It was an auspicious dawn that winter. The Jain monk, respected Acharya Shantisuri maharaj saheb on his way to Tharapadpur had reached a village on foot. Due to entreaties from the village householders, a sermon was arranged. During the sermon, a celestial being named Nagini started dancing. Acharya saheb put some scented sandal dust hallowed by holy incantations (vasakshep) on her in order to make her sit at an appropriate place. She settled down thereafter. Thus whenever this celestial goddess used to start dancing, Acharya saheb used to put the sanctified sandal dust on her to make her move from the inappropriate to appropriate seating place. Once though, for whatever reason, Acharya saheb forgot putting the sanctified sandal dust on her when she was dancing and therefore she could not settle into an appropriate place. Who can stop the perpetual movement of the time cycle? Time continued to lapse that day.. it was morning and then noon, then evening.. finally at night when Acharya saheb was in deep meditation and trying to contemplate on the supreme soul, just then the celestial goddess entered the temporary residence of the Acharya to reprimand him for the suffering she had to go through as she was left hanging high up in the air since morning due to Acharya saheb’s failure to put the sanctified sandal dust on her.
While Acharya saheb was attempting to attain internal illumination by meditating deeply and contemplating on the supreme soul, a mystical mound of bright light seemed to suddenly enter the place where he was meditating. Seeing a ravishing figure enter along with the mound of light, Acharya saheb asked the student monk, “Oh sage! Has any lady entered this place?” At that time, the noble monk replied, “Oh teacher! I do not know.”
Right then, the gorgeous celestial goddess said, “Because I did not receive the sanctified sandal dust from your compassionate self, I was left hanging high and that caused immense pain to my lotus feet. An erudite scholar like you also suffered from a lapse of memory and missed putting the sandal dust on me! Using the power of my intellect, I can deduce from this that your compassionate self does not have more than six months to live. Therefore, I have come here today to request your dexterous self to delegate the responsibilities of future administration of your entire clan to a capable soul and completely occupy yourself in deep exploration of the soul.” Having uttered these divine words, the mystical figure vanished.
The next day morning, respected Acharya saheb gathered all the noble souls of his clan along with the entire Jain community and engaged in a discussion with them to ensure appropriate future management and consequently, 32 potential capable candidates were identified. Of these, 3 learned Jain monks were then anointed with the third position from the five-fold hierarchy of religious authorities worthy of veneration i.e. with the designation of Acharya. These three noble souls were: 1) Respected Acharya Veersuri 2) Respected Acharya Shalibhadrasuri and 3) Respected Acharya Sarvadevsuri maharaj saheb. They shone with extraordinary radiance due to the ornamental glow of piousness emitting from their vows, making them look like the three gems of Jainism (right knowledge, right belief, right conduct).
Owing to the enormous righteous merit Acharya Shantisuri maharaj saheb had gathered through several years of incredible servitude to the Lord and Jainism, he now had an earnest desire at the dusk of his life to devote the remaining best period of his life to experience the soul. One after the other, precious ideas were emanating from his thought process. And one such thought that became substantial was that of Girnar. He thought it would be ideal to spend the last days of his life and carry out the final contemplations in the illustrious mountain shrine of Girnar as that was the pious land where innumerable Tirthankar Lords have attained salvation in the past, will attain liberation in the future; and additionally, it is also the place where the 22nd Tirthankar of the current cycle of 24 Tirthankars, child celibate Lord Neminath renounced the world, attained omniscience and eventually salvation. It is also the place where many devotees have carried out deep contemplation and meditation.
Thus Acharya saheb departed on his way to Raivatgiri, desirous of being in a place which had become pious due to the renunciation, enlightenment and salvation of infinite Tirthankar Lords. Accompanying him was Sodh, the son of a Jain householder named Yash. The villages on the way to Raivatgiri were blessed to have his pious presence and owing to an expedited and therefore difficult journey on foot, he soon reached the cool environs of Raivatgiri. Upon reaching, he ascended the mountain and feasted his eyes which became pious with the sighting of Lord Neminath. Acharya saheb commenced a tremendous effort to burn the toxic creepers of karma that cause the cycle of birth & death by using the blazing flame of meditative power derived from deep contemplation of Lord Neminath. Becoming oblivious to hunger, thirst and sleep, he surmounted the highest peaks in experiencing the soul and eventually after 25 days into his fast unto death, on Tuesday, the 9th day of the first half of the month of Jeth in the Vikram Samvat year 1096 while the skies bore the Kruttika constellation, the erudite scholar Shantisuri maharaj saheb, who was an exemplary influence on Jainism, left for his journey towards salvation in the refuge of the Lord of Girnar, Lord Neminath.