(As published in Siddhachalam souvenir to mark Guruji’s birthday, June 16, 2004)

Conversation of Shri Madho Jain, a life trustee, with Jaipat S. Jain, a trustee

“Just as cakes become sweet when they are coated with sugar frosting, so do places in this world become holy and pure when a saint abides in them.”

– Nirvanbhakti verse 31, Vidhyadhara Joharapurakar, 1965.

Siddhachalam was a small but significant part of His Holiness Acharya Sushil Kumarji Maharaj’s life, and a very important part of the lives of Jains in America. Guruji (as he was lovingly addressed to by his followers) was a renowned muni in India before he embarked in 1975 on a controversial journey to the United States to spread the message of the Jinas and gather all Jains in a community. The founding in 1983 by him of Siddhachalam (“an abode of liberated souls”) in the proximity of the capital of the world as the first Jain ashram outside India was part of his grand vision of spreading the message of peace, non-violence and truth as enunciated by the Jinas and of giving to the Jains of America a forum and a picturesque tirth to come together.

Shri Madho Jain, a life trustee of Siddhachalam, in a conversation with Jaipat S. Jain, a trustee, relates the story of Siddhachalam from his personal experiences.

  1. One of the two major sects among the Swetambars. The other major sect is Murtipujak. Sthanakvasi reject idol worship, among other differences. Murtipujak, on the other hand, believe in idol worship.
  2. 2 Incidentally, Guruji was one of the members of the committee that oversaw the publication of Saman Suttam, the common teachings of all Jains. Saman Suttam was inspired by Vinoba Bhave and brings together the essence of Jain philosophy without regard to inter sect differences among the various Jain sects.