Book Title: $JES 202 Jain Story Book Level 2 Book
Author(s): JAINA Education Committee
Publisher: JAINA Education Committee
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Page #1 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Jain Story Book (JAINA Education Series 202 - Level 2) Compiled by JAINA Education Committee Federation of Jain Associations of North America Page #2 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Jain Story Book - JES 202 E5 (JAINA Education Series 202 - Level 2) Fifth Edition (revised): April 2016 ISBN 10: 1-59406-063-0 ISBN 13: 978-1-59406-063-2 This book has No Copyright for private, personal, and non-commercial use only Please use the religious material respectfully and for nonprofit purposes. Compiled by: JAINA Education Committee Pravin K. Shah, Chairperson 509 Carriage Woods Circle Raleigh, NC 27607-3969 USA Tele and Fax - 919-859-4994 Email - Website - Published and Distributed by: Virendra Shah, Chairperson JC Flag Corp. 821 E. Artesia Blvd., Carson, CA 90746-1203 USA Tel: 310-523-4411 Email: Website - 2 Online Purchase Information Website - On Home Page - Click Link "JAINA Education Books" Complete the Shopping Cart Process Distributed in India by: Gyan Vardhak Charitable Trust Sudesh Shah, Arihant Graphics FF-20, Nanakram Super Market, Ramnagar, Sabarmati Amdavad, Gujarat (India) 380005 Email: Tel: +91 99988 90335 India We are interested in your comments. Please donate generously towards Jain Education Activity. Send your contribution to Jaina Education Committee Printed in India Support JAINA Education activities. Your contribution in US $ is tax deductible in USA and in Rupees in India. Use the above address for communication and for availability of the Education books in other countries JAIN STORY BOOK Page #3 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Dedicated to Young Jains of America (YJA) ( Young Jain Professionals (YJP) and ( Jain Pathashala Teachers of North America ( for their continued effort and commitment in promoting religious awareness, non-violence, reverence for all life forms, protection of the environment, and a spirit of compassionate interdependence with nature and all living beings. As importantly, for their commitment to the practice of Jainism, consistent with our principles, including vegetarianism and an alcohol/drug free lifestyle. Our great appreciation to all the Pathashala Teachers for their effort in instilling the basic values of Jainism, and promoting the principles of non-violence and compassion to all youth and adults. Special thanks to all Jain Vegan and alcohol/drug-free youth and adults for inspiring us to see the true connection between our beliefs and our choices. A vegan and alcohol/drug-free lifestyle stems from a desire to minimize harm to all animals as well as to our own bodies, minds, and souls. As a result, one avoids the use of all animal products such as milk, cheese, butter, ghee, ice cream, silk, wool, pearls, leather, meat, fish, chicken, eggs and refrains from all types of addictive substances such as alcohol and drugs. JAIN STORY BOOK Page #4 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Acknowledgements The project of compiling, revising, and editing of the existing JAINA Education series books was accomplished by a dedicated group of Pathashala teachers, educators, youth, and individuals of North America, India and other parts of the world. The devoted contribution of all these supporters is evident on every page of this series, and is gratefully acknowledged. I would like to extend special thanks to the following people for their notable contribution and support in the publication of the story book. For Guidance: Acharya Shri Nandighoshsuri M.S. Acharya Shri Ajaysagarsuri M.S. For Revising, Compiling, Editing, Layout, and Distribution of the Books: Pradip & Darshana Shah Chicago IL Mukesh Doshi Chicago IL Sudhir Shah Raleigh NC Anita Parikh Charul Kothari Harsh and Bhavisha Shroff Megha Doshi Minal Jayant Shah Rekha Banker Digish and Mamta Doshi Hema Ojha Narendra Velani Sudesh Shah Virendra Shah Ramesh Doshi Madhuker Mehta 4 Saket Singhi Anjali Doshi Shweta Shah Rajesh Salecha Woodbridge CT North Haven CT Chicago IL Washington DC Chicago IL Raleigh NC Chicago IL Houston TX Chicago IL Amdavad India Los Angeles CA Los Angeles CA Cary NC Amdavad India Chicago IL Raleigh NC Detroit MI Please pardon us if we have missed any contributors, Pravin K. Shah, Chairperson JAINA Education Committee JAIN STORY BOOK Page #5 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ JAINA Education Pathashala Books The JAINA Education Committee is pleased to present a set of JAINA Education books for all ages of students interested in learning Jainism in English. We have prepared 8 books for Jain Pathashalas and 7 books of reference material. They are listed below Purchase and Download books from the eLibrary website below: The soft copy (pdf file) of these books are available in Jain eLibrary website. One can freely download pdf file of all these books from the home page link of the website - You can purchase the hard copy book from the eLibrary website shopping cart link (Link - Buy JAINA Edu. Books). The books are easily available in USA and in India. http:///shopping/select_destination.php JAINA Education Books The JAINA education books are grouped into four age levels as indicated in the following table: Series Level Age Cost Name eLibrary JES-101 Level-1 05 to 09 $6.00 Jain Activity Book 000101 JES-102 Level-1 05 to 09 $6.00 Jainism l-Basics of Jainism 000103 JES-103 Level-1 05 to 09 $4.00 Jain Alphabet Book 000105 JES-104 Level-1 05 to 09 $4.00 Jain Moral Skits 000107 JES-202 Level-2 10 to 12 $7.00 Jain Story Book 000121 JES-202G Level-2 10 to 12 $7.00 Jain Story Book (in Gujarati) 000123 JES-203 Level-2 10 to 12 $7.00 First Step to Jainism 000125 JES-203Q Level-2 10 to 12 $4.00 Work Book - First Step to Jainism 000127 JES-302 Level-3 13 to 15 $5.00 Jain Philosophy and Practice 000141 JES-401 Level -4 16 up $9.00 Jain Philosophy and Practice II 000161 Reference Books and Other Material: JES 901 $1.00 Jainism - Religion of Compassion and Ecology 000201 JES 904 $10.00 Compendium of Jainism (Jain Academic Bowl Manual) 000021 JES 906 PDF Jain Academic Bowl Past Questions and Answers - PDF file only 000023 JES 911 $1.00 Essence of World Religions 000211 JES 921 $1.00 The Book of Compassion (English) 000221 JES 922 $1.00 The Book of Compassion (Gujarati) 000223 JES 923 PDF The Book of Compassion (Hindi) - PDF file only 000225 JES 931 $1.00 English Pratikraman 000241 JES 933 $1.00 Jain Puja Book - Ashta Prakari Puja and Shanti Kalash 000247 JES 941 $2.00 Pratikraman Sutra Book with Simple meaning in English 000249 JES 981 $1.00 Ashtapad Tirtha Booklet 000291 JES 851 $4.00 Tirthankar & their Lanchhans Game N/A JAIN STORY BOOK Page #6 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Preface Jai Jinendra Non-violence (Ahimsa) is the backbone and focal point of Jain philosophy. Non-violence, non-absolutistic viewpoint (Anekantavada), and non-possessiveness/ non-attachment (Aparigraha) are fundamental principles of Jainism. Non-violence strengthens the proper conduct of every individual, non-absolutistic view strengthen the right thinking of every individual, and non-possessiveness strengthens the interdependence of all existence and provides harmony in society. If we observe these three principles in their true spirit, peace and harmony can certainly be attained within us as well as in the world. Although not fully introduced to the western world, Jainism is India's oldest living religion. The basic principles of Jainism are scientific and the truths' presented in the Jain scriptures are universal; however, their interpretations and applications have to be done in the context of time and space in which we find ourselves. In English-speaking countries where many Jains have settled permanently such as USA, Canada. UK. and Africa, children do not have access to Jain educational material. In an attempt to make Jain principles known globally, the educational material must be made widely available in English. It is also necessary to publish Jain literature and educational material in a variety of media (i.e. books, videos, cassettes, CDs, DVDs, and web deployment) for English-speaking people interested in Jain philosophy, religion, and scriptures. JAINA Education committee has taken up this task. The JAINA Education Committee is pleased to present a set of JAINA Education books for students of all ages interested in learning Jainism. These books are grouped into four age levels: Level 1 for elementary, Level 2 for middle school, Level 3 for high school, and Level 4 for college students. The entire list of JAINA Education Series Books is listed in this section. Every edition of the Pathashala books go through minor/major revisions incorporating suggestions received from various Pathashala teachers, educators, and students from different centers. The education committee members are Jain Pathashala teachers of various centers and they have spent countless hours in the preparation/review of this material. Great care has been taken to present the material in a non-sectarian way and incorporate the uniqueness of every Jain sect. Significant effort has been made to maintain consistency in the spellings of Jain words. Many youths have helped us in improving the English grammar in these books. The Jain Story Book (JES 202 - Level 2) was originally compiled and coordinated by Pradip and Darshana Shah of Chicago, Illinois in 2004. A great deal of effort has been taken by them for the preparation of the material. Significant time was spent in the selection of the stories. The stories were selected from the previous version of JAINA Education story book, the story book of Shri Manubhai Doshi, and few of the stories were gathered from various sources and we are grateful to the authors and publishers for being able to use their work liberally. We are thankful to Anita Parikh of Connecticut for the design and layout of this book. We needed to modify the popular versions of certain stories because we felt that they violated the basic principles of the Jain religion and in some cases they were not conducive to American culture which treats men and women equally. The following stories have been modified from their popular version: 1. Chandanbala - The popular story indicates that Chandanbala had no tears when ascetic Mahavir came to her house for Gochari and then he turned around. Immediately Chandanbala started crying and Mahavir turn around and accepted Gochari. This explanation violates the monk's conduct with regards to acceptance rules of Gochari. Monks cannot go back to the same house twice for JAIN STORY BOOK Page #7 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Gochari because their conditions (abhigrah) are later satisfied. However, in Upadeshmala Doghatti Tika of Shri Ratnaprabhsoori translated by Acharya Shri Hemsagarsoori on page 43 (eLibrary book 008467) indicates that the tears were present when ascetic Mahavir saw Chandanbala. He accepted the Gochari of Adadana Bakla in his hand. 2. Aimutta muni The popular story states that at the early age of 7 years, Aimutta muni sincerely repented for his mistake and attained Keval-jnan. While Jain literature indicates the person should be at least 8 years of age before he is eligible to take Diksha. In Rushimandalstav Prakaran, Aimutta muni repents at the age of 13 remembering the earlier incidence and attains Keval-jnan. 3. Shalibhadra The popular story states that before renunciation, Shalibhadra decided to give-up one wife every day, and at the end of 32 days he would become monk. This indicates that he was treating his 32 wives as his property, which is against Jain principles and the American culture. We have modified the story indicating that he decided to renounce the world over the period of a month. 4. Bhagawan Mallinath The popular story states that Bhagawan Mallinath, in a previous life as a monk named Mahabal was secretly observing longer penances without informing the other monks. In essence, he was deceiving the other monks. This is the reason Bhagawan Mallinath was born as a female. This is against American culture. Jain scriptures are written using Devanagari characters. To pronounce these characters in English correctly, it is necessary to put various diacritical marks on some English vowels and consonants. However, most internet browsers and word processors do not display and print all these transliterated characters. The main objective of these books is to teach the principles of Jainism to Jain youth and lay people who do not have the knowledge of this transliteration convention. As a result, a simplified diacritical mark scheme has been adopted for this series. The transliteration used here is neither authentic nor totally consistent. While it will serve the purpose of learning Jain principles, this book should not be used for learning correct pronunciations. Please note that the JAINA Education committee members are Jain Pathashala teachers and are not Jain scholars. Hence, you may find some errors in the presentation. Certain items may be applicable to one Jain sect and not applicable to other Jain sects. Please pardon us for any mistakes, oversights, understatements, or overstatements in the material. We request you to use and review the material objectively and provide suggestions to enable us to incorporate them easily in future revisions. In line with Jain Philosophy, the JAINA education book series is not copyrighted. However, if you need to copy and distribute any of the material, please do it respectfully and on a cost basis. Please note that most of these books and other material are available from the Jain eLibrary website - A lot of minds and blessings, both directly and indirectly, have touched this noble project. We sincerely appreciate and thank every person and every organization that made this project successful. As always, if you have any comments and suggestions for improvement, please feel free to contact us. If we have mentioned anything against the teachings of the Tirthankars, we ask for forgiveness. Michchhami Dukkadam. Pravin K. Shah, Chairperson JAINA Education Committee April 19, 2016 JAIN STORY BOOK 7 Page #8 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ 8 Jain Prayers........ Part I Tirthankars........ 01 - Bhagawan Mahavir. 02 - Bhagawan Adinath.. 03 - Bhagawan Mallinath..... 04 - Bhagawan Neminath..... 05 Bhagawan Parshvanath. Part II Ganadhars and Acharyas. Table of Contents 06 - Ganadhar Gautam-swami...... 07 - Ganadhar Sudharma-swami. 08 - Kevali Jambuswam.............. 09 - Acharya Sthulibhadra............ 10- Acharya Kunda-kunda....... 11 - Acharya Haribhadra-Suri.............. 12 - Acharya Hemchandra........... Part III Stories Preceding Bhagawan Mahavir. 13- Bharat and Bahubali.. 14 - King Megharath 15- Sage Nandisen.......... 16 - King Shripal and Mayana-sundari. 17 - Ilachikum.a............ 18- Monk Kurgadu....... Part IV Stories during Bhagawan Mahavir 19 - Mahavir swami and the Cowherd.. 20- Chandkaushik....... 21 - Chandanbala...... 22 - Nails in the Ears: Last Calamity for Bhagawan Mahavir 23 - Meghakuma........ 24 - Aimutta Muni.......... 25 - Anand Shravak.. 26- Punia Shravak..... 27 - Shalibhadra........... 28 - King Shrenik and Queen Chelna........... 29 King Shrenik and Anathi Muni...... 30- King Shrenik's Destiny........... 31 Monk Prasannachandra. 32 - Abhaykumar and Thief Rohineya....... Part V Stories after Bhagawan Mahavir 33 - Vajrakumar......... 34 King Samprati...... JAIN STORY Book 10 13 15 23 26 30 33 37 39 44 46 48 52 54 57 59 61 65 67 69 72 76 .79 81 83 85 88 91 94 ... 98 100 102 105 107 109 111 113 117 119 124 Page #9 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ ................ ................... 131 .. 134 ............. ............... 137 139 35 - Temples of Delwada................. 36 - Udayan Mantri and His Sons - Ambad and Bahad................ 37 - Nobility of Savchand and Somchand ...... Part VI Contemporary Jain Legends ........... 38 - Shrimad Rajchandra....... 39 - Virchand R. Gandhi... Part VII Moral Stories............ 40 - King Hansa ......... 41 - Kamalsen. ............. 42 - Vipul and Vijan ............. 43 - Two Frogs. Believe in Yourself.. ............... 145 ............... ............... ........ JAIN STORY BOOK Page #10 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Jain Prayers namo arihNtaannN| namo arihantanam | namo siddhANaM namo siddhanam namo aayriyaannN| namo ayariyanam namo uvjjhaayaannN| namo uvajjhayanam namo loe svvsaahnnN| namo loe savvasahunam eso paMca nmukkaaro| eso pancha namukkaro svvpaavppnnaasnno| savvapavappanasano maMgalANaM ca savvesiM Mangalanam cha savvesim paDhama havai mNglN|| padhamam havai mangalam || I bow to Arihantas (Tirthankars), the perfected human souls, who have reached enlightenment by overcoming their inner weaknesses, who have attained infinite knowledge, perception, bliss, and power and have shown the path, which brings an end to the cycle of birth, life, death and suffering. I bow to Siddhas, the liberated souls, who have attained the state of perfection and immortality by eradicating all karma. I bow to Acharyas, who are the head of Jain congregation and preach the principles of religion and show the path of liberation, which is the unity of Right Faith, Right Knowledge, and Right Conduct. I bow to Upadhyays who are the ascetic teachers. They explain Jain scriptures and show us the importance of a spiritual life over a material life. I bow to all Sadhus and Sadhvis who strictly follow the five great vows of conduct and inspire us to live a simple life. To these five types of great souls, I offer my praise. Such praise will help diminish my negative vibrations and sins. Offering this praise is most auspicious of all benedictions. In short, I bow and seek inspiration from perfected human souls, liberated souls, enlightened ascetic leaders, ascetic teachers, and all monks and nuns in the world who practice non-violence (Ahimsa), truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy, and non-possessiveness in their conduct, non-absolutistic viewpoint (Anekantavada) in their thinking. JAIN STORY BOOK Page #11 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ cattAri maMgalaM arihaMtA maMgalaM siddhA maMgalaM sAhU maMgalaM kevalipaNNatto dhammo maMgalaM / cattAri loguttamA, arihaMtA loguttamA siddhA loguttamA, sAhU loguttamA / kevalipaNNatto dhammo loguttamI / cattAri saraNaM pavajjAmi arihaMte saraNaM pavajjAmi siddhe saraNaM pavajjAmi, sAhU saraNaM pavajjAmi kevali paNNattaM dhammaM saraNaM pavajjAmi || chattari mangalam, arihanta mangalam, siddha mangalam, sahu mangalam, kevalipannatto dhammo mangalam | chattari loguttama, arihanta loguttama, siddha loguttama, sahu loguttama, kevalipannatto dhammo loguttamo | chattari saranam pavajjami, arihante saranam pavajjami, siddhe saranam pavajjami, sahu saranam pavajjami, kevali pannattam dhammam saranam pavajjami || There are four auspicious entities in the universe. The Arihantas are auspicious. The Siddhas are auspicious. The Sadhus are auspicious. The religion explained by the omniscient is auspicious. There are four supreme entities in the universe. The Arihantas are supreme. The Siddhas are supreme. The Sadhus are supreme. The religion explained by the omniscient is supreme. I take refuge in the four entities of the universe. I take refuge in the Arihantas. I take refuge in the Siddhas. I take refuge in the Sadhus. I take refuge in the religion explained by the omniscient. JAIN STORY BOOK 11 Page #12 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ upasargAH kSayaM yAnti, chidyante vighnavallayaH / manaH prasannatAmeti, pUjyamAne jineshvre|| upasargah ksayam yanti, chhidyante vighnavallayah | manah prasannatameti, pijyamine jneshvare || All the troubles disintegrate, the shackles of obstacles break, the mind achieves a blissful state wherever and whenever the Lord Jineshvars are worshipped. zivamastu sarvajagataH parahitaniratA bhavantu bhUtagaNAH / doSAH prayAMtu nAzaM sarvatra sukhIbhavatu lokaH / / shivamastu sarvajagatah, parahitanirata bhavantu bhutaganah | dosah prayantu nasham, sarvatra sukhibhavatu lokah || May the entire universe attain bliss; may all beings be oriented to the interest of others; let all faults be eliminated; and may people be happy everywhere. khAmi savvajIve, savve jIvA khamaMtu me| mittI me savva bhUesa, veram majjhaM na keNai || khamemi savvajive, savve jiva khamantu me | mitti me savva bhuesu, veram majjham na kenai || I forgive all souls; let all souls forgive me. I am on friendly terms with all. I have no animosity towards anybody. 12 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #13 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Part I Tirthankars e pazier FERRETTI WAA TEODO CANA - Vinh, alfa GORMER In the Jain religion, there are twenty-four Tirthankars. According to Jain philosophy, all Tirthankars were human beings once, but have now attained a state of perfect enlightenment through meditation and self-realization. They are faultless human models. They are known as "Gods" of Jains. The concept of a supernatural god as creator, protector and destroyer of the universe does not exist in Jainism. Jains pray to these Tirthankars because they show the path of Enlightenment and Liberation. Page #14 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Only the one who has transcended fear can experience equanimity - Sutrakritang Page #15 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR 01 - Bhagawan Mahavir DU JUJUSCOUVE Bhagawan Mahavir delivering sermon from Samavasaran About 2600 years ago, religion in India took a very ugly turn. The management of the original four classes of society, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras, had deteriorated. Brahmins were learned people and considered themselves to be very superior. The fate of Shudras, or untouchables, was terrible. They were required to serve the other castes, forever performing the most degrading tasks. They were not allowed to engage in other professions. The importance of sacrifice as a symbol of giving up and renouncing had been misconstrued and it had taken on a very violent form. Animal sacrifices were performed regularly. People believed that these sacrifices would please the Gods and, in return, their wishes would be fulfilled. This was the social and religious conditions that existed during Mahavir's time. JAIN STORY BOOK Page #16 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART I TIRTHANKARS Previous Lives Depicts Bhagawan Mahavir's past lives from Nayasar to Nandan Muni day King Siddhartha asked the dream interpreters and scholars the meaning of the dreams, they proclaimed that Queen Trishala would give birth to a Tirthankar. While in the womb, once Bhagawan Mahavir remained still (without any movement) so as not to disturb or cause any pain to his mother. Not feeling any movement, Queen Trishala was very worried that something was wrong with the baby in the womb. Realizing how worried his mother was on his behalf, he decided not to take the religious vow of renunciation and leave his family as long his parents were alive. 16 The lives of Bhagawan Mahavir are counted from his life as Nayasar, when he attained self-realization (Samyaktva). Jain literature accounts indicate 27 lives of Bhagawan Mahavir. The significant lives are Nayasar (life no.1), Marichi (life no. 3), Vishvabhuti (life no. 16), Triprushtha Vasudev (life no. 18), Priyamitra Chakravarti (life no. 23) and Nandan Muni (life no. 25). In the life of Nandan Muni, he attained Tirthankar Namkarma. At the end of that life, he was born as a Deva. In the third life after Nandan Muni, he was born as Vardhaman Mahavir. Chyavan (Conception) Kalyanak Jain tradition believes that all Tirthankars are born in the Kshatriya (warrior) royal family because it provides an environment that helps the Tirthankar experience the fact that that there is no permanent happiness in material comfort. Lord Mahavir's parents were queen Trishala and king Siddhartha. Queen Trishala, like the mother of all other Tirthankars, saw 14 objects in her dreams as per Shvetambar tradition: lion, elephant, bull, Lakshmi, garland, full moon, sun, flag, vase, lotus lake, ocean, celestial plane, heap of jewels, and smokeless fire. According to Digambar tradition, she also saw two additional objects a pair of fish and a lofty throne. The next Dreams of Trishala mata JAIN STORY BOOK Page #17 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR Janma (Birth) Kalyanak Mahavir was born in the month of Chaitra on the 13th day of the waxing (increasing in size) cycle of the moon in 599 BCE as per the Indian calendar. This day falls in the month of April and is celebrated as Mahavir Janma Kalyanak day. He was born in the region known as Kshatriya-kund or kundalpur in the present-day state of Bihar, India. His parents were King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala. Queen Trishala was the sister of King Chetak, the King of Vaishali. There was great rejoicing in the country. Since the moment the Tirthankar's soul was conceived, there was continued enhancement in the glory, wealth, health and fame of the kingdom, and respect and goodwill for the family. This is the reason the baby was named Vardhaman, which means ever-increasing prosperity. Vardhaman (Bhagawan Mahavir) had an older brother named Nandivardhan and a sister named Sudarshana. Soon after his birth, Indra (King of heavenly gods) took the baby Tirthankar to Mount Meru and performed the birth ceremony (Janma Abhishek) with great rejoicing and Birth celebration of Bhagawan Mahavir by 56 celebration. After that he returned the baby female celestial beings to mother Trishala's bedside. Childhood There are numerous incidences of courage and forgiveness throughout Vardhaman's life as a child and an adult. One day, prince Vardhaman, a young boy of eight, was playing with his friends on the outskirts of the city. At that very moment, Indra, the King of heaven, started praising the courage and fearlessness of prince Vardhaman. Another heavenly god challenged the statement, believing that fear is present in all humans. He decided to test Vardhaman's courage. He assumed the form of a frightening cobra and slithered near the children. All of the boys started screaming, but Mahavir stood there calmly and fearlessly. He gently caught the cobra with his hands and placed it in the grass on the side. The god, who had failed to frighten prince Vardhaman in the form of a cobra, decided to test his bravery once more. Assuming the form of an ordinary child, he joined the group of children and suggested racing to a target tree. The winner was to get a piggyback ride on one of the losers and return to the base. The heavenly god lost the game to prince Vardhaman and offered to carry him on his shoulders. However, as soon as he had the prince on his shoulders, the god assumed a gigantic form. Without any fear, Prince Vardhaman gave a mighty blow to his shoulders with clenched fists. The god could not withstand the blow and, Mahavir gently caught the cobra assuming his original form, bowed to the prince and returned to with his hands and placed it in the heaven. Indra and all the other heavenly gods hailed the victory of grass prince Vardhaman and exclaimed that he was "Mahavir", meaning "The Great Hero." JAIN STORY BOOK Page #18 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART I TIRTHANKARS When Vardhaman was nine years old, his parents thought that it was time to impart formal education upon him. They wanted him to learn martial arts befitting of a Kshatriya prince, so they decided to send him to school. When Vardhaman went to school he offered his respects to the teacher just like an ordinary child. However, after teaching the first lesson, the teacher realized Vardhaman was more knowledgeable than he was. After this, Vardhaman's schooling ended and he returned to the palace. Diksha (Renunciation) Kalyanak Preparation for Renunciation As a youth, Prince Vardhaman lived a very simple and disciplined life. Although he wanted to renounce the world in search of eternal happiness, he had already decided not to leave the family while his parents were alive while in his mother's womb. At an early age, he realized that worldly happiness and pleasures do not last forever and are based mostly on the inconvenience, miseries, and unhappiness of others. He therefore planned to renounce his worldly life, his possessions, and worldly pleasures in search of true spiritual happiness. However, he knew that his parents would be very sad and hurt if he did this so he decided not to renounce his current life while they were alive. His parents passed away when he was 28 years old. He was now ready to renounce his worldly life by giving up his family, friends, and possessions, but again postponed it for two more years at the request of his older brother, Nandivardhan. Prince Vardhaman led a very simple life for one year. When he had exactly one more year of a householder's life left, he began donating all of his belongings and wealth to the needy and to those who came to him. Every day he would donate many gold coins, jewels, precious stones, and clothes. This unique and unprecedented charity impressed upon the minds of the people that "Charity is a double blessing - it blesses those who give as well those who receive". At the end of the year marked by generosity, Prince Vardhaman attained perfect "Aparigrahatva", freedom from attachments and possessions. He was now fully prepared for the life of a monk. His elder brother made elaborate preparations for the initiation and the country was filled with great excitement. Indra and other heavenly gods participated in the ceremony. Gold and silver pitchers were filled with water from various holy places. The prince was bathed with the holy waters, anointed with perfumed pastes, dressed in royal garments, and decked with precious ornaments. At an auspicious moment on the tenth day of the dark half of the month of Margashirsha, Prince Vardhaman left the palace forever in a palanquin carried by Indra and the other gods. Renunciation After alighting from the palanquin, Prince Vardhaman removed all of his garments and ornaments except a piece of cloth resting on his shoulders to cover his body. It was and provided by Indra. Then he stood under an Ashok tree Taking the vow of renunciation in the and took the solemn vow of renunciation in the presence presence of the people. Mahavir of thousands of people. He then plucked all the hair on his plucking his hair and Indra collecting head in four handfuls and the hair on his chin and lips in them one handful, known as Panchamusthi loch. After solemnly reciting the words, "I bow down to all the liberated souls", Mahavir accepted life-long renunciation. He took the five great vows of non-violence, truth, non-stealing, JAIN STORY BOOK Page #19 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR celibacy, and non-possession in order to avoid accumulating new karma and to annihilate past karmas. Right after initiation (Diksha), Mahavir acquired the "Manah-Paryaya Jnan", knowledge that allowed him to perceive the feelings and thoughts of all living beings. Removal of Poverty After the renunciation his heart was filled with equanimity and compassion. He walked with firm and steady steps towards the jungle without turning around or hesitating. On his way, he met a wiry and weak poor man, moving briskly with the help of a stick. The poor man fell at the feet of the ascetic Mahavir. Tears were flowing from his eyes and there was an expressive pain on his pitiable face. He uttered humbly, "Prince Vardhaman! have pity on this poor destitute. Remove my poverty with your kind hands. Mahavir was filled with compassion, but today he had nothing to give. He suddenly thought of the divine cloth on his shoulder. He tore it into two and gave one to the poor person. He was filled with joy. Ascetic Mahavir donates a Keval-jnan (Absolute Knowledge) Kalyanak piece of cloth to the poor Mahavir swami remained in deep meditation and practiced severe austerities for a period of twelve and a half years. During this meditation period: He resided in parks, forests and deserted places and observed fasts lasting from a single day to up to six months He was saved from a whipping by a cowherd who felt that Bhagawan Mahavir had hidden his cows. Bhagawan Mahavir refused the help of the angels to look after him through his meditation from similar incidences He faced a fierce and poisonous snake, Chandkaushik, and calmed him down with his compassionate approach He accepted food from a house-maid, Chandanbala, to break his approximately 6 months long fast He suffered peacefully when a farmer hammered nails in his ears He endured all adverse conditions and hardships caused by rustic aborigines with patience and forgiveness During this period, he progressed spiritually and ultimately destroyed all four destructive (Ghati) Karmas and attained absolute knowledge on the tenth day of the bright half of the Bhagawan Mahavir attained Keval-jnan while sitting in the "cow milking" posture on the banks of the river Rujuvaluka JAIN STORY BOOK Page #20 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART I TIRTHANKARS month of Vaisakha. In doing so, he realized perfect perception, perfect knowledge, perfect power, and perfect bliss. This realization is known as Keval-jnan (omniscience or perfect enlightenment). Now, Mahavir became an Arihanta and is called Bhagawan Mahavir or Mahavir-swami. The thrones of Indra and the other heavenly gods trembled the moment Bhagawan Mahavir attained omniscience. Immediately, hosts of gods thronged there to celebrate the fourth Kalyanak, or auspicious occasion. They constructed a divine assembly hall known as a samavasaran for Bhagawan Mahavir's first sermon. He delivered the first sermon at night when only the gods were present. Then, Bhagawan Mahavir traveled to Pavapuri and stayed in the garden named Mahasen. Here, the gods constructed another samavasaran hall. Sitting under the Ashok tree, Mahavir delivered a sermon in the Ardha-Magadhi language. Bhagawan Mahavir spent the next thirty years traveling on bare feet throughout India preaching the eternal truth that he had realized. He attracted people from all walks of life, rich and poor, kings and commoners, men and women, princes and priests, touchables and untouchables. In matters of spiritual advancement, Bhagawan Mahavir envisioned that men and women were equal. The lure of renunciation and liberation attracted men as well as women. Many women followed Mahavir's path and renounced the world in search of ultimate truth and happiness. He categorized his followers into a fourfold order: monks (Sadhus), nuns (Sadhvis), laymen (Shravaks), and laywomen (Shravikas). This order is known as the Jain Sangha. 