Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kanji Swami

Kanji Swami (1889-1980) was a Jain scholar, philosopher and spiritual leader[1]. He was the founder of the Kanji Panth within the Digambar Jain tradition. He significantly influenced the practice of swadhyaya (study of texts) among the Jain laity.

He was initiated as a Sthanakvasi Jain monk at age 24[2]. He discovered the works of Pandit Todarmal and Samayasar of Acharya Kundakunda in 1932 which influenced him deeply.

In 1934 he started his own movement as a celibate Digambara layman scholar at Songarh in Gujarat. His lectures were recorded on tapes[3] and have been published. His emphasis was on on nishcaya naya, the higher level of truth, over vyavahara naya, ordinary life.

There are many legends about him. According to legends, he had personally been in the presence of Lord Simandhara Swami.

Kanji Swami panth has may followers in India, Africa and UK. They generally regard themselves simply as Digambar Jains following the tradition of Kundakunda [4]and Todarmal.