Samana : A New Category of Ascetics


In an effort to bring the ascetic order more in congruence with modem society and its conditions, Acharya Shri Tulsi decided to create a class of mendicants, which would fall somewhere between the category of lay followers (Shravaks or Shravikas) and monks (Sadhus) or nuns ( Sadhvis) with respect to renunciation. This category of Samans and Samanis was established on 11th Nov. 1980. Through the creation of this new cadre of 'semi-ascetics' well-trained in Jain philosophy and practicing a life of almost complete renunciation, who can travel freely throughout India and abroad to spread the message of non-violence, a revolutionary change was brought about in the field of propagation of religion. This cadre has to renounce the worldly life and march on the path of spiritual development. It is exempt from some deportments of the Jain ascetice, such as, not to accept alms specially prepared for them, travelling on foot, uprooting hair from head and face, etc.. Since its inception, over two decades ago, this category has been tremendously successful in its mission both within and outside India. So far, more than 125 men and women have accepted this Samana initiation. Out of them, twenty five have been promoted to become initiated into the order of monks and nuns. At present, the number of Samanis is more the 100. Some boys and girls (and even a few foreigners) had taken Saman/Samani initiation for a specific and limited time. The progress of the Saman Category is due to the successful leadership of Gandhipati Tulsi and Acharya Shri Mahaprajnaji. Sadhvi Vishrut Vibhaji is specially deputed under Sadhvi Pramukha Kanak Prabhaji to look after the activities of Samanis. 

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