20 Eleven Learned Brahmins Initiated as Ganadhars Bhagawan Mahavir, endowed with many Atishaya or distinguished attributes, delivered a soul-stirring and heartfelt sermon in the assembly of gods, human beings, and animals. Even though a great sacrifice was simultaneously in progress in another part of the city, huge crowds were seen going in the opposite direction towards the samavasaran. Indrabhuti of Gautam Gotra, the chief priest at the sacrifice, inquired where they were going and was told about Bhagawan Mahavir's samavasaran. Upon hearing that it was attracting more people, his vanity was hurt and he decided to put to test the so-called omniscience of the saint. Therefore, he decided to visit the samavasaran accompanied by his disciples. Mahavir called him by his name and, without being asked, resolved his doubts about the soul, upon which Gautam along with his 500 disciples accepted monk hood. Hearing this, the remaining ten learned scholars at the sacrifice came to the samavasaran and, upon having their secret doubts resolved, accepted initiation with 4400 disciples. In this way, Mahavir established the four-fold Sangh and preached the path to liberation. Eleven learned Brahmins became his principal disciples, known as Ganadhars. Bhagawan Mahavir's Last Sermon at Pavapuri and Liberation During the thirty years of his life as a Tirthankar, Bhagawan Mahavir preached his gospel of Ahimsa to millions of people and initiated thousands of disciples into monkhood. At the age of seventy-two, he came to Pavapuri to spend his final monsoon season, in the year 527 BCE. In the month of Ashwin, he observed a two-day fast, taking neither food nor water. Sitting in the lotus posture on a golden lotus, he delivered his last and longest sermon which lasted for fortyeight hours before the four-fold Sangh. (This sermon was later compiled in the Jain scriptures and is known as Uttaradhyayan Sutra) JAIN STORY BOOK Bhagawan Mahavir's last sermon at Pavapuri Page #21 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Nirvana Kalyanak At the age of seventy-two (527 BCE), Bhagawan Mahavir attained Nirvana and his purified soul left his mortal body and achieved complete liberation. He became a Siddha, a pure consciousness, a liberated soul, living in a state of complete bliss forever. This event, known as Nirvana, occurred on the last day of the Hindu and Jain calendar. We celebrate it as Diwali or Deepavali (festival of lights). In the early morning of the new-moon night, Bhagawan Mahavir's remaining four types of non-destructive (Aghati) karma were destroyed. And thus, with all the eight karmas completely annihilated, his soul soared high, reached the pinnacle of Loka and went to the permanent abode of Siddhas, never to return again. And thus Bhagawan Mahavir achieved the highest goal: liberation. Funeral Rites performed by Heavenly Gods and Human Beings At the time of Bhagawan Mahavir's nirvana, eighteen rulers of various states were present. When the light of his knowledge was extinguished from the world, they lit numerous earthen lamps, beginning the tradition of the Festival of Lights known as Deepavali or Diwali. Upon Bhagawan Mahavir achieving the fifth Kalyanak, Indra and the other gods flew down to earth to celebrate. They bathed his body with holy waters, applied sandal paste, dressed the body in rich garments and adorned it with a crown and other ornaments. He was carried in a palanquin. Millions joined the procession to pay their last homage. There was solemn music accompanied on musical instruments. The palanquin was placed on a pyre of fragrant sandalwood; after the final prayers were offered, the fire was lit. Later, perfumed water was sprinkled to extinguish the fire and the gods carried the molars and the bones to heaven. BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR Bhagawan Mahavir's sermons were compiled orally by his immediate disciples in 12 books in the form of sutras. These books are called Anga Agam Sutras. Later, several learned Acharyas (Shruta Kevali monks) compiled many more books to further explain the Anga Agam Sutras. All these books are called Agams or Agam Sutras and are considered the scriptures of the Jain religion. These Agam Sutras were passed on orally to future generations of ascetics, although over the course of time, some of the Agam Sutras were lost. Approximately one thousand years later, the memorized Agam Sutras were organized and recorded on tadpatris (palm leaves used as paper to preserve records for future references). Satya Achaurya Brahmacharya Celibacy Aparigraha Truthfulness Non-stealing Bhagawan Mahavir preached that Right Faith (Samyag-Darshan), Right Knowledge (Samyag-Jnan), and Right Conduct (Samyag-Charitra). Together form the real path to get rid of karmas which are attached to the soul. At the heart of right conduct, lie the five great vows: Ahimsa Non-violence Funeral pyre of Bhagawan Mahavir Not to cause harm to any living beings To speak only the harmless truth Not to take anything that is not properly given JAIN STORY BOOK Not to indulge in sensual pleasures Non-possession/Non-attachment Complete detachment from people and material things 21 Page #22 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART I TIRTHANKARS Jains hold these vows as the guiding principles of their lives. These vows can be fully implemented only with the acceptance of the philosophy of non-absolutism (Anekantavada). Monks and nuns follow these vows strictly and totally, while Shravaks and Shravikas (lay followers) follow the vows as far as their ability and desire permits. The ultimate objective of his teaching was how to attain total freedom from the cycle of birth and death and achieve a permanent blissful state. This blissful state is also known as liberation, Nirvana, absolute freedom or Moksha. This state is achieved when we get rid of all our karmas. We accumulate negative karma through our vices such as anger, ego, deceit, and greed. Under the influence of Karma, the soul seeks pleasure in materialistic belongings and possessions. This is the deep-rooted cause of selfishness, anger, hatred, greed, violent thoughts & deeds, and other such vices. These result in further accumulation of Karmas. If the principles of Jainism are properly understood and faithfully adhered to, they will bring contentment, inner happiness, and joy in the present life. This will elevate the soul in future reincarnations to a higher spiritual level, ultimately achieving perfect enlightenment. Significant points of the Teachings of Bhagawan Mahavir: Mahavir-swami made religion simple and natural, and free from elaborate ritual complexities. His teachings reflected the internal beauty and harmony of the soul. Mahavir-swami taught the significance of human life and stressed the importance of a positive attitude in life. Bhagawan Mahavir's message of non-violence (Ahimsa), truth (Satya), non-stealing (Achaurya), celibacy (Brahmacharya), and non-possession/non-attachment (Aparigraha) is full of universal compassion. Bhagawan Mahavir said, "A living body is not merely an integration of limbs and flesh, but it is the abode of the soul which has the potential for infinite knowledge (Anant-Jnan), infinite perception (Anant-Darshan), infinite happiness (Anant-Sukha), and infinite power and energy (Anant-Virya)." Mahavir's message reflects the freedom and spiritual joy of living beings. Mahavir-swami emphasized that all living beings, irrespective of their size, shape, form, and level of spiritual development are equal, and that we should love and respect them all. In this way, he preached the gospel of universal love. Mahavir rejected the concept of God as a creator, protector, and destroyer of the universe. He also denounced the worshiping of gods and goddesses as a means of material gain and personal benefit. Moral: In each incidence of difficulty, we see the conquest of Mahavir's soul and mind over his physical pain and suffering. His meditation and penance purified his soul. It helped him to separate himself from perishable and mortal worldly things, and concentrate on the liberation of his immortal soul 01 - Questions: 1. Name the previous lives of Bhagawan Mahavir. 2. Name the five kalyanaks of a Tirthankar. 3. How does the mother know that she will give birth to a Tirthankar? Describe in detail. 4. Describe an incident from Bhagawan Mahavir's childhood. 5. At what age did Bhagawan Mahavir take diksha, attain keval-jnan, and attain Nirvana? 6. Explain five of his teachings. 22 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #23 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ 02 - Bhagawan Adinath Time is infinite. The Jain time cycle has no beginning or end. It continuously migrates from periods of progress to periods of decline. According to Jain tradition, a period of progress, known as an Utsarpini or an ascending order, is marked with all-around improvement, including longer lifespan, greater prosperity, and overall happiness. On the other hand, a period of decline, known as an Avasarpini or a descending order, is marked with all-around deterioration and decline such as a shorter life span and general gloom. These two periods together make onetime cycle. Each Utsarpini and Avasarpini is divided into six eras called Aras, meaning the spokes of a wheel. We are currently in the fifth Ara of the Avasarpini period. It is also known as Dusham or Dukham (Unhappy) Ara. Hindu tradition calls it Kaliyuga. Until the end of the third Ara of the current Avasarpini, people led a natural and simple life. The population was small and nature provided all the necessities for human beings; trees provided shelter and enough leaves and bark for covering their bodies. With the help of the branches, they could erect huts for protection from rain and extreme weather. When they felt hungry, they could pick their food from the trees and bushes. There was enough flowing water for cleaning their bodies and quenching their thirst. As such, there was no struggle for existence or rivalry for survival, and people spent their lives in peace. 3112 zilpa kRSi masi vyApAra Go BHAGAWAN ADINATH aAiI 33 Rishabhadev teaching life skills and trade The people lived in tribes, each of which had a leader known as a Kulkar or King. Towards the end of the third Ara, there lived a Kulkar named Nabhiraya who managed his community peacefully. In due course, his beautiful wife, Queen Marudevi, gave birth to Rishabh. The world's conditions started changing after Rishabh was born. There was an increase in population and nature no longer remained as bountiful as it used to be. This gave rise to a struggle for the acquisition and accumulation of the necessities of life; the emotions of jealousy and envy arose. Nabhiraya, as the leader of the community, tried to restrain the struggle to the utmost possible extent. As Rishabh grew to be a bold, intelligent, and enthusiastic young man, Nabhiraya entrusted the management of the kingdom to him. Rishabh was a visionary, a thinker, and an inventor. He foresaw that the struggle for survival would become worse unless some system of producing the necessities of life was created. He realized that people could make an effort to obtain what they needed from nature instead of relying exclusively on natural bounties. He therefore evolved the art of crop cultivation and taught people how to grow food and fiber. Thus, he ushered in what we call the age of material civilization. To make the lives of people more comfortable, he taught them how to make utensils, cook food, build houses, make clothes, cultivate land, and raise animals like cows and horses. He also developed different arts and crafts to make a variety of articles from wood, metal, and stone. Due to his efforts, the first city, named Vinita and later known as Ayodhya, came into existence. JAIN STORY BOOK 23 Page #24 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART I TIRTHANKARS Rishabh sanctified the system of marriage and institutionalized family life, by marrying Sumangala, as well as a woman named Sunanda who had lost her husband. Thus, a social order evolved and Rishabh, as the first acknowledged ruler in human society, came to be known as King Rishabhadev. During his long rule, he laid down equitable rules and regulations for ensuring peace and safety within his realm. People of his kingdom's loved King Rishabhadev for providing peace and happiness. Rishabhadev had 100 sons; the eldest two were called Bharat and Bahubali. He also had two daughters, Brahmi and Sundari. These four children were experts in different arts and crafts. Bharat became a brave warrior and a capable ruler. Jain literature indicates that India was named "Bharat" after him. Bahubali, true to his name (Bahu means arm and Bali means mighty), was known for his exceptional arm strength. Brahmi evolved the art of writing and developed the Brahmi script in which most of the scriptures were written. Her sister, Sundari, cultivated an exceptional talent in mathematics. Rishabhadev was proud and happy of his achievements and felt content with his ruler ship. However, one day an incident occurred that changed his way of thinking. As he was watching a dance, the dancer suddenly collapsed and died. Rishabhadev was very disturbed by the sudden death and began pondering over the death of the dancer. He soon realized that every phenomenon and every situation in the universe undergoes changes-no situation remains permanent. Upon this realization, Rishabhadev (Adinath) decided to renounce worldly life in search of lasting happiness. He gave Bharat the city of Vinita, entrusted the city of Taxshila to Bahubali, and distributed the other parts of his vast kingdom to the remaining 98 sons. He then renounced all his possessions and became a monk in search of the ultimate truth. Four thousand of his associates and followers joined him in renouncing worldly life. Rishabhadev marrying Sunanda and Sumangala As a monk, Rishabhadev traveled from place to place. He remained in a state of continuous meditation, not thinking of food or water. However, his deep meditation meant that he could not guide his followers on how they should live their lives as monks. His followers were unable to fast like him, but they did not want to go back. They became confused as to how to behave and decided to live on fruits and vegetables obtained from the nearby jungles. After some time, Rishabhadev could see their miserable condition. Jain monks are not supposed to pick any fruits and vegetables from trees by themselves, but instead go to laypeople's houses for alms. He therefore decided to demonstrate the way a monk was supposed to live. He started going from house to house for alms in silence. However, people did not know what to offer Rishabhadev, their once beloved King. They offered him ornaments, their homes, and other valuable items, but no one thought of offering food. As a result, Rishabhadev had to continue fasting day after day. After fasting in this way for 400 days (thirteen months and nine days), Rishabhadev passed by a sugarcane farm located near the town of Hastinapur. The farm belonged to his great grandson, Shreyans, who chose to offer Rishabhadev sugarcane juice. Thus, Rishabhadev finally ended his long fast on the third day of the bright half of the month of Vaisakha. Known as Akshaya Tritiya, this day usually falls in the month of May. In commemoration of Rishabhadev's fast, people observe a similar austerity known as Varsitapa. As it is not possible for people to fast for 400 days, they fast on alternate days, and after 400 days they break their fast with sugarcane juice on Akshaya Tritiya (Akhatrij) day. 24 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #25 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ BHAGAWAN ADINATH After years of rigorous austerities and the search for truth, Rishabhadev attained Keval-jnan, or omniscience, on the 11th day of the dark half of Falgun (which usually falls in March). In order to guide people towards the right path, he established the fourfold religious order comprised of monks (Sadhus), nuns (Sadhvis), laymen (Shravaks), and laywomen (Shravikas). In this order, known as the Jain Sangh. Rushabhsen, the son of King Bharat, became the head of the monks and Brahmi and Sundari headed the order of nuns. As a founder of the religious order known as "Tirtha", Rishabhadev was the first Tirthankar of the current Avasarpini part of the time cycle. He is also known as Adinath (Adi means the first or the beginning and Nath means the Lord). After having founded the religious order, Rishabhadev lived long and taught the truth about everlasting happiness. Shreyans offering sugarcane juice to Rishabhadev Moral: Along with the rules of ascetic life, Bhagawan Rishabhadev taught the noble and moral ways of a householder's life. The popular Jain austerity, Varsitapa, commemorates his 400 days of fasting; based on the example of the Dana Dharma (donation of Shreyans. Offering pure food to a sadhu is considered one of the noblest acts for a layperson, so even if we cannot follow the ascetic life, we can show our reverence for those further on the path to liberation in this way. 02 - Questions: 1. What was life like before Rishabhadev was born? 2. What was life like after Rishabhadev was born? To help the people solve their problems, what did he teach them? 3. Who did Rishabhadev marry? How many children did he have? What were some of them known for? 4. After taking diksha with 4,000 associates and followers, what happened? What were the followers having difficulty with? 5. How did Rishabhadev teach them how to get food? What happened when he went for alms to householders? 