

Inscription on the Parshvanath idol in Orchha informing about his lineage to Acharya Vidyasagar and Acharya Shantisagar. 

Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj ji is referred to as anasakta yoga, jyeshtha, shreshtha, the sant shiromani

Vidyasagar Maharaj visit by National and International Politician

Acharya Vidyasagarji’s Chaturmas (four-month stay) during 2016 was in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. 

There he was joined by 38 municipal officials. He delivered the Pravachana (reading) during the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly by an invitation by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in July 2016.

In 2016, on an excursion to Bhopal Premier Narendra Modi visited him. 

He also received a visit from the former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia of the opposing Congress Party, now in BJP.

Congress State President Kamal Nath paid an appearance to Acharya Ji during his trip to Jabalpur.

The Union Minister Uma Bharati paid a visit to Acharya Ji on the occasion of the completion of the 50th anniversary of his initiation in the Samyama Swapna Mahotsav festival. During the Guru Purnima celebration in the year 2018, Digvijay Singh was blessed with blessings from Acharya Vidyasagar Ji at Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh. 

In the year 2018, American ambassador Kenneth Juster visited Acharya Vidyasagar Ji. and promised him that he would adhere to an all-vegetarian diet for a single day per week. 

French diplomat Alexandre Ziegler visited Khajuraho with his family in the year 2018 and was “peaceful and blessed” after having a meeting with Acharya Vidyasagar Ji. He made a vow to become vegetarian.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced the State Guest honors of Vidyasagar Ji Maharaj. In this respect The UP Government also issued a protocol.

Indian Home Minister and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Ji received the blessings of Acharya Vidyasagar Ji at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla approved Acharya Vidyasagar Ji, with the promise of Hindi Promotion within the Legislature.

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat paid a visit to Acharya Ji during his visit where he spoke about various issues about the Promotion of the Hindi Language and handlooms were discussed.

Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath visited Acharya Ji and vowed to support the development of Hindi Language, Ayurveda and handloom.

The senior BJP chief Uma Bharti retired from politics with the blessings of Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj Ji”.

On the 4th of November, 2023 the Indian Premier Minister Narendra Modi accompanied him to Dongargarh to accept his blessings.


Samadhi (Death) of Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj 

The Acharya quit acharya-hood and took a sallekhna on the 14th of February, 2024  and breathed his last (Samadhi) on February 18, 2024, at 02:35 am on Chandragiri tirth in Dongargarh, Chhatisgarh. He had conferred his Acharya, the title of Niryapak Muni Samaysagar Maharaj on the 6th of February, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words of honor for Shri Vidyasagar ji Maharaj

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief on the death of Acharya Ji.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the countless devotees of Acharya Shri 108 Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji. 

He will be remembered by the coming generations for his invaluable contributions to society, especially his efforts towards spiritual awakening among people, his work towards poverty alleviation, healthcare, education and more..”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In the party’s National Convention 2024 in Delhi, Prime Minister Modi ji as well as Union Ministers, and Chief Ministers from states that are ruled by BJP and BJP leaders observed a minute of silence to mourn the loss of Acharya. Acharya as well as expressed condolences.

Works of Acharya Shri Vidyasagar Maharaj ji
  • Acharya Vidyasagar Ji was an expert in Sanskrit as well as Prakrit and had a wide range of languages, including Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Kannada and English.
  • He wrote in languages like Prakrit, Sanskrit, and Hindi. His works include Niranjana Shataka, Bhavana Shataka, Parishah Jaya Shataka, Suniti Shataka and Shramana Shataka.
  • He had composed nearly 700 unpublished haiku poems.
  • He composed The Hindi epic poem “Mukamati”.
  • It is included in the curriculum for Hindi MA programmes at various institutions.
  • It was transliterated to English through Lal Chandra Jain and was presented to Pratibha Patil, president of India.
  • A number of scholars have studied his work to prepare masters or doctoral degrees.
  • He established schools called Pratibhasthali Gyanodaya Vidhyapeeth to girls. They can learn important life lessons in addition to their academics.

His heritage & His customs of Vidyasagar ji Maharaj 

Acharya VidyasagarJi is part of the tradition that was established through Acharya ShantisagarJi. It is believed thatAcharya ShantisagarJi started Acharya VirasagarJi who was later succeeded by Acharya Shivsagar, Acharya GyansagarJi Acharya GyansagarJiand eventually Acharya VidyasagarJi.

Some of his followers are prominent scholars of their own. According to 2001, approximately 21% of the Digambar monks were disciples of Acharya VidyasagarJi.Muni SudhasagarJI as well as Muni PramansagarJi also are disciples.One among his best famous followers, Muni Kshamasagar ji, was awarded samadhi in 2015.

Acharya PushadantasagarJi the Guru of Muni Tarun Sagar Ji, was born as a Kshullak (junior monk) by Acharya VidyasagarJi however, the guru took muni diksha from Acharya Vimal SagarJi. Upadhyaya GuptisagarJi received the muni Dharma in 1982 under Acharya VidyasagarJi, but he then joined the sangha (community) of Acharya VidyanandJi.


Acharya Vidyasagarji is an inspiration to people who founded institutions to provide their welfare in various locations.

The number of monks ( munis) and nuns ( aryikas) that he has directed and initiated is more than 200 (117 Digambar Muni, 172 Aryikas) and they reside throughout more than 60 places within India throughout Chaturmas which span across Gujarat to Jharkhand and Haryana from Haryana to Karnataka. This ensures that just a few monks or nuns stay in one location.

Acharya Shree Vidyasagarji Maharaj, a member of the Digambar Muni Tradition is the sole Acharya of India who has offered 505 Muni, Aryika, Ailak, and Kshulak initiations so far. Names like Acharyashree the Kunthu Maharaj are next, he has offered 325 initiations to date.

He wanders ( Vihara) of Acharya Shri Vidyasagar ji Maharaj

Acharya Vidyasagar, who is leading the sangha during his vihara the passers-by kneel with reverence

As in the traditional Digambara Jain monastery, Acharya Vidyasagarji was never at a single place for longer than a couple of days, except for his four-month period of wet time ( Chaturmas). He did not declare which place he’d be going to next even though people attempted to predict the next destination. After his initiation in 1968, the monk had Seven chaturmas throughout Rajasthan (1968-74)

One within Uttar Pradesh (1974); seven in Madhya Pradesh (1976-1982); one in Jharkhand (1983) and nine from Madhya Pradesh again (1984-1992) Two from Maharashtra (1993-94) and one located in Madhya Pradesh (1995); one in Gujarat (1996) 11 more times from Madhya Pradesh (1997-2007); another within Maharashtra (2008) in Maharashtra (2008); and eight more from Madhya Pradesh (2009-2016).

The anniversary of his 50th Diksha was observed in many cities across India with a parade and celebration during July 2018. On this day, memorial columns ( Swarna Kirti Stambha) were constructed within Ajmer, Rewa, Sravanbelgola and many other places.

May we all get blessings of Reserved Gurudev Acharya Shri 108 Vidyasagar ji Maharaj.

Love & Light,

Nirav Hiingu