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Acharya Vidhyasagar's emphasis on duties important for building Viksit Bharat: PM Modi

The prime minister especially urged the future generations to study extensively about Acharya Vidhyasagar Maharaj's commitment to nation building.

Acharya Vidhyasagars emphasis on duties important for building Viksit Bharat: PM Modi
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PM Modi & Acharya Shri  Vidhyasagar (PTI)

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid rich tributes on Wednesday to Jain seer Acharya Shri 108 Vidhyasagar, who died earlier this week, and said his life was a spiritually-rich epoch graced with profound wisdom, boundless compassion and an "unwavering commitment to uplift humanity".

In an article penned as a tribute to the Jain seer, Modi said Sant Shiromani Acharya Shri 108 Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji attained "samadhi" and left everyone saddened.

The prime minister said he had the honour of receiving the seer's blessings on numerous occasions.

"Thus, I feel a deep sense of loss, akin to losing a guiding light that has illuminated the path for countless souls, including myself. His warmth, affection and blessings were not just gestures of goodwill but profound transmissions of spiritual energy, empowering and inspiring all those fortunate enough to have come in contact with him," Modi said.

"His life is a spiritually-rich epoch graced with profound wisdom, boundless compassion and an unwavering commitment to uplift humanity," he said.

The prime minister especially urged the future generations to study extensively about Acharya Vidhyasagar Maharaj's commitment to nation building.

"He would always urge people to rise above any partisan considerations and instead, focus on national interest. He was one of the strongest votaries of voting because he saw it as an expression of participation in democratic processes," he said.

"He advocated healthy as well as clean politics, even saying that policy making has to be about people's welfare, not self-interest (Lokneeti is about Loksangrah not Lobhsangrah)," the prime minister wrote in his article.

Acharya Vidhyasagar Maharaj believed that a strong nation is built on the foundation of its citizens' commitment to their duties towards themselves, their families, the society and the country, he noted.

"He encouraged individuals to cultivate virtues such as honesty, integrity and self-reliance, which he saw as essential for the creation of a just, compassionate and thriving society. This emphasis on duties is of great importance as we work towards building a Viksit Bharat," the prime minister asserted.

Acharya Vidhyasagar Maharaj breathed his last on Sunday at Chandragiri Teerth in Dongargarh in Chhattisgarh's Rajnandgaon district after undertaking "sallekhna".

"Sallekhna" is a Jain religious practice involving voluntary fasting unto death for spiritual purification, a statement from the teerth said.

In his article, Modi said, "Pujya Acharya Ji will always be remembered as a Triveni of wisdom, compassion and service. He was a true Tapasvi, whose life epitomised the ideals of Bhagwan Mahavir."

"His life exemplified the core principles of Jainism, embodying its ideals through his own actions and teachings. His care towards all living beings mirrored Jainism's profound respect for life," the prime minister said.

Modi said Acharya Vidhyasagar Maharaj lived a life of truthfulness, reflecting Jainism's emphasis on honesty in thoughts, words and deeds.

"He also led a very simple lifestyle. It is due to stalwarts like him that the world continues to be inspired by Jainism and the life of Bhagwan Mahavir. He stood tall among the Jain community but his impact and influence were not limited to only one community," Modi said.

People across faiths, regions and cultures came to him and he worked tirelessly towards spiritual awakening, particularly among youngsters, the prime minister said.

Modi noted that education was an area that was very close to Acharya Vidhyasagar Maharaj's heart.

"His journey from Vidhyadhar (his childhood name) to Vidhyasagar was one of deep commitment to acquiring and imparting knowledge. It was his firm belief that education is the cornerstone of a just and enlightened society," Modi said.

The Jain seer championed the cause of knowledge as a means to empower individuals, enabling them to lead lives of purpose and contribution, he added.

His teachings emphasised the importance of self-study and self-awareness as the pathways to true wisdom, urging his followers to engage in lifelong learning and spiritual growth, Modi noted.

"At the same time, Sant Shiromani Acharya Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji wanted our youngsters to get an education that is also rooted in our cultural ethos. He often said that it was because we drifted away from the learnings of the past that we were not able to find solutions to key challenges like water scarcity," he said.

In an era where environmental degradation is rampant the world over, Acharya Vidhyasagar Maharaj called for a way of life that would minimise the harm being inflicted on nature, Modi said.

"The beauty of our land is that for thousands of years, our soil has produced greats who have shown light to others and made our society better," he said, adding that the Jain seer stands as a towering figure in this illustrious lineage of saints and social reformers.

"Whatever he did, he did not just for the present but also the future. In November last year, I had the opportunity to visit the Chandragiri Jain Mandir in Dongargarh in Chhattisgarh. Little did I know that this visit would be my last meeting with Pujya Acharya Ji. Those moments were very special," the prime minister said.

"He spoke to me for a long time, blessing me for my efforts in serving the nation. He expressed joy on the direction our nation is taking and the respect India is getting on the world stage," Modi recalled.

PTI
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