Article: Rājacandra

Contributed by Jérôme Petit

Later life and death

The influence of the 19th-century mystic, poet and reformer Rājacandra is still strong. A lay man who practised a highly ascetic lifestyle, Rājacandra is revered as a saint, with followers claiming that he laid out a new non-sectarian path

Śrīmad Rājacandra
Image by unknown © public domain

In the later part of his life, Rājacandra preferred to stay away from Mumbai, living with his disciples and friends in Gujarat. He spent a year in Idar in Jain circles, teaching during meetings, and testing his intellectual and spiritual faculties with seven veteran monks.

When Rājacandra was 34, some monks invited him to take the vows of an ascetic but, though he had attained high levels of spirituality, he decided not to. He preferred to be a lay man who had attained samādhi within the constraints of secular life, acting as an example to the lay community.

By 1900 his health was deteriorating. When he was staying in Dharampur, Gujarat, his strength ebbed away as he became extremely thin and weak. On 9 April 1901, Rājacandra passed away in Rajkot, Gujarat, surrounded by family, friends and close disciples.


Rājacandra left numerous writings. Starting in his childhood, while in his shop and the different ashrams where he lived at different times, he had written throughout his life. His writings took the form of letters to friends, a diary, poems, and religious and philosophical treatises, all in Gujarati.

The 'Mokṣamālā'

Composed within three days when Rājacandra was 16, the Mokṣamālā offers lessons in gaining philosophical knowledge and practising 'right conduct' according to the Jain way of life.

The text is written in such simple language that everyone can read it, including children. The text features 108 lessons in a rosary of 108 pearls, each dealing with the main principles of Jainism. These discuss:

They advise how to act with right conduct in daily life.

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