Kundkundacharya was born in Kondkunde village during the first half of the first century A.D. He is known by five other names i.e. Padmanandi, Kundkund, Vakragriva, Elacharya and Grudhrapichchha. However, there prevails a difference of opinion regarding the authenticity of these names. But this much is certain that his name was Padmanandi but true to the Dravid tradition, he came to be known as Kundkundacharya as he was the resident of Kondkundpur. His father’s name was Karmandu and his mother’s name was Shrimati. The couple did not have a child for a long time. Both of them were generous and charitable.
Once they gave alms to an ascetic, and as a result of his blessings they had a son. From the very early age, Kundkund was very brilliant. Endowed with sharp intelligence and unusual power of memory, he studied numerous books. From his early youth, he felt a strong inclination for renunciation and finally he accepted initiation. It is said that many miraculous incidents happened during his life as a muni.
Shri Kundkundacharya is very famous for his books relating to theology. He has written poetic compositions, mostly in Shaurseni Prakrut language. All his books are focused on the theme of the spirit and the soul.
According to the tradition Shri Kundakundacharya had composed 84 pahud volumes. Some of the volumes contain a very few gathas. The reason is that the Jain community in the South India was isolated from its counterpart in Magadh and other parts where Jainism was more popular; hence the community in Southern India required its scriptures to be compiled systematically for observance of religious conduct. Of the 84 pahud volumes, very few have survived.
His preaching are mainly addressed to Jain ascetic. Of all his volumes the best one is Samaysar. The treatment and elucidation of spiritualism is unique in the entire Jain literature. He has equated a pure or a holy soul with Time. His other volume is entitled ‘Pravachansar’. The third volume known as ‘Panchastikay’, essentially deals with the doctrines of Jainism. Far away in the South, this great Acharya provided immensely useful guidance by way of knowledge and philosophy which is a subject of eternal interest.
Samaysar, Pravachansar and Niyamsar enjoy popularity like Upnishad, Brahmasutra and Shrimad Bhagvad Gita amongst the Vaidic darshans. According to the Digambar opinion, these gathas containing his self-experiences were composed when he enjoyed the seventh gunasthanak position.
Along with Bhagwan Mahavir and Gautam Swami, the Digambar community reveres him greatly. He had devoted himself to meditation and penance in the caves in the mountain range in Karnatak. Mostly he used to stay in the caves of Nandi mountain. He had toured the whole of India for the purpose of propagating religion.
It is popularly said about him that with the sheer strength of his ability, he had been able to reach Mahavidehkshetra once and had acquired the knowledge from Simandhar Swami. Scholars like Dr. Jyotiprasad Jain believes that he might have flourished between 8 B. C. to 44 A. D.