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Apr 8, 2008

Rajendra Suri

By Prof. Yaswant Malaiya

Abhidhana-Rajendra Kosh (Encyclopedia) was a outstanding achievement of the 19th century. It has become an inspiration and an example for Jain encyclopedia efforts in our time.
This text is widely consulted by Jain scholars. Ordinary Jains may not come across it, but it has significantly influenced study of Jainism.

The author, Rajendra Suri, belonged to the Tristutik (or Agamik) sect of the Svetambaras, originated by Shilaguna and Devabhadra Suri in 1193 AD. It is a small sect that is opposed to worship of minor gods etc.

He was born as Ratna Raj Parakh on VS 1833 (3rd December, 1827) in Bharatpur. He became a trader with his brother and lived in Srilanka for a while. He became a yati under Hemavijayaji at Udaipur in 1846 (vs1925). He became a reformer against the traditional life of many yatis then (use of chanwar, palkhi etc ) and gave up the "daftari" title.

He finished is Abhidhan-Rajendra Kosh, in vs1960. It was published in 9200 pages in 7 volumes. It took 13 years to write and 21 years to publish. He also wrote 13 other major texts. He passed away in Mohankhera (Rajagarha) in vs1963, on the same thithi he was born (paush shukla 7th). This day is celebrated as Guru Saptami by the Tristutik sect.

Mohankheda has become a tirtha because of the presence of Acharya Rajendra Suriji since vs 1940. He was also associated with Mandava, Svarnagiri, Talanapur tirthas.

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