The Ponnur Hills Tapo Bhumi Nilayam Teerth Kshetra is more then 2000 years ancient Kshetra, situated in Tiruvannamalai District of Tamilnadu State and is surrounded by natural beauty. This place is Tapo Bhumi of great & brilliant Digamber Jain ‘Acharya Bhagawat Kund Kund Dev’.
This is the only sacred place where Acharya Kund Kund practiced for penance, practiced for self-recognition & purification. From here Acharya Kund Kund went to ‘Videh Kshetra’ in Samavsharana of present ‘Teerthankar Bhagwan Simandhar’. They stayed there up to seven days & nights and got benefits of spiritual precepts (Divya Dhwani). After returning from there, they wrote ‘Panch Paramagamas’ called as “Dwiteeya Shruta Skandha”, this includes the great texts of real philosophy of world named: – ‘Samay Sara’, ‘Pravachan Sara’, ‘Niyam Sara’, ‘Ashta Pahud’ & ‘Panchastikaya Samgraha’. The first three of five are also known as “Prabhrit Trayee”.
This is said that these Pancha Paramagamas were written at Ponnur Hills. Innate Disposition (Nature) of matter & soul, inter relationship & reality of such relations between two matters and path of salvation has been described logically & thoroughly in these texts. First of all these texts gives the knowledge of reality of worldly relations, uniqueness & pureness of soul and about infinite characteristics & qualities of soul. These texts motivates the reader to accept ‘Ratna Traya’ (Right Faith, Right Knowledge & Right Conduct) in his life and thus to follow the path of salvation.
Acharya Kund Kund: Acharya Kund Kund were born at the place named – ‘Kond Kund Pur’ of south India. In early child hood they were too brilliant. Sentiments of affectionlessness were so powerful in them, that they accepted Muni Deeksha (Asceticism) in simply 12 years of age. They were reverenced as Acharya of Muni Sangha in the age of 44 years.
They were so great that later on all the Acharyas took their name with great faith & honor. In an invocatory prologue (Managlacharan) Acharya Kund Kund’s name is placed at 3rd number after Bhagwan Mahaveer & Gautam Ganadhara. English version of that prologue is as below: –
“Mangalam Bhagwan Veero, Mangalam Gautamo Gani |
Mangalam ‘Kund Kundaryo’, Jain Dharmostu Mangalam ||”
This shows the greatness & importance of Acharya Kund Kund among Jains.
‘Acharya Jin Chandra’ were the Deekshaguru of Acharya Kund Kund. Due to the greatness of Tapa (Penance) & asceticism Acharya Kund Kund got ‘Charan Riddhi’ (The power of moving in the sky / air over the earth). With the help of this Charan Riddhi, they went to ‘Videha Kshetra’ in the ‘Samavsharan’ of present ‘Teerthankar Bhagwan Simandhar’. After returning from there they wrote ‘Pancha Paramagamas’ – the great texts of real philosophy, describing the nature of soul & other matters, Ratna Traya & path of salvation.
‘Baras Anuvekkha’, ‘Parikarma’ (a commentary on ‘Shatkhandagama’ – the great text of ‘Karananuyoga’), ‘Bhakti Samgraha’ etc. are other creations of Acharya Kund Kund.
Acharya Kund Kund were famous by five names: – (i) Kund Kund, (ii) Padma Nandi, (iii) Elacharya, (iv) Griddhapichhacharya & (v) Vakragreevacharya.
Once Acharya Kund Kund went on pilgrimage of Girinar Hill (the salvation place of Bhagwan Neminath & others) with their 594 scholars. At that time Swetambar Acharya Shri Shukla were also present there for pilgrimage. Both the Acharyas with their Sangha were keen to travel first than other. So they decided to debate and goddess Ambica was appointed as Judge. Debate between both Acharyas took place, argument & counter arguments were given, at the end. Goddess Ambica declared the truthness of Digambar Jain Dharma and after it, pilgrimage of Acharya Kund Kund with their 594 scholars took place first.
From that very time Samgha of Acharya Kund Kund was called ‘Mool Sangha’. Up to today all Digambar Jain Acharyas & Munies feel proud in declaring themselves in the tradition of Acharya Kund Kund.
Because of wisdom & great spiritual knowledge Acharya Kund Kund are also called ‘Kali Kal Sarvagya’ (Person having knowledge of all things of world related to all times – present, past, future).
Acharya Kund Kund, at one hand described the real philosophy – way of one’s enlightenment (Aatmanubhooti) is their texts, on other hand he also apposed strictly the looseness in conduct of Munies (saints). ‘Shri Ashta Pahud’ is the text that described the right conduct of Munies.
‘Acharya Umaswami / Umaswati,’ the principal scholar of Acharya Kund Kund, were also great Acharya as per their Guru. They wrote the first text of Jain Literature in Sanskrit Language called – ‘Tattwartha Sootra’ or ‘Moksha Shastra’. Moksha Shastra is honored in both sects of Jains – Digambar & Shwetambar.
Later on various Acharyas & Scholars have remembered Acharya Kund Kund with great honor & faith for their work. Acharya Devsen, Acharya Shubha Chandra, great poet Vrindavandas, Gurudeo Shri Kahanji Swami and many more praised Acharya Kund Kund in their texts & precepts. Petrographs of Vindhya Giri & Chandra Giri Hills are the proofs of great repute and devotion of Jains in them.