6. Who finally gave him food? What did he get first? How long was his fast before he got food? 7. What is this long fast called and how is it followed today? JAIN STORY BOOK Page #26 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART I TIRTHANKARS 03-Bhagawan Mallinath A long time ago, King Mahabal ruled over the city of Veetshoka in the Mahavideha region of Jambudweep. King Mahabal had six very close childhood friends. The seven of them were so close that they did everything together. None of them would do anything without seeking the advice of the others. Prince Mahabal and six friends One day, a well-known Acharya named Dharmaghosh-suri came to Veetshoka. King Mahabal and his friends went to listen to his sermon and were very impressed. Mahabal realized that extreme misery and pain exists in living a worldly life, so he decided to renounce worldly life. Upon sharing his intentions with his friends, they agreed to do the same. His friends also renounced their worldly lives along with him. King Mahabal and his six friends became monks and disciples of Acharya Dharmaghosh-suri. As monks, these seven friends observed austerities, meditation and restraints together. However, during meditation, Mahabal felt an intense compassion and motherly love (Vatsalya Bhav) to help free every living being from suffering and to guide them towards liberation. Because of this intense compassion towards every living being, Mahabal acquired Tirthankar-Nam-Karma. At the same time, because of his intense motherly love, he acquired the karma that he would be born as a female in the future, according to Shvetambar tradition. However, Digambar tradition indicates that Mallinath was male. All seven friends continued to observe increasingly difficult austerities and remained in deep meditation throughout their lives. At the end of their lives, they all attained a heavenly abode. After completing their heavenly life spans, Mahabal and his six friends were born in different places as human beings. During this time King Kumbha was ruling over the city of Mithila, India. He had a queen named Prabhavati. While she was pregnant, she saw 14 (16 by the Digambar tradition) pious dreams indicating the arrival of a Tirthankar soul. Since Mahabal had earned the Tirthankar-Nam-Karma and a female gender karma, his soul descended into 26 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #27 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ BHAGAWAN MALLINATH the womb of Prabhavati and was born as Princess Malli. (The Digambar tradition believes that Tirthankar Mallinath was male). A few years later, Queen Prabhavati had a son named Malladin. The six friends of Mahabal were reborn as princes in different kingdoms. They eventually became powerful kings of the cities of Hastinapur, Ayodhya, Champa, Kashi, Kampilyapur, and Shravasti. All of these cities were located in the present states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. King Kumbha and Queen Prabhavati lovingly raised their children Malli and Malladin. Princess Malli was exceedingly charming and beautiful and grew up to be a very attractive girl. Malladin respected his older sister. King Kumbha wanted to give them the best education and therefore entrusted their training to highly respected teachers who taught them all the required arts and crafts. Princess Malli mastered all the fine arts and became a talented and accomplished princess. Malladin learned all the martial arts and became a bold and brave youth. At one point, King Kumbha decided to establish an art gallery in Mithila. A marvelous building was constructed for this purpose and all well-known artists were invited to make their artistic contribution to the gallery. One artist from Hastinapur possessed a special power to prepare an accurate portrait of anyone by merely seeing one part of his or her body. He once happened to see the toe of princess Malli and from that, he drew an accurate portrait of princess Malli on the wall. Even the smallest details were accurately portrayed. It was so lifelike that when prince Malladin came to see the gallery and looked at the portrait, he felt as if his sister were standing there and actually folded his hands as a token of respect. When he realized that it was merely a portrait, he was puzzled as to how the artist had obtained such minute details of his sister's body. He was told of the special power and the talent that the artist possessed. Although he recognized the rarity of this accomplishment, the prince also foresaw the dangers of such a talent. He therefore wanted to prevent the use of that special power. The artist was asked to abandon his art in return for a suitable reward. The artist refused and insisted upon his freedom of artistic expression. In order to prevent the misuse of the artist's talents, the prince ordered that the thumb of the artist be cut off; and the artist decided immediately to take revenge. The angry artist returned to Hastinapur without one thumb. He found another artist who could draw a portrait of princess Malli according to his instructions. In time he prepared an even more attractive portrait of Malli and presented it to the King of Hastinapur (who was Malli's close friend in a previous life). The King was very impressed by the portrait, fell in love with Malli, and decided to make princess Malli his wife. He sent a marriage proposal to King Kumbha of Mithila. In the same manner the kings of Ayodhya, Champa, Kashi, Kampilyapur and Shravasti also learned of the exceptional beauty of princess Malli and sent marriage proposals. After considering these proposals, King Kumbha did not find any of them suitable for Malli and rejected them all. This angered the six kings, who decided to conquer the city of Mithila together in order to get princess Malli. King Kumbha faced them with all his might but he could not withstand the combined strength of the invading forces. He retreated back to his kingdom and closed the gates of the city. The invading forces then laid siege on Mithila, but the city would not be able to withstand the siege for long. When princess Malli came to know of the situation, she contemplated on the issue. Gifted with an enlightened mind, she realized that the root cause of the problem lay in her earlier life. She recalled her life as King Mahabal and realized that due to their deep affection for her in their previous lives, all six of the kings even now desired to be near her. Malli decided that since she was the cause of the problem, she herself should find a solution. She requested her father not to worry and to leave everything to her. Upon remembering that the palace had a hall with six doors, Malli came up with a plan. Behind each door she arranged beautifully furnished rooms. The doors of the hall were fitted with a fine screen through which people sitting in the rooms could look into but not see what was happening in the other five rooms. Malli commissioned a statue of herself so lifelike that anyone looking at the statue would believe that it was the princess herself. The statue was hollow with a hole at the top which could be covered tightly. The statue was placed in the middle of the hall and a maidservant was asked to put a morsel of food twice a day within its cavity and then close its top immediately. JAIN STORY BOOK Page #28 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART I TIRTHANKARS ANTONASS UUUAAVAD NNNN SVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVVAVAVAU VIVA Six kings looking at the statue of Princess Malli Then, princess Malli requested her father to send invitations to all six kings to come to the hall to meet her. The plan was to invite them to the hall in the evening and have them wait in the room assigned to them. At the appropriate time, all of the kings came and occupied their respective rooms. As they glanced through the screen, they immediately noticed the beautiful statue of Malli. Each of them thought it was Princess Malli herself and anxiously waited to go inside. They also noticed that Malli was far more beautiful than they had expected and fell even more deeply in love with her. As they were waiting, princess Malli entered the hall through a secret tunnel and, standing behind the statue, opened the top of the cavity. The food that had been put in the statue had rotted and emitted a foul odor. The smell was so obnoxious that the kings had to cover their nose. Thereupon the real Malli presented herself and asked why they could not stand the smell of the person whom they loved so much. They admitted that they could not bear the foul odor. Malli then explained that the food she ate was the same food in the statue. The food in her body did not stink because her soul prevented the rotting. However, when her soul would leave the body, her body too would start to decay. It is the nature of the body to degenerate, decay, and disintegrate. Malli asked the kings, "What is the purpose of being attached to a body when it is destined to rot eventually? Is it not worthwhile to pursue something that will last forever?" 28 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #29 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ BHAGAWAN MALLINATH As the kings stood there in amazement, she explained that in their past lives they were seven very close friends who had done everything together. Upon hearing this, the kings recalled their past lives and what they had renounced. The seven of them now felt an acute sense of detachment for their short-lived worldly life. They all decided to renounce the world in order to enhance the spiritual pursuit that they had left undone in the earlier life. Very elaborate arrangements were made for the renunciation ceremony of Princess Malli. She gave up everything and adopted self-initiation at a place known as Sahasrabhavan. She destroyed all of her destructive Karma (Ghati Karmas that affect the nature and quality of the soul) in a very short time and attained keval-inan (omniscience) on the very same day, becoming the 19th Tirthankar of the Jain religion. Thereafter she traveled throughout the country for a long time to show the path of liberation to others. Ultimately, she attained liberation on Mount Sametshikhar. The Shvetambar tradition believes that Tirthankar Mallinath was a female and the other 23 Tirthankars were male. Idols of Tirthankars represent the qualities of the Arihantas and not their physical body. Hence, the physical appearance of the idols of all the Tirthankars is the same without any indication of male or female gender. Moral: This body is a mere vehicle, a vessel that holds the soul. When you die, your soul simply moves on to the next body, unless you have attained liberation from the cycle of birth and death. One needs to realize that this veil of skin and flesh is mortal. Physical beauty is deceptive and impermanent. Princess Malli made this point through the statue and the spoiled food. The importance of our human life is a means of attaining liberation from the cycle of birth and death. One needs to rise above the physical aspects of life and use this life to its fullest capacity to progress spiritually so that our souls can attain liberation. 03 - Questions: 1. Who was Bhagawan Mallinath in a previous life? Who and how were he and his friends influenced? 2. Who were princess Malli's parents? What did her father establish? What did the artist create and what happened to him? 3. What did the artist do after his thumb was cut off? 4. When princess Malli realized the problems created because of her, what did she do? 5. What did all the kings realize about their life and their bodies? 6. Which karmas do you have to destroy to attain keval-inan? Where did Bhagawan Mallinath attain nirvana? JAIN STORY BOOK Page #30 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART I TIRTHANKARS 04 Bhagawin Neminath A long time ago, the Yadava clan settled on the banks of the River Yamuna in India. The major centers of the Yadava community were Mathura and Sauripura, located in the present-day state of Uttar Pradesh. When the Yadava King Samudravijay ruled over Sauripura with his wife, Shivadevi, they had a son, Lord Neminath, and named him Nemkumar. Because his mother dreamt of a series of black jewels called Arista when he was in her womb, he is also known as Aristanemi. PLEAS Nemkumar's wedding procession King Vasudev, the younger brother of King Samudravijay, was the King of Mathura. He had two queens; Queen Rohini, who had a son named Balram (Padma), and Queen Devaki, who had a son named Shri Krishna. Both Balram and Shri Krishna were the ninth Baldev and Vasudev as per Jain tradition. Shri Krishna is also the incarnation of Lord Vishnu (God) in the Hindu religion. was very popular. Meanwhile, the whole area of central India had been disturbed due to the prevailing conspiracies among various kingdoms. King Kamsa and the oppressive King Jarasangh of Magadha, a Prativasudev by the Jain tradition, instigated the worst problems. 30 During this time, hunting was a favored sport and gambling was considered a respectable activity. Religious ceremonies included animal sacrifice, and a non-vegetarian diet In order to protect the people, various kings of the Yadava clan, including Samudravijay, Vasudev, Ugrasen, and Shri Krishna, migrated from Mathura and Sauripura to the West Coast of Gujarat, India. Shri Krishna constructed the large and beautiful town of Dvarka on the seacoast near the Raivatak (Girnar) Mountain. Its grand architecture and strong fortification made it heavenly, beautiful, and unconquerable. Ugrasen became the King of Junagadh, situated on the other side of the foothills of Mount Girnar. By his wife Dharini, he had a daughter named Rajimati or Rajul. She was a beautiful and graceful young girl and many princes were eager to marry her. However, when she came to know of Nemkumar, she became captivated and desired to marry him. King Ugrasen sent a request to Nemkumar for an engagement to Rajul. After considerable effort, friends and family persuaded Nemkumar to become engaged to Rajul. Everyone was happy, thinking that Nem and Rajul would make an ideal couple. The two were engaged and an auspicious day was fixed for their wedding ceremony. For King Ugrasen, the wedding of his beloved daughter was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and so he made elaborate wedding arrangements. On the wedding day, Nemkumar mounted his chariot, specially decorated for the wedding, and a large number of people gathered to witness the gorgeous wedding ceremony. However, as the procession JAIN STORY BOOK Page #31 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ BHAGAWAN NEMINATH NO was approaching its destination, Nemkumar heard the sobbing sounds of animals. Moreover, on the side of the road, he saw large fenced areas and cages full of wailing animals and birds. Filled with sympathy and compassion, Nemkumar asked the charioteer why those animals and birds were being kept in bondage. The charioteer informed him that the wailing sounds were coming from the birds and animals that were to be slaughtered for the wedding dinner. Upon hearing this, Nemkumar could not bear the idea COCO000000000/0 of violence being caused on the account of his wedding. He asked the charioteer to free all the animals and birds and started thinking about how to prevent such violence. "Can there be a way of life that would extend All the animals and birds are released at Nemkumar's request peace and security to every living being?" he asked himself. As he thought deep into the matter, it was clear to him that he should explore a way of life that promoted the well-being of all. He realized that after marriage, he might get too involved in worldly life and it would be hard for him to embark upon such an exploration. Since the present seemed like the right time for him to explore the truth that would lead to the happiness of every living being, he decided not to get married. Everyone on the bridegroom's side was taken aback by his decision. His friends