Noted Jain Muni Tarun Sagar passed away this morning in Delhi. He was 51. According to reports, the Jain Muni breathed his last at around 3 am at Radhapuri Jain Temple in Krishna Nagar of east Delhi. According to a DNA report, he was fighting a long battle with jaundice and had stopped medication, opting instead for Santhara – the Jain ritual of fasting to death. He was a hugely popular figure not only in the Jain community but outside as well.

The Jain Muni had hit headlines after Bollywood music composer Vishal Dadlani criticised him. Tarun Sagar, referred to as Maharaj ji by followers, was invited to address all Haryana state lawmakers in 2016. Dadlani was critical of the speech, suggesting that it reflected an unhealthy trend of religion colouring politics. “That dude has the same education, as he has clothes on. None. I’ve no problem with nudity. I have a problem with religion in governance,” Dadlani tweeted. “People actually trying to defend the colossal idiocy of some naked monk, addressing Haryana assembly, telling women how to live! UNREAL!,” he added.

He later deleted his comment on his Twitter handle and issued a public apology to Jains “and all others offended”. “I apologise again, to the Jain Community, & all others offended. But I beg you all not to support religion in governance, for India’s sake,” Dadlani said. Tarun Sagar accepted the apology and later told ANI that may be Dadlani does not know anything about the Jain monks, Jainism or their beliefs, adding that had he known about that, he would not have made such a comment. “He just knows that the Digambar Sadhus remain naked. He does not know about the Indian culture. Had he known about that, he would not have made such a comment. There is no question of apology as I am not angry with him. But the people of the society who respects me get hurt and they protest. Everyone should have the courage to say something which is wrong,” he added.

BJP Maheish Girri tweeted his condolences saying, “Woke up to shocking news of Pujya Tarun Sagar ji Maharaj taking Maha Samadhi in early hours today. I pay my tributes to the great saint and philosopher who inspired thousands to follow the path of truth, uprightness and nationalism.”

Union Minister Suresh Prabhu also tweeted and wrote, “Extremely sad,earn about untimely, unfortunate. Jain Muni Tarun Sagar’s passing away,early hours today. He was only 51years old.His short life will always be remembered for his rich contribution to society.Its personal loss to me, having known him very closely,blessed by him.”

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