The monk – based at Jain Sangh in the Juhu Scheme area of Mumbai – took diksha at the age of 13.
In the past two decades of his life as a monk, Acharya Hansranasuri has spent a total of 12 years fasting, said his disciples.
“As per Jain scriptures, Lord Mahavir fasted for 180 days twice. Acharya Vijay Hansratnasuri is the only Jain monk who has fasted for 180 days five times. He will complete it for the sixth time on September 11,” his disciple Muni Padma Kalash told TOI.
He said it was a rare instance of continuous fasting by a Shwetambar Jain monk.
“He sleeps only for 2.5 hours a day, and the rest of the day, he sits meditating without any back support. He drinks two litres of boiled water during the day and gains nourishment and energy by absorbing sunlight,” Muni Padma Kalash said. During the pandemic lockdowns, the monk twice completed 180 days of continuous fasting.
He added that the monk’s fasting journey began when he performed a 20-day fast for the first time as a 13-year-old monk. “He has the blessings of his guru Acharya Ratnasundar Maharaj, who was also the recipient of Padma Bhushan in 2017,” Muni Padma Kalash said.
He added that the monk underwent regular checkups during the continuous fasting, and doctors found him in perfect health.
Acharya Vijay Hansratnasuri’s father, elder brother, and younger sister are also monks. Before his diksha, the monk resided in Adoi village of Vagad in Kutch.
His disciples said that celebrities from the Hindi film industry, such as Salman Khan and Jeetendra, met the monk during his current continuous fasting. “Recently, during a visit to a studio, Salman Khan met the acharya and was astonished when told that he was on a 180-day continuous fasting for the sixth time,” said Muni Padma Kalash.
He said that yesteryear star Jeetendra visited the upashray and took blessings from Acharya Vijay Hansratnasuri.