and close relatives tried to dissuade him, but he calmly explained that his mission was to explore freedom from misery for all living beings. He further explained, "As these animals were prisoners in their cages, we all are prisoners in the cages of karma which are much stronger than these fences. The feeling of joy is evident in the animals released from the cages. Happiness is in freedom, not in bondage. I want to find the path to breaking this bondage of karma and embrace eternal bliss. Please do not stop me." Then, he asked the charioteer to turn back. After returning to his kingdom, Nemkumar spent a year donating all his belongings to the poor and the needy. At the end of the year, he left his royal palace and went to the nearby Raivata garden. Under an Ashok tree, he took off all his ornaments and royal dress and pulled out five fistfuls of hair, becoming an ascetic along with one thousand others. Shri Krishna, deeply touched, blessed his cousin and wished him success in his mission. Monk Nemkumar first went to Mount Girnar and entered intense meditation. As he stood motionless, trying to find the cause of all unhappiness, he realized that ignorance of the true nature of the Self led to wrong perception, and consequent wrong actions resulted in all sorts of misery and pain. He therefore dwelled deep on the Self. After spending fifty-four days in deep spiritual meditation at Mount Girnar, Neminath destroyed all his Ghati karmas, which were obscuring the true nature and power of the soul. He attained keval-inan and became an omniscient. He established the four-fold religious order (Chaturvidha Sangh or Tirtha) and became the twenty-second Tirthankar of the Jain religion. Thereafter, he lived a long life preaching the path of liberation to the common people. At the time when Neminath was deciding to renounce his worldly life, Rajul was being adorned by her girlfriends. She was eagerly waiting for the arrival of Nemkumar as the bridegroom when they heard the news that he had JAIN STORY BOOK Page #32 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART I TIRTHANKARS turned back. No one could understand his decision. Rajul was in utter grief. Her friends tried to console her in that hour of crisis. Some of them started cursing Nemkumar for putting their beloved friend in such a miserable condition, while others advised her to forget the unpredictable Nemkumar and look for another suitable match. However, in her heart, Rajul had accepted Nemkumar as her husband and she could not even think of any other person taking his place. She did not like Friends consoling Princess Rajul anyone cursing Nemkumar or speaking poorly of him. She also had some spiritual orientation. When she came to know of the reason for his renouncement, she was able to overcome her grief. She realized that Nemkumar had left for a commendable purpose. Appreciating his mission, she thought that the best path for her was to follow his footsteps. She absorbed herself in religious practices. When Rajul heard that Neminath had become an omniscient she went to the Samavasaran along with many of her friends and took Diksha. She absorbed herself in meditation and penance and spent the rest of her life as the head of the order of the nuns. In the end, after destroying all her karmas, she attained liberation. Moral: Compassion towards animals is the hallmark of Bhagawan Neminath's life story. Witnessing the killing and torture of animals on his account ignited his passion to search for a path that freed all from misery. Princess Rajul's story shows that she did not reproach him for his actions but followed him on his search for truth. One should never reproach another for right action. 04 - Questions: 1. Whom as prince Nemi engaged to? What did he hear and see when he came for the wedding? 2. What did he feel, think and say when all his relatives tried to stop him? 3. What did princess Rajul feel? What did she do? 32 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #33 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ BHAGAWAN PARSHVANATH 05-Bhagawan Parshvanath About 3000 years ago, King Ashvasen was ruling over the Kingdom of Varanasi, also known as Banaras, situated on the banks of the holy River Ganga. He was a benevolent and a popular ruler and lived peacefully with his queen, Vamadevi. On the 10th day of the dark half of the month of Margashirsh (which usually falls in December), Queen Vamadevi gave birth to a son. In memory of observing a passing snake during her pregnancy, her newborn son was named Parshva-kumar, because in the Sanskrit language 'Parshva' means "nearby or in the vicinity". Parshva grew up in the midst of wealth and happiness and became a very attractive young man known for his courtesy, bravery, and valor. Many kings were eager to have their daughters marry him, and eventually Prince Parshva-kumar was married to Prabhavati, a princess from a neighboring kingdom. The wedding ceremony was performed with much splendor and Parshva-kumar enjoyed a blissful married life with Prabhavati. Parshva kumar reciting the Namaskar Mangal Sutra to the half burnt snake In the vicinity, there lived a mendicant named Kamath. During his childhood he had lost his parents and was raised as an orphan. Disgusted with his miserable life he became a mendicant. As a mendicant, he had no material possessions and lived on the charity of others. He practiced severe penance and performed rituals called Panchagni (five fires). When he came to Varanasi to perform the ritual, many people were impressed by his penance and therefore worshipped him. When Parshva-kumar heard about Kamath's ritual, he realized the violence towards living beings involved in a fire. He came to Kamath and tried to dissuade him from lighting the sacrificial fire. Kamath denied that any life could be endangered by his ritual. However, by extra-sensory perception, Parshva-kumar sensed a snake trapped inside one of the burning logs. He asked his men to remove the log and carefully chop it open. To everyone's surprise, a half-burnt snake came out of the burning piece of wood. The snake was so badly burnt that it could not be saved. Parshva-kumar recited the Namokkar-mantra for the benefit of the dying snake. After death, the snake was reborn as Dharanendra, the King of gods of the Nag kumars (gods or angels that look like snakes) in heaven. JAIN STORY BOOK 33 Page #34 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART I TIRTHANKARS Observing the miseries that living beings had to experience in their worldly lives, Parshva-kumar developed a high degree of detachment towards worldly possessions and relationships. At the age of 30, he renounced all his possessions and family and Meghamali trying to cause distress to Bhagawan Parshvanath became a monk. Eventually, he was known as Parshvanath. He spent most of his time meditating in search of the ultimate truth. Once, while Parshvanath was in meditation, Meghamali saw him from heaven. He recalled how Parshva-kumar had interfered in his fire ritual in his earlier life and saw his chance for revenge. Using his supernatural powers, he brought forth all kinds of fierce animals such as elephants, lions, tigers, and snakes to attack monk Parshvanath. However, Parshvanath, immersed in deep meditation, remained peaceful and untouched. Meghamali tried a new tactic and brought forth heavy rains. The rainwater touched the feet of Parshvanath and started accumulating. The water rose up to his knees, then to his waist, and in no time it reached his neck, but Parshvanath remained focused meditation. At this event, instead of feeling remorse or pity for the snake, Kamath was very annoyed by the interference of Parshvakumar. Since he was powerless at that time, Kamath resolved to seek revenge. He began observing an even more severe penance and, at the end of his life, he was reborn in heaven as Meghamali, the god of rain. in 34 Dharanendra, the heavenly god, noticed the situation and realized that Parshvanath, his benefactor from his last life, was going to drown in the rising floodwater. Immediately, Dharanendra descended and created a lotus-form with his tail so that Parshvanath would float on the water (it also said that Dharanendra placed a quick growing lotus flower below Parshvanath's feet to make him float on the water). He then spread his fangs over the head and sides of Parshvanath in order to protect him from the Dharanendra protecting Bhagawan Parshvanath JAIN STORY BOOK Page #35 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ pouring rain. Dharanendra then severely reprimanded Meghamali for his wretched actions and asked him to stop the rain. All of Meghamali's efforts to harass Parshvanath had been in vain. He was disappointed, but then realized that he was unnecessarily creating trouble for the merciful Lord. He withdrew all his supernatural powers and fell at Parshvanath's feet with a sense of deep remorse, sincerely begging the Lord to forgive him for his evil acts. During that period of distress, Parshvanath had been deep in meditation. He had not been aware of Meghamali's attacks or Dharanendra's protection. Parshvanath had developed perfect equanimity, so he did not have any special affection for Dharanendra for the protection he had extended or hatred for Meghamali for the distress he had caused. He continued developing a higher purity of consciousness, ultimately attaining omniscience on the 84th day of his renunciation (the 4th day of the dark half of the month of Falgun, usually falling in April). After attaining omniscience, Parshvanath began preaching the true religion. He reinstated the Tirtha or religious four-fold order and became the twenty-third Tirthankar of the Jain religion. He had ten Ganadhars, or principal disciples, and eventually his parents and his wife, Prabhavati, renounced the world and became his disciples as well. Thereafter, he lived long enough to spread the true religion before attaining nirvana at the age of 100 at Sametshikhar, a hill in the state of Bihar and a famous Jain pilgrimage site. Moral: BHAGAWAN PARSHVANATH Parshva-kumar demonstrated a very keen sense of non-violence and detachment from all material possessions and from relationships with people. These are the qualities essential for attaining self-realization. He showed us that one should be detached and impartial regardless of whether a person is our well-wisher or enemy. We may not always know and understand the reason why a person behaves in a strange way towards us; it may be because of our karmas from a past life. 05 - Questions: 1. Describe the situation between Kamath and Parshva kumar. 2. Describe an incident in Bhagawan Parshvanath's life after he took diksha. 3. At what age and where did he attain Nirvana? JAIN STORY BOOK 35 Page #36 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ "External renunciation is meaningless if the soul remains fettered by internal shackles" Bhava-pahuda (13) Produced by JAINA Exhibition Committee Page #37 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Part II Ganadhars and Acharyas GAMAA GA SAR pa Page #38 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ "I do not favor Mahavir, nor am I prejudiced against Kapil. I would accept anyone's statement provided I find it true on the scale of logic" -Lokatva Nirnaya of Haribhadra Page #39 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ GANADHAR GAUTAM-SWAMI 06-Gandhar Gautam-swimi In 607 BCE, in a village named Gobar in the state of Magadha, lived a Brahmin couple named Vasubhuti and Prithvi Gautam. They had three sons: Indrabhuti, Agnibhuti and Vayubhuti. All three sons were well versed in the Hindu scriptures (Vedas) and were experts in the performance of Hindu rituals. They were great scholars at an early age, and each one of them had 500 disciples. Somil's Yajna Once, in the nearby city of Apapa, a brahmin named Somil organized a yajna (sacrificial ceremony). About 4,400 brahmins gathered for the occasion. Out of the eleven most popular scholars, Indrabhuti Gautam stood out as the head priest conducting the ceremony. Indrabhuti Gautam at Somil's yajna The whole town was excited by this event in which they planned to sacrifice sheep and goats. As Indrabhuti was about to begin his ritual, they noticed many celestial beings descending from heaven towards the sacrificial site. Thinking that this would make the sacrificial ceremony the most famous in history, Indrabhuti inwardly rejoiced, telling the people, "Look at the sky. Even the celestial beings are descending from heaven to bless us." Everyone eagerly looked up at the sky and awaited their arrival. To everyone's surprise, the celestial beings did not stop at their site. Instead, they continued past the site and headed towards the nearby Mahasen forest. Indrabhuti soon learned that the celestial beings were not coming for the yajna, but were going to pay homage to Bhagawan Mahavir, who had just attained Keval-jnan and was about to deliver his first sermon in the language of Ardha Magadhi or Prakrit. Indrabhuti was furious that the celestial beings would not pay their respects to his sacrificial rite. He angrily thought to himself, "Who is this Mahavir? He does not even use the rich Sanskrit language to deliver his sermon, but speaks the common people's language of Ardha Magadhi." He decided to debate with Mahavir in order to prove to the JAIN STORY Book 39 Page #40 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART II GANADHARS AND ACHARYAS celestial beings that he was more knowledgeable than Mahavir, and so he left the ritual with his 500 disciples to debate with Mahavir. Even though they had never met before, Mahavir immediately welcomed Indrabhuti by his name. At first, Indrabhuti was caught off guard, but then he thought, "Why shouldn't Mahavir know my name? I am Indrabhuti Gautam, the famous scholar." However, it was really Bhagawan Mahavir's omniscience (unbounded knowledge) that allowed him to recognize the Brahmin and know all of his thoughts. Mahavir knew that Indrabhuti had come to debate with him. He also realized that Indrabhuti had doubts about the existence of the soul, or Atma. Mahavir asked, "Indrabhuti, do you doubt the existence of soul?" Then he explained that the soul exists and is eternal. He provided the proper interpretation of the Hindu scriptures (Vedas) and convinced Indrabhuti that the soul does exist. Indrabhuti was shocked and surprised that Mahavir had known his doubts about the existence of the soul and the proper interpretation of his scriptures. Upon realizing how incomplete his knowledge had been, he felt awakened and refreshed and became Mahavir's first and chief disciple at the age of 50. From then on, he was called Bhagawan Mahavir answering queries of Gautam Gautam-swami, as he came from the swami Gautam family. Meanwhile, Somil and the other ten scholars were at the yajna waiting to greet the expected winner of the debate, Indrabhuti Gautam. However, they were stunned to learn that Indrabhuti had become a disciple of Mahavir. The other ten Brahmin scholars, with their disciples, immediately set out to debate with Mahavir and became his disciples, too. Dejected and abandoned, Somil cancelled the ceremony and set all the animals free. These eleven learned scholars became the main disciples of Lord Mahavir and are known as the eleven Ganadhars. This event occurred when Mahavir was 42 years old and had just attained omniscience. Mahavir lived for another 30 years. During that period, he continued to travel to different parts of the country in order to spread the message of compassion and explain the path of liberation. Anand Shravak's Clairvoyance Knowledge Gautam swami was living his life as a Jain monk, observing all the austerities and following the five great vows. Once, while returning from gochari (getting food or alms), he learned that many people were going to pay homage to Anand Shravak (a Jain layman). He also learned that Anand Shravak had attained clairvoyance knowledge, also known as Avadhi-jnan, by performing severe penance and austerities. Since Anand Shravak was one of Mahavir's followers, Gautam swami decided to visit him. When Anand saw Gautam swami approaching his house, he was very happy. He welcomed Gautam-swami, who inquired about Anand's health and asked about his special knowledge. Anand respectfully replied to Gautamswami, "Reverend Guru, I have attained Avadhi-jnan. With this knowledge, I can see as high as the first heaven 40 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #41 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ GANADHAR GAUTAM-SWAMI and as low as the first hell." Gautam swami explained to Anand, "A layman (Shravak) can attain Avadhi-jnan, but not to this magnitude. You need to do prayashchitta (atonement) for believing you can do this." Anand was puzzled. He knew that he was correct but his guru questioned his truthfulness and told him to repent for it. He therefore politely asked Gautam-swami, "Does one need to repent for speaking the truth?" Gautam swami was equally puzzled and replied, "No one has to repent for speaking the truth." Thinking that he would confirm this with Bhagawan Mahavir, Gautam