Globally Acclaimed Master of Memory, Guinness Record for Fastest Speaker
A normal human mind can recall around 8-10 events sequentially. According to ancient Indian literature, few saints and scholars could remember upto 100. But in the year 2014, Jain Muni Ajitchandrasagarji (Munishri) stumped everyone when he successfully memorised and recalled 500 questions posed by an audience in ascending, descending and random order, earning the divine status of an ‘Ardha-SahasrAvdhani’.
24-year-old Munishri performed this feat in front of 10,000 people at the NSCI Stadium in Mumbai, with lakhs watching live on television. Among the many dignitaries present were seven High Court judges, Prakash Mehta-Industry Minister of Maharashtra, Jayawantiben Mehta-Ex Union Power Minister, V.N. Dhoot- Chairman of Videocon Group, Bharat Shah-Diamond King, Subodh Kumar-Ex Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai, etc. More than 100 Jain Sadhu and Sadhviji also sat on the dais.
Spectators were given pen and paper so they could write down the questions in sequence and judge Munishri’s skill for themselves. They could include complicated questions about mathematics and history, and not just matters of faith. After the surreal demonstration, Mohit Shah- Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, honoured Munishri and presented him with a letter of acknowledgement on the official government letterhead.
The most interesting part? Munishri would go on to remember the 500 questions, in order, for the following six months! Such a rare historic event had been achieved after a span of 500 years in history, with articles appearing as far as New York (NY Times) and France. As for Munishri, this was routine, and he went back to his daily ritual of study right after the event.
“It takes years of meditation to hone this skill. As soon as a question is posed to me, it permeates from the conscious to the subconscious mind, and then enters the soul. When it is time to recount the answer, I draw it out by reversing the process,” he explains.
According to Jain literature, the ‘Shatavdhan’ is the prized ability to remember 100 things or more. In this, the challenger must recall 100 questions posed by onlookers, and repeat the questions and answers in ascending or descending order. Such achievements were demonstrated among other historical figures by Shrimad Rajchandra Ji in 1887 and Shri Dhirajlal Tokershi Shah in 1957. A previous challenge of 1,000 questions is believed to have been accomplished by another Jain monk, Muni Sunder Suriswarji Maharaj Saheb, in the court of Raja Bhoj 500 years ago, earning him the title of ‘Sahasravdhani’.
The Shatavdhan is not just inherent genius, but an acquired talent through renunciation, deep meditation and devotion to Goddess Saraswati. Munishri began this process when he was just 10 years old. Born in 1988 in the Unjha village of Gujarat, he began his spiritual education at the age of 10 under the guidance of his guru – Acharya Shree Naychandrasagarji Maharaj (Gurudev). At the age of 12, he renounced the world and took ‘diksha’.
“Initially, my memory was not as sharp. Gurudev used to say, ‘If you take so much time to memorise, how long will you take to remember the Agam granths?’ Thus he began my Saraswati Sadhana. I practiced it for 21 days, 51 days and 108 days, till I took a maun vrat (vow of silence) for 7 years to study and meditate. I could feel my mind becoming sharper with each passing day,” recalls Munishri.
As a quick learner and dedicated student, soon Munishri was easily memorising 4 pages of the Agam granths everyday, that too in ancient Pali language. He memorised 22 Agam (out of 45 Agam of Jain Holy Scripture) which consisted of more than 24,000 Shlokas. This was also the first time he heard about the ‘Shatavdhan Parampara’. After years of 64 VOL03 ISSUE09 | COLLECTOR’S EDITION JANUARY 2022 cultivating the Power of Mind and Memory, he could not resist the challenge of the superior feat.
His first attempt took place at Town Hall in Ahmedabad, in the presence of then Governor, Nawal Kishore Sharma, Magician K Lal, and Chief Justice of High Court, Kantilal Kunj, who awarded him the status of ‘Shatavdhani’ on 16th November, 2009. In 2012, he repeated this feat in Mumbai by accomplishing a ‘Mahashatavadhan’ (200 questions) along with ‘Samyukta Avadhana’ (multi tasks) in the presence of corporate stalwarts such as Dilip Shanghavi, Azim Premji, Hinduja brothers, etc.
At the same event, there were also people from the Guinness Book of Records, who judged him the 2nd fastest speaker in the world! While the first place is held by a man in Africa who can speak 24 words in a second, Munishri himself can speak 17 words per second, making him the fastest speaker in Asia.
At a deeper level, the objective of these events was to showcase the unlimited powers of the soul, and inspire people to unlock their latent strengths. Some industry leaders such as Padma Shri Dr Sudhir Shah (neurologist), Dr Anil Gupta of IIM Ahmedabad, and ISRO scientists Dr Narendra Bhandari and Dr Surendra Singh Pokharna, raised a query – ‘How can this performance benefit the student community and society?’
Telling us how Saraswati Sadhana used to be a regular practise in old Gurukuls, Munishri says, “We decided to scientifically test the benefits of Saraswati Sadhana. We selected 100 students from the HB Kapadia school in Ahmedabad and put 50 of them through the process of Sadhana for 100 days. At the end of 100 days, when we tested their brain and memory recall, there was a marked improvement in those who had done Sadhana.”
Munishri reached Mumbai next and met with Dr Paresh Doshi of Jaslok Hospital and Dr Ramesh Patankar, both of whom suggested reducing the Sadhana time to under 40 days. Once again, Munishri led a research of 100 students and once again, results indicated that even a minimised Sadhana of 20 minutes for 36 days increased the power of the mind.
Once they realised that students practising Sadhana were cracking even the IAS and CA exams, Munishri, with the blessings of his Gurudev, established the Saraswati Sadhana Research Foundation (SSRF) to shape the minds of Young India for increasing their memory power, concentration and overall IQ level, thereby strengthening their intellectual and moral framework. The SSRF has organised many Saraswati Sadhna shibirs (discourses) in various cities of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi, and has trained more than 50,000 students.
A modern day Pioneer of Saraswati Sadhana, Munishri says that the SSRF also researches different ways of Sadhana such as mantra bowls, meditation cards, music meditation, among others.
So absolute is his focus, that he can also perform the ‘Darshanavadhana’ (Avadhana using eyes) and ‘Ganitavadhana’ (mathematics). Having proven his mastery in front of a global audience, the Universidad Azteca of Mexico bestowed him with a Honorary degree of Doctor of Advanced Studies (DAS) ‘Theology’ in 2020.
Yet just in his 30s, we can only imagine the feats Munishri will conquer in the years to come. In the meanwhile, his goal is only one: “We walk from city to city with the sole aim of spreading sanskaar (values) in people. After that, whether a person becomes a leader or a follower doesn’t matter, as they would still be an asset to the society.”