Shri Kundkundacharya was a great Jain Acharya in Digamber tradition, about 2000 years ago.
Pujya Shri Atmanandji's search for truth led him, at the age of 23, to the book "Kundkundacharya's 3 Ratna" (written by Gopaldas Patel). Reading this book, he felt that the philosophy of Kundkundacharya is the answer to his quest. He recognized the higher purpose of life in purifying the soul. His life was changed forever. He also experienced some kind of bond of indebtedness towards Kundkundacharya from previous births (ઋણાનુબંધ).
Kundkundacharya was born in 51 BC, in the town of Konda Kund of Andhra Pradesh, India. He became the Jain monk (Sadhu) at the age of 11 and Acharya at the age of 44. He lived for 95 years and died in 44 AD in Kundadri hills (Karnatak, South India). He conferred monkhood to about 700 people during his life time. He is known by various names: Kundkundacharya, Elacharya, Vakragrivacharya, Gruddhapichchhacharya and Padmanandiacharya.
Kundkundacharya spent most of his life in and around Ponnur Hills in TamilNadu (about 120 km from Chennai/Madras). This is the place from where it is believed that because of his vast knowledge, purity of soul and resultant super human powers, he went to Mahavideh Kshetra, an another world, where the present Tirthankar Simandhar Swami resides and preaches. There he got the opportunity to listen to the preaching of Simandhar Swami. This further deepened his spiritual knowledge. After returning, he wrote 84 scriptures describing the true nature of the soul, Karmas, their interactions, world, and nature of basic six elements and clear path of salvation.
Unfortunately, only about a dozen scriptures are currently available from his 84. However, what is available now, is more than enough for aspirants and truth seekers to walk on the path of salvation. Some of his most popular and very useful scriptures are:
He reasoned that the worldly souls like us, lack proper vision of reality and are ignorant of their true nature of the soul, resulting in wrong beliefs and improper action. Consequently, these worldly souls are wandering eternally in birth & death cycles. For the spiritual benefit of such ignorant souls He propounded the doctrines of Bhagwan Mahavir in its correct perspective.
He is so highly respected that his name is often taken after Mahavir Swami Bhagwan and First Guru Gautam Swami.