swami left Anand. Gautam swami returned to Bhagawan Mahavir and asked about Anand's clairvoyance knowledge. Mahavir replied, "Gautam, Anand was telling the truth. He can see as high as the first heaven and as low as the first hell. Rarely can a layman attain such a level of Avadhi-jnan. You should repent for your mistake of doubting him." Gautam swami set aside his alms and immediately returned to Anand and asked for his forgiveness. Offering Food to 1500 Hermits On another occasion, Gautam swami went to a temple on Mount Ashtapad to pay homage to the 24 Tirthankars. The mountain was very difficult to climb. At the foothill of the mountain, fifteen hundred hermits were trying to climb the mountain but were unsuccessful. Upon seeing Gautam swami complete this difficult journey, they were very impressed and decided to be his disciples immediately. Gautam swami preached to them about true religion and the correct ways of penance and accepted them as his disciples. All fifteen hundred hermits became Jain monks. Gautam swami offering kheer to 1500 hermits from a small bowl Gautam swami realized that they were hungry and offered them kheer (rice pudding) from a small patra (bowl). They began to wonder how Gautam swami would feed all of them, but Gautam swami requested all the hermits to sit down. Since he possessed a special power called Akshin-mahanasi Labdhi (non-diminishing power), he served everyone kheer from his small bowl. While serving kheer, he kept his thumb in the bowl, invoking the power. To everyone's surprise, the kheer in this small patra was able to serve all of them well. JAIN STORY BOOK 41 Page #42 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART II GANADHARS AND ACHARYAS Gautam-Swami's Keval-Jnan As time passed, all the disciples of Gautam swami attained keval-jnan, the ultimate knowledge. However, Gautam swami was still unable to attain it. He became worried that he might not attain keval-jnan in this life. One day, Gautam swami asked Lord Mahavir, "Ten other scholars joined me on the day that I accepted diksha and all eleven of us became your disciples. Nine of them have attained keval-jnan. All of my disciples have attained Keval-jnan. Why am I so unlucky that I am not able to attain keval-jnan?" Lord Mahavir replied, "Gautam, it is because you have too much affection for me. In order to attain keval-jnan you must overcome all types of attachment, including attachment to your beloved Guru. Until you give up your attachment towards me, it will not be possible for you to attain keval-jnan." Gautam-Swami attaining keval-jnan On the day that Lord Mahavir was going to attain nirvana (liberation), he sent Gautam swami to a nearby village to preach to a man named Devsharma. On his way back, Gautam swami learned that Lord Mahavir had attained nirvana. He lapsed into a state of shock and sorrow, "Lord Mahavir knew that this was his last day on Earth. Why did he send me away?" Gautam swami could not stop his tears. He also thought, "I could not attain keval-jnan while Mahavir was alive. Now there is no hope of attaining keval-jnan because he is gone forever." However, within a few minutes he realized his error and began thinking, "No one can live forever. No relationship is permanent. Why am I so attached to Lord Mahavir?" He realized that he was wrong and gave up his attachment towards Lord 42 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #43 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ GANADHAR GAUTAM-SWAMI Mahavir. During this deep thinking, he destroyed his ghati karmas and immediately attained keval-jnan at the age of eighty. He attained nirvana at the age of ninety-two in 515 BCE. Lord Mahavir attained nirvana on the last day of the Jain and Hindu calendar, known as Deepavali or Diwali. Gautam swami attained Keval-jnan on the first day of the New Year. Moral: Gautam-swami was a Brahmin by birth and a very well learned Pundit. When he met Bhagawan Mahavir and realized that Mahavir was far more knowledgeable and spiritually advanced than him, he let go of his ego and became his disciple. Mahavir valued truth and would never conceal the mistake of his disciple to protect his own image. At the same time, Gautam-swami did not have an ego that would prevent him from going and asking for forgiveness for his acts towards others. However, because of his attachment for Mahavir-swami, he took a long time to achieve omniscience even though many other disciples had attained it much earlier. In Jainism, attachment to any individual is considered a passion. To attain omniscience, one must get rid of all passions. When Gautam-swami realized this and became detached, he attained keval-jnan. 06 - Questions: 1. What happened at Somil's yajna? 2. How did Gautam swami feed 1500 hermits? 3. What did Gautam swami not achieve? Why? 4. Just before Mahavir swami attained Nirvana where did he send Gautam swami? Why? 5. What happened in the end? Which was the last ghati karma that Gautam swami lost? JAIN STORY BOOK 43 Page #44 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART II GANADHARS AND ACHARYAS 07-Ganadhar Sudharma-swami Ganadhars are the immediate disciples of a Tirthankar. Bhagawan Mahavir had eleven Ganadhars. All of Bhagawan Mahavir's monks were divided into 11 groups and each group was placed under a Ganadhar. When Bhagawan Mahavir attained Nirvana, only two of the eleven Ganadhars were still living, the first Ganadhar, Gautamswami and the fifth Ganadhar, Sudharma-swami. Of the two, Gautam swami attained keval-jnan the day after Mahavir's nirvana. It is a Jain tradition that a kevali monk or nun remains in a meditative state for the rest of his/her life and does not provide a leadership role to other monks. Hence, Sudharma-swami became the leader of all of the ascetics and the entire Jain community. Ganadhar Sudharma-swami Sudharma-swami was the son of a learned Brahmin named Dhammil and his wife Bhaddila. They lived in a village called Kollag, now known as Kollua, in the state of Bihar. Dhammil and Bhaddila had both been longing for a child, and Bhaddila worshipped goddess Saraswati (goddess of knowledge) faithfully. It is said that the goddess, pleased by her devotion, blessed Bhaddila by promising her a highly accomplished son. Soon after that, Bhaddila became pregnant, and in due course gave birth to a son named Sudharma. He was born in 607 BCE, making him eight years older than Lord Mahavir. Sudharma grew up under the loving care of his parents. At an appropriate age, he went to a well-known Ashram (boarding school), where he diligently studied the Vedas, Upanishads, and all other Hindu (Brahmanical) pieces of literature. By the time he returned from school, he was famous and well respected as a learned brahmin pundit. 44 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #45 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ GANADHAR SUDHARMA-SWAMI He then started his own school, which became a center of great learning. Over 500 pupils from all over the country came to study under his tutelage. As a well-known Brahmin scholar, Sudharma was invited to the same yajna conducted by Somil over which Indrabhuti was to preside. After Indrabhuti left to debate with Mahavir, his brothers and other eminent attendees left as well, one by one becoming Mahavir's disciples. Soon, it was Sudharma's turn. Sudharma believed that every living being would reincarnate into its own species. In other words, human beings would be reborn only as human beings. His theory was based on the analogy of plant life. An apple tree produced seeds from which only other apple trees could grow, so living beings should only reincarnate into the same species. Bhagawan Mahavir welcomed him too and understood his thoughts. He calmly and patiently explained to Sudharma that human beings could be reincarnated as humans or heavenly beings or even as animals depending upon their karma. He addressed all of Sudharma's doubts and explained to him the theory of karma. Sudharma saw the wisdom of Bhagawan Mahavir's words and was convinced by the explanation, and he too became a disciple of Bhagawan Mahavir along with his five hundred disciples. As a ganadhar of Bhagawan Mahavir, he came to be known as Sudharma-swami. In the following years, Sudharma swami always sat in front of Mahavir during his discourses and carefully listened to everything Bhagawan Mahavir had to say. This enabled him to compose Mahavir's teachings in the form of Jain scriptures known as Agams. After Mahavir's nirvana in 527 BCE, the leadership of the Jain order was left to Sudharma-swami. During the next 12 years in which he remained at the helm, he efficiently managed the Jain order set up by Bhagawan Mahavir and spread his message far and wide. Shvetambar tradition believes that during this period of his stewardship, Sudharma-swami organized Bhagawan Mahavir's teachings into 12 scriptures, known as the 12 Anga Agams. These original scriptures (Agams), are collectively known as Dwadshangi. Dwadasha means 12, and Anga means limb (part). Many of the Agams are composed in the form of questions asked by Jambuswami (Sudharma-swami's disciple) and replies given by Sudharma-swami which are representative of Bhagawan Mahavir's words. Sudharma-swami attained omniscience in 515 BCE and attained nirvana in 507 BCE at the age of 100. After attaining omniscience, the religious order was entrusted to his principal disciple, Jambuswami. Moral: Jainism has deep roots and we practice it based on the scriptures that have been passed down for many generations. The scriptures known as Agams, compiled by the ganadhars, comprise of the preaching of Mahavir-swami. We do not have the benefit of the presence of such great monks as Gautam-swami and Sudharma-swami in this era, but we do have the benefit of learning those principles from the scriptures. Thus, we should take advantage of the scriptures that have been passed down through many generations. 07 - Questions: 1. Who became the leader of all the ascetics after Bhagawan Mahavir's nirvana? Why? 2. What happened under his stewardship? JAIN STORY BOOK 45 Page #46 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART II GANADHARS AND ACHARYAS 08 - Revali Jambuswami During the time of Mahavir-swami, there lived a wealthy merchant named Rushabhadatt in the city of Rajgrihi. In 542 BCE, his wife Dharini gave birth to a very handsome son whom they named Jambu. He grew up to be a very bright and intelligent young man well-liked by everyone. When he became older, many families were eager to have their daughters marry him. It was a normal practice in those days for a man to have more than one wife, so his parents selected 8 girls from reputed families. Jambu was duly engaged to all of them. It was a joyous time for all. One day, Mahavir-swami's ganadhar, Sudharma-swami, came to Rajgrihi to deliver a sermon and Jambu attended the assembly. The sermon encouraged him to develop a very high sense of detachment towards worldly objects and family members and he decided to renounce his worldly life. However, Jambu's parents were dismayed to hear of his intentions to renounce the world at such a young age. The parents of the eight girls who were engaged to Jambu were also very worried that no one else would marry their daughters because of their engagement to Jambu. They all tried to convince Jambu to relinquish his plans of becoming a monk, telling him that the rigors of an ascetic life would pose a challenge for him and that he did not realize what he was sacrificing. They advised him to live a comfortable family life, reminding him of his obligations towards them and his future wives. Jambu patiently listened to them, but he remained firm in his decision. Finally, the parents made one last effort to persuade him. Thinking that Jambu would change his mind after being married, they requested that he get married before they gave their blessing for his renunciation. Jambu agreed to get married with one condition: he would become an ascetic the day after his marriage. His parents agreed to this condition since they thought he would fall in love with the girls once he was married and would give up the idea of renouncing the world. The wedding took place on a grand scale. Jambu's parents and those of the girls vied with each other to show their prosperity. Highly distinguished guests graced the occasion. The jewelry and other precious gifts showered upon the newlyweds were the envy of everyone in attendance. Rajgrihi had rarely witnessed such pomp and splendor. Everyone congratulated Jambu for marrying such beautiful and glamorous wives and wished him great happiness. Jambu spent that night in an elegantly decorated bedroom with his wives. However, he was unaffected by the glamour of the wedding and the beauty of his wives. He had firmly decided to renounce the world the next day and wanted to make use of Kumar Jambu preaching to his wives the night to orient his wives for spiritual pursuit, so he began explaining the transitory nature of life and the miserable nature of worldly relationships. While Jambu was engrossed in a discussion with his wives, a famous burglar named Prabhav and his 500 followers entered the palace. Once the prince of Vindhya, a neighboring city, Prabhav had a disagreement with his parents and left his palace, becoming a thief and a leader of 500 devout followers. Prabhav had acquired special skills that were very useful for his current profession. He could put anyone into a deep sleep and could break any lock. Upon hearing of Jambu's wedding, Prabhav had come to town to steal the fabulous treasures accumulated. He used his skills to put everyone in the palace into a deep sleep and opened the locks. Then, he along with his 500 followers quickly entered the palace to steal the wedding treasures. But as Prabhav approached Jambu's suite, he heard Jambu talking to his wives. Somehow, his power did not affect them! He came closer to the door in an effort 46 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #47 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ KEVALI JAMBUSWAMI to listen closely. To his utter astonishment, Jambu was talking about renunciation and the misery associated with worldly life. His words were so powerful that Prabhav became interested and continued listening. He pondered over the irony of how hard he worked to steal wealth, while the owner of such wealth was planning to renounce everything. Jambu continued to preach to his wives, and Prabhav quietly listened to the conversation. His men finished stealing from the rest of the palace and urged Prabhav to finish the job of stealing the jewelry located in Jambu's bedroom so they could leave before the guards discovered them. By now, Prabhav had lost his desire for wealth, had developed a disdain for the life of a burglar, and was ready to change. He told his followers that he had decided to give up burglary. They were free to go on their own. However, they said that they would not go anywhere without him. If he gave up robbing and stealing, they would also give it up. When Jambu finished the religious discussion with his wives, all eight of his wives were ready to renounce the world. At this time, Prabhav came inside and said that he had come there to steal, but had decided to renounce everything after listening to Jambu's talk with his wives. He and his 500 followers made up their mind to become Jambu's disciples. The next morning, the citizens of Rajgrihi awoke to some surprising news. Jambu, his eight wives, the famous thief Prabhav, and his 500 followers were ready to renounce their worldly lives that day. Jambu's parents were at first saddened and disappointed that their wish had not materialized, but they quickly realized the importance of Jambu's message and decided to join him. Hearing the news and understanding the message, the parents of the eight brides also renounced the world. A spectacular procession followed Jambu on his way to see Sudharma-swami. Jambu bowed to Sudharma-swami and became his disciple. Prabhav and his colleagues became Jambu's disciples as well. Jambuswami studied the entire teachings of Lord Mahavir. Most of the original Jain scriptures (12 Anga Agams) are composed in the form of dialogues between Sudharma-swami and Jambuswami. Jambuswami became the head of the religious order when Sudharma-swami attained omniscience. He remained the head of the Jain order for 44 years and then attained Keval-jnan. He was the last omniscient (Kevali) of the current time cycle. He attained nirvana at the age of 80. Moral: Jambuswami firmly believed in renouncing the worldly life from the moment he listened to the sermon of Sudharma-swami. In fact, his thoughts were so convincing that he ultimately led hundreds of others to follow him in their pursuit of liberation through the disciplined life of an ascetic. He realized that material happiness and enjoyment of physical beauty is all superficial and temporary. Also noteworthy was the burglar's decision to change his life from that of immorality to that of purity. The key is to focus on purifying the soul and helping others do the same. 08 - Questions: 1. Who influenced Jambu to renounce his worldly life? 2. What did his parents insist he do before he renounced his worldly life? What did they hope would happen? 3. What happened that night? Who heard him and how did Jambu's words influence him? 4. How are the original scriptures composed? 5. How long was he the head of the Jain order? JAIN STORY BOOK 47 Page #48 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART II GANADHARS AND ACHARYAS 09 - Acharya Sthulibhadra The kingdom of Magadha, in the state of Bihar, possessed a long and rich history. During Mahavir's time, it was ruled by King Shrenik of the Shishunag dynasty. This dynasty ended with the death of Shrenik's great-grandson Udayi. Magadha then passed into the hands of the Nanda dynasty. Nine generations later, Dhananand ascended the throne. This was around 300 BCE, about 200 years after Lord Mahavir's nirvana. The greedy Dhananand was far from being a just and noble ruler. He had heard a legend about hidden treasure that belonged to one of his predecessors and was desperate to get his hands on it. Unfortunately, he had no idea where this treasure was hidden. However, he knew that the old Prime Minister Shaktal, who had served his father, had knowledge of the treasure's whereabouts. Dhananand therefore tried everything he could to get the information from the prime minister and locate the treasure, but Shaktal refused to provide any information about the whereabouts of this treasure. The King therefore forced him to retire and the administration was entrusted to other ministers. Kumar Sthulibhadra enjoying Kosha's Shaktal was a wise, highly respected person in the kingdom. Many scholars and high ranking officials admired him and were eager to consult him on important matters. However, they avoided communicating with him because they feared that the King would not approve. 48 Shaktal had seven daughters and two sons, Sthulibhadra and Shriyak. Sthulibhadra was smart, brilliant, and handsome, but unambitious. From a very young age, Sthulibhadra had watched the performance of a beautiful dancer named Kosha in Patliputra, the capital city of Magadha. Eventually, they fell in love. Though his family disapproved, Sthulibhadra was deeply in love and left home at the young age of 18 to live with Kosha. He was infatuated with her and abandoned all interest in his career and other family members. King Dhananand had intended to appoint him to a high position in the court, but Sthulibhadra declined the offer. The King therefore appointed his younger brother, Shriyak, to the position. As time passed, things began to look grim for Dhananand's reign. The citizens of Magadha witnessed major political upheavals and turmoil. People felt dissatisfied with the current regime and looked for the end of the Nanda dynasty. King Dhananand felt insecure and was suspicious of all his ministers and advisors, including Shriyak and his father Shaktal. dance Aware that the King was very suspicious of him, Shaktal became worried about the political future of his younger son. Shaktal therefore decided to sacrifice his life in order to provide proof of Shriyak's loyalty to the King. He requested his son, Shriyak, to kill him in the presence of the King and other ministers. This way, the King would have proof that Shriyak was a very loyal minister. Prior to the execution, he explained to Shriyak that he would swallow some poison so that Shriyak would not truly (morally and religiously) be responsible for his father's death. Meanwhile, the King would feel that Shriyak was very loyal to him because he had seemingly killed his own father for the King. Thus, Shaktal died seemingly at the hands of his own son in order to prove his son's loyalty. When Sthulibhadra learned about that tragic event, he was taken aback. By that time, he had spent twelve years with Kosha and had never cared for anyone else. His father's death opened his eyes, and he started reflecting on his past. "Twelve long years of my youth! What did I get during this long period?" Sthulibhadra realized that in his youth he had not acquired anything that would endure. The tragic death of his father brought home the reality that JAIN STORY BOOK Page #49 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ ACHARYA STHULIBHADRA all life comes to an end. "Is there no way to escape death?" he asked himself. "What is the nature of life after all? Who am I, and what is my mission in life?" Thinking deep into these questions, he realized that the body and all worldly aspects are transitory and physical pleasures do not lead to lasting happiness. He looked at his image in the mirror and noticed the unmistakable marks of a lustful life. Having realized that he was wasting his youth, he decided to search for lasting happiness. He left Kosha and went straight to Acharya Sambhutivijay, the sixth successor to Lord Mahavir. Surrendering himself to the Acharya, he said that he was sick of his lustful lifestyle and wanted to do something worthwhile with his life. The Acharya considered his request carefully. Here was a young man of thirty who seemed to have lost the vigor of youth. The lustful life he had led had taken a toll on his body, but the brightness inherited from his illustrious father still glowed on his face. Seeing Sthulibhadra's determined and humble state, the learned Acharya saw in him a great future for the religious order and accepted him as his pupil. Sthulibhadra quickly adjusted to the new pattern of his life. The ambition that he had lacked in his youth soon emerged in his adulthood. Keen to make up for lost years, he devoted all of his energy to spiritual upliftment. He worked diligently, and in no time gained the confidence of his guru. He had successfully overcome his senses of attachment and lustfulness and gained control over his inner enemies. It was time for his faith to be tested. The monsoon season was approaching and the monks had to settle in one place during the rainy season which generally lasted four months in the Indian climate. Sthulibhadra and three other sadhus who had attained a high level of equanimity wanted to test their faith and determination by spending this time under the most adverse conditions. Each one chose the most adverse conditions for themselves. One of them requested SHOX permission from his Acharya to stay at the entrance of a lion's den. Another wanted Kumar Sthulibhadra's life from falling in love with Kosha, spending to spend the time near a 12 years of his youth with her and later being able to spend a snake's hole. The third monsoon at her house with total detachment wanted to spend the four months on top of an open well. The Acharya knew that they were capable of withstanding these hardships and permitted them to do this. However, Sthulibhadra humbly asked to spend the monsoon in the picture gallery of the residence of Kosha. The Acharya knew how difficult this test would be for Sthulibhadra, but he also knew Sthulibhadra's determination and felt that spiritually, the monk would not progress any further without passing this test. Therefore, he permitted Sthulibhadra to spend the monsoon at Kosha's house. Sthulibhadra approached Kosha and asked her for permission to stay in the picture gallery during the monsoon season. Kosha was surprised to see him. He had left her in such an ambivalent state that she had not been sure if she would ever see him again. By this time, she was missing him and was happy to see him again, not knowing the true purpose of his return. For that monsoon season, both had different goals. Kosha endeavored to win him back into her life, using all her seductive skills. She felt that having him live in her picture gallery was to her advantage. In contrast, Sthulibhadra's goal was to overcome the strong temptation of Kosha's beauty. Who would win? Sthulibhadra's strong faith and determination served him well during this test. He focused his mind on spiritual meditation, contemplating the transitory nature of life and the need to break away from the cycle of birth and death. Ultimately, Kosha realized the wastefulness of her life and became his disciple. Sthulibhadra emerged spiritually stronger from this experience. JAIN STORY BOOK Page #50 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART II GANADHARS AND ACHARYAS At the end of the monsoon all the monks returned and described their experience. The first three monks described their success and they were congratulated. But when Sthulibhadra reported the success of his test, the Acharya actually rose from his seat in all praise and hailed Sthulibhadra for performing a formidable task. The other monks became jealous. Why was Sthulibhadra's feat so much more impressive than theirs? After all, they had endured physical hardships while he had spent the monsoon in comfort and security. The Acharya explained that it was an impossible feat for anyone else. The first monk then boasted that he could easily accomplish the same task the following monsoon. The Acharya tried to dissuade him from his intent, knowing that it was beyond his capability. The monk, wanting to prove his spiritual strength to the Acharya, persisted and was reluctantly given permission for the next monsoon season. The next monsoon, the monk went to Kosha's place. The immodest pictures in the gallery were enough to excite him. When he saw the glamorous Kosha, his remaining resistance melted away and he begged for her love. After seeing the pious life of Sthulibhadra, Kosha had learned the value of an ascetic life. In order to teach the monk a lesson, she agreed to love him only if he gave her a diamondstudded garment from Nepal, a town 250 miles north of Patliputra. The monk was so infatuated that he left immediately for Nepal, forgetting that monks were not supposed to travel during the monsoon. With considerable difficulty, he procured the garment and returned to Patliputra, confident of receiving Kosha's love. Kosha accepted the beautiful garment, wiped her feet on it and threw it away in the trash. The monk was stunned. He asked, "Are you crazy, Kosha? Why are you throwing away the precious gift that I have brought you with so much difficulty?" Kosha replied, "Why are you throwing away the precious life of monkhood that you have acquired with so much effort?" The humbled monk realized his foolishness and returned to his Acharya to report his miserable failure. From that day onwards, there was immense respect for Sthulibhadra throughout the community. The monk was unable to stay detached seeing Kosha's beauty and forgot his vows in the hope of receiving Kosha's love Sthulibhadra played a major role in later years preserving the oldest Jain scriptures, known as the twelve Anga Agams and the fourteen purvas. Jain history indicates that Acharya Bhadrabahu, the successor of Acharya Sambhutivijay as the head of the religious order, was the last monk to have complete knowledge of all the Jain scriptures. Both Acharya Sambhutivijay and Acharya Bhadrabahu had been the disciples of Acharya Yashobhadra. In those days, the Jain scriptures were memorized and passed down orally from guru to disciple. They were not documented in any form. Under the leadership of Acharya Bhadrabahu, Sthulibhadra thoroughly studied eleven of the twelve Anga Agams. However, an extended famine prevented Sthulibhadra from studying the twelfth Anga Agam, known as Drashtivad, which contained the 14 purvas. During the famine, Acharya Bhadrabahu-swami migrated south with 12, 000 disciples. Acharya Sthulibhadra succeeded him as the leader of the monks who stayed behind in Patliputra. The hardships of the famine made it difficult for the monks to observe their code of conduct properly. In addition, many of the monks' memories failed them and many parts of the Anga Agams were forgotten. The famine lasted for twelve years. After the famine, Sthulibhadra decided to recompile the Jain scriptures. A convention was held in Patliputra under the leadership of Acharya Sthulibhadra. Eleven of the twelve Anga Agams were orally recompiled at the convention, but none of the monks at the convention could remember the twelfth Anga Agam and its 14 purvas. Only Acharya Bhadrabahu swami had this knowledge; he had left southern India and was now in the mountains of Nepal to practice a special penance and meditation. The Jain sangh therefore requested Sthulibhadra and some other learned monks to go to Acharya Bhadrabahu-swami and learn the twelfth Agam. 50 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #51 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Several monks undertook the long journey, but only Sthulibhadra reached Nepal. He began to learn the twelfth Anga Agam and its 14 purvas under Acharya Bhadrabahu. Once, Sthulibhadra's sisters, who were nuns, decided to visit him in Nepal. At this time, Sthulibhadra had completely learned 10 of the 14 purvas. He wanted to impress them with the miraculous power he had acquired from learning the 10 purvas and knowledge from the twelfth Agam. Therefore, he transformed his body into a lion and waited for them to arrive. When his sisters entered the cave, they found a lion instead of their brother. Fearful of what may have happened to him, they went directly to Bhadrabahu swami. Acharya Bhadrabahu realized what had happened and asked the sisters to go back to the cave again. This time, Sthulibhadra had resumed his original form and the sisters were joyful to see him alive and well. However, Bhadrabahu swami was disappointed because Sthulibhadra had misused his special powers for such a trivial purpose. He felt that Sthulibhadra was not mature enough in his spiritual progress and therefore refused to teach him the remaining four purvas. A chastised Sthulibhadra tried to persuade him to reconsider, but Bhadrabahu swami was firm. It was only when the Jain sangh requested Acharya Bhadrabahu to reconsider his decision that Sthulibhadra was allowed to learn the remaining four Purvas. But Acharya Bhadrabahu attached two conditions for Sthulibhadra: * He would not teach Sthulibhadra the meaning of the last four Purvas * Sthulibhadra could not teach those four purvas to any other monk ACHARYA STHULIBHADRA Sthulibhadra agreed and learned the remaining four purvas. Since Jain scriptures were not written down and Acharya Sthulibhadra made significant efforts to save them after the famine, his name stands very high in the history of Jainism. Even today, his name is recited next to Lord Mahavir and Gautam swami by the Shvetambar tradition. Moral: It is never too late to set high goals in life, and with determination, there is no adversity too difficult to overcome. Though he was 30 at the time and had wasted 12 years of his life, Sthulibhadra renounced the world and successfully pursued an austere spiritual life. With resolve, he also conquered his biggest inner enemy, desire, by returning to the place where his desire had previously gotten the best of him. Ultimately, he became a famous Jain saint whose name is still repeated in prayers for his great religious work 09 - Questions: 1. How and where did Sthulibhadra spend his youth? 2. What incident affected him? How did it affect him? What did he do? 3. Where did he spend his monsoon? Why? What happened? 4. Who had complete knowledge of all the Jain scriptures? 5. Why did Sthulibhadra go to Nepal? What did he learn there? 6. How did he misuse his powers? What happened as a result of the misuse of power? JAIN STORY BOOK 51 Page #52 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART II GANADHARS AND ACHARYAS 10- Acharya Kunda-kunda mangalam bhagavana viro, mangalam gautamo gani | mangalam kundakundaryo, jaina dharmostu mangalam || Bhagawan Mahavir is auspicious; Ganadhar Gautam Swami is auspicious; Acharya Kunda-kunda is auspicious; Jain religion is auspicious. Acharya Kunda-kunda is one of the most famous Jain Acharyas. As a descendant of Bhadrabahu-swami, he was born around the beginning of the first century A.D. in a place named Konda-konda in southern India. Kunda-kunda belonged to an ancient order called the Nandi Sangh, wherein most monks assumed names ending in "Nandi". His official name after becoming a Jain monk was Padma-nandi, but he is better known by the place of his origin. Punya-Shravak Katha Kosha mentions that in his previous life, Kundakunda was a cowherd who had found and preserved ancient texts and had been blessed by a wandering monk. Acharya Kunda-kunda's intense learning and moral character attracted royal disciples such as King Shiva kumar. Acharya Kunda-kunda The story of Kunda-kunda is also surrounded by legends - it is said that he could walk on air. But his influence extends far beyond Jainism. In ancient India, philosophical debates were a standard feature of intellectual life. To these, Kunda-kunda brought concise and systematized aphorisms, greatly adding to Jain literature. He used existing literary structures to explain Jainism's most advanced scientific principles such as atomic structure, cosmic dimensions, the cosmic ethers, and psychology. Hindu and Buddhist thinkers were challenged to respond to his explications of Jain philosophy and conduct. Thus, Kunda-kunda elevated the level of scholarship and debate in India's overall philosophical discourse. 52 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #53 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ ACHARYA KUNDA-KUNDA A great organizer of the highly complex concepts of Jain philosophy, Kunda-kunda wrote five renowned books: Samayasar (Treatise on the True Self) Pravachanasar (Treatise of Preaching) Niyamasar (Treatise on Rules of Conduct) Panchastikaya (Treatise on Five Universal Substances) Ashta-pahuda (Eight Steps), a collection of eight texts All of his works are written in an ancient dialect known as Saurseni Prakrit, similar to Ardha-Magadhi Prakrit. The organizing of Jain ideas into certain relationships and structures, taken for granted in recent centuries, was a product of his thought. So extraordinary was this idea that many other books written in this style by his pupils and other Jain scholars are popularly ascribed to him. In the Digambar tradition, he is praised immediately after Lord Mahavir and the preceptor Gautam swami in the auspicious blessing (Mangalacharan) prayer. Some Jains of the Digambar tradition dub their tradition Kunda-kunda Anvaya (the order of Kunda-kunda). However, scholars of all sects study his books with deep veneration. Acharya Kunda-kunda has been called "Light of this Dark Age". Several commentaries on his Samayasar have been written in Sanskrit and in modern languages. In recent centuries, the Samayasar has greatly moved leaders and scholars like Banarasi Das, Taran swami, Shrimad Rajchandra and Gurudev Shri Kanji Swami. Today, in the southern state of Tamilnadu in India, on a large stone under a certain Champa tree on the hill Ponnur Malai, pilgrims may stumble upon an engraved pair of footprints (Charan). These footprints are symbolic of a thinker who, nearly two thousand years ago, composed some of Jainism's most influential philosophical books Moral: Kunda-kundacharya elevated the level of scholarship and debate in India's overall philosophical discourse. Kunda-kundacharya has been called "Light of this Dark Age". Some of his well-known works are Samayasar, Panchastikaya, Pravachanasar and Niyamasar have greatly moved leaders and scholars like Shrimad Rajchandra and Gurudev Shri Kanji Swami. 10.- Question: What was Acharya Kunda-kunda's contribution to Jainism and beyond? JAIN STORY BOOK 53 Page #54 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART II GANADHARS AND ACHARYAS 11- Acharya Haribhadra-Suri During the sixth century A.D., there lived a learned Brahmin named Haribhadra. He was highly intelligent and proficient in the philosophies of all religions. Among his many talents, he had the ability to determine the point of his opponent's argument almost immediately. During that time, it was common for scholars to travel and engage others in debate to increase their wealth of knowledge. Therefore, Haribhadra traveled and debated many brilliant scholars. Other scholars were unable to win discussions with him. His talent allowed him to dominate all conversations. It was not long before he earned a formidable reputation, and scholars began avoiding entering into a discussion with him. When no one came forward to counter him, he concluded that he had no rival in the entire country. Confident in his ability to comprehend any subject being discussed, he issued a public challenge that if anyone could present a topic that he could not understand, he would readily become his/her pupil. One day, as he was walking through the village, he came across a royal elephant so angry that it was completely out of control. His keeper was trying his best to bring him under control, but the elephant was not responding to his efforts. The elephant was running directly towards Haribhadra. In grave danger of being trampled, Haribhadra frantically looked around for a safe place and saw a Jain temple. He entered just in time to avoid being crushed by the charging elephant. Once inside, he paused to regain his breath and then looked around the temple with disrespect. Haribhadra had no regard for Jainism. Because of his prejudice, he remained ignorant of Jain philosophy. Brahmins were usually staunch Shaivaites (followers of Lord Shiva in Hinduism) and looked down upon those going to Jain temples. As he looked around, he saw the white marble idol of Lord Mahavir facing him. Instead of seeing the graceful compassion flowing from the eyes of the Tirthankar's idol, Haribhadra only noticed that the stomach of the idol did not epitomize the slim body of an austere saint. He surmised that Jain Tirthankars must have enjoyed sweet foods. He therefore made the following remark: Haribhadra-Suri listening to Yakini Mahattara's explaining Jain philosophy "Vapurevatavachashte Spashtam Mishtann-Bhojitamit" "Your stomach clearly indicates that you must enjoy eating sweet foods" When the elephant left the area, Haribhadra stepped outside the temple. On his way back, he passed the Upashray of Jain nuns (Sadhvis). He heard the following verse that was recited by a Sadhvi named Yakini Mahattara: Chakkidugam Haripanagam Panagam Chakki Ya Kesavo Chakki Kesav Chakki Kesav Du Chakki Kesi Ya Chakki Ya 54 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #55 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Mahattara was explaining the order in which the Chakravartis (sovereign emperors) and Vasudevs were born in the current Avasarpini time cycle. Jain philosophy believes in time cycles of very long durations occurring one after another. One half of a cycle is called Utsarpini, or the ascending order marked with continuing improvements, and the other half is called Avasarpini, or the descending order marked with continuing deterioration. Tradition also holds that 24 Tirthankars, 12 Chakravartis (sovereign emperors), 9 Vasudevs or Narayans, 9 Prativasudev or PratiNarayans (enemies of Vasudevs) and 9 Balrams are born in every Utsarpini and in every Avasarpini time cycle. As a student, Haribhadra had studied some Jain philosophy. However, his understanding was very shallow and he could not comprehend the meaning of what sadhvi Mahattara was reciting. Haribhadra was at a loss. Finally, he had stumbled upon a subject he did not dominate, but to seek more knowledge required him to become a pupil of the Jain sadhvi Mahattara. Despite his arrogance, Haribhadra was also a man of his word, and without further hesitation, he presented himself to the Jain nun Mahattara. He explained his pledge and requested that she accept him as a pupil. Mahattara explained that Jain nuns could not have males as pupils. She advised Haribhadra to go to her guru, Jinabhatta-suri, who could explain the meaning of the verse and he could become a pupil of her guru. Accordingly, Haribhadra went to Acharya Jinabhatta-suri, who explained the verse in the proper perspective. 1900 XX ACHARYA HARIBHADRA-SURI 000000 Haribhadra-suri accepting monkhood under Acharya Jinbhatta The Acharya's explanation of the verse induced Haribhadra to learn more about Jainism, and he requested the Acharya to accept him as a pupil. Jinabhatta-suri agreed to accept him only if he obtained the consent of his family and other close relatives. Haribhadra knew that it would be an ordeal to get their consent to study Jainism. Indeed, his family immediately opposed his decision. His father challenged him, "But you have studied so much to become a Brahmin scholar. Why would you want to give that up now?" His relatives, who had been so proud of his reputation, cried, "But you are the best debater. Who will you be now?" However, Haribhadra persevered in the face of this resistance. He explained to them that his knowledge would remain incomplete without gaining knowledge of Jainism in detail. For that purpose, as well as for adhering to his word, it was necessary for him to become a Jain monk. He ultimately succeeded in gaining the consent of all his family members. Then he renounced his worldly life and became a disciple of Acharya Jinabhatta-suri. He diligently studied Jain scriptures and other sacred books. His intelligence and perception soon allowed him to achieve mastery of Jain scriptures. The study of the Agams showed him the depth of Jain philosophy in seeking the truth. Once he mastered all the relevant Jain literature, and when his guru Jinabhatta-suri was thoroughly convinced about his true faith, his guru decided to bestow upon Haribhadra the title of Acharya. As Acharya JAIN STORY BOOK 55 Page #56 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART II GANADHARS AND ACHARYAS Haribhadra-suri, he managed the Jain order very capably and efficiently. By virtue of his knowledge and intelligence, he attracted many people to Jainism. Many of them also renounced worldly life and became his disciples. Under his stewardship, Jainism gained a newfound popularity. Amongst his many pupils there were two pupils named Hans and Paramhans who were his sister's sons. They were very intelligent, and Haribhadra-suri had high expectations of them. Once, Hans and Paramhans requested him to allow them to go to a well-known Buddhist monastery in order to study the weak points of Buddhism. Then, they could defeat the Buddhist monks in debate. Initially, Haribhadra-suri did not approve, but Hans and Paramhans persisted and ultimately secured his permission. They went to the monastery disguised as Buddhist monks. Unfortunately, their secret was quickly revealed. They decided to leave the monastery in disguise, but Buddhist people chased them, which ultimately resulted in the loss of their lives. When Haribhadra-suri learned about the tragic fate of his nephews, he was furious and vowed to punish the Buddhist monks for their cruelty. He challenged them to a debate in the royal court, with the stipulation that whoever lost would be put to death. Haribhadra-suri's violent reaction to his nephews' deaths saddened Guru Jinabhattasuri and Sadhvi Mahattara. Haribhadra-suri won the debate. Luckily, sadhvi Mahattara convinced him to abandon the idea of killing his opponent. Haribhadra-suri realized from this episode that his undue attachment for Hans and Paramhans had led him to indulge in a violent attitude. He therefore begged for atonement, and Guru Jinabhattasuri advised him to compose verses that would enlighten people to the right faith. This became another major turning point in his life. Haribhadra-suri was a prolific writer. He wrote 1444 religious books, covering many aspects of Jainism. Unfortunately, only about 170 of his books are presently available. The commentaries on Dash Vaikalika-sutra, Tattvartha-sutra, Pancha-sutra, and Avashyaka-sutra are among his well-known compositions. Moreover, he wrote Lalit-vistara, Dharma Sangrahani, Upadeshapad, Shodashtaks, Dharmabindu, and Anekanta Jayapataka. He was probably the first Jain scholar to write on yoga in the compositions. Yogabindu, Yoga-vinshika, Yoga-shatak and Yogadrashti Samuchchaya were among these compositions. With such an output, Haribhadra-suri will always be remembered for his valuable contribution to Jain literature. Moral: The entire life of Haribhadra-suri depicts his keen desire for learning. Even though he was an established Brahmin scholar, he was humble enough to learn from a simple Jain Sadhvi. This is a great lesson in humility. One should not let pride come in the way of acquiring knowledge. Jain Agams describe the essence of Jainism in a logical and convincing manner. A deep understanding of the Agams will lead one to practice the principles of Jainism with more discipline and faith. The various compositions of Haribhadra-suri are very precious and help us gain a better understanding of this complex but well-defined and logical religion. 11 - Questions: 1. When nobody could debate with him, what public challenge did he issue? 2. Whom and what did he hear when he was saving himself from an angry elephant? What happened? 3. When his nephews were killed, how did Haribhadra suri feel and what did he vow to do? What did he realize? 4. When he realized the result of his thoughts and begged for atonement, what was he asked to do? 5. What was his contribution to Jainism? 56 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #57 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ ACHARYA HEMCHANDRA 12 - Acharya Hemchandra Acharya Hemchandra was born in 1088 A.D. in the Modha Vanik (merchant) caste in the town of Dhandhuka, sixty miles from the city of Amdavad in the state of Gujarat. His parents were Chachdev and Pahini. While Pahini was pregnant, she had a beautiful dream. She narrated her dream to Jain Acharya Devasuri who was in Dhandhuka at that time. The Acharya predicted that Pahini would give birth to a son who would make great progress in the areas of spiritual knowledge, conduct, and logic. When her son was born, she named him Changdev. The next time Acharya Devasuri was in Dhandhuka, he saw Pahini carrying her son. He said to Pahini, "Let me take care of this brilliant son. He has the potential of being a great spiritual leader." Pahini initially refused to relinquish her son to him, but the Acharya persisted and reminded her that her son would become a famous monk and would glorify the Jain order. He requested that she sacrifice self-interest and love for the child for the good of the people at large. Finally, Pahini surrendered and gave her son to the Acharya. He initiated Changdev into Jain monkhood and renamed him Somchandra. Somchandra was very intelligent and quickly mastered various philosophies, logic, scriptures, nyaya, grammar, and more. Simultaneously, he cultivated excellent virtues like forbearance, tolerance, holiness, Various incidences from Acharya Hemchandra and King simplicity, discipline, chastity, Kumarpal's life and generosity. Somchandra was incomparable in administration and efficiency, and Acharya Devasuri made Somchandra an Acharya when he was only twenty-one years old, changing his name to Acharya Hemchandra. The fame of Hemchandra's knowledge gradually spread everywhere. Due to the efforts of Hemchandra and the cooperation of King Siddharaj of Gujarat, a higher and nobler form of culture was established in the region. When King Siddharaj died, Kumarpal succeeded him. King Kumarpal and Acharya Hemchandra were to enjoy a lifelong relationship of disciple and teacher. The seeds of this spiritual relation had already been sown earlier; Acharya Hemchandra had predicted seven years back that Kumarpal would become King. Additionally, he had once saved the future King's life. Kumarpal therefore considered Hemchandra his spiritual teacher (guru) and benefactor and gave him exceptional honor. Kumarpal sought Hemchandra's advice in shaping his kingdom, and in a very short time Gujarat became a center of non-violence, learning, and good culture. In his efforts, Hemchandra did not think of the development of his own career but always of the welfare of all citizens. However, some Brahmins were very jealous of Acharya Hemchandra's influence over the king and tried to disgrace JAIN STORY BOOK Page #58 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART II GANADHARS AND ACHARYAS him and Jainism. They approached King Kumarpal and said, "Acharya Hemchandra is a very egotistic person and has no respect for Hindu gods." King Kumarpal was not ready to accept these accusations against his spiritual guru, so to prove their point, the Brahmins requested that King Kumarpal invite the Acharya to the temple of Lord Shiva. They sought to humiliate the Acharya in front of the King, since they believed that he would not go to the temple and bow down to Lord Shiva. When Acharya Hemchandra appeared, King Kumarpal said, "We will go to the temple of Lord Shiva." He accepted the offer without any hesitation. The Brahmins, barely able to conceal their joy, were delighted that their plan was working. To the surprise of the Brahmins, Acharya Hemchandra bowed down in front of Lord Shiva and said, "Bhavbijankura janana Ragadyaha Kshaymupagata Yasya; Brahma Va Vishnurva Haro Jino Va Namastasmai." "I am bowing down to that God who has destroyed passions like attachment (Raga) and aversions (Dvesha) which are the cause of worldly life whether he is Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, or Jin" By this modest act, Acharya Hemchandra proved his noble attitude with his willingness to respect other faiths and pray to the virtues of other deities. This generous attitude is inherent in Jain philosophy. Jainism does not hold itself as superior to other religions, but as peacefully coexisting with them. Under Acharya Hemchandra's influence, King Kumarpal accepted Jainism as his religion. He prohibited violence and the killing of any animals in his kingdom, and instituted many laws that nurtured Jain religion. Vegetarianism was soon a trait not only of Jains but of all the people of Gujarat. Acharya Hemchandra composed several literary works consisting of many verses. He was the first to put nonviolence on a political platform and was the architect of the greatness and unification of Gujarat. In the field of metaphysics, he was a Yogi. His work, Yoga-shastra, a treatise on yoga, is very famous. People called him "Kalikal Sarvajna" meaning "all knower in the present era of darkness". He died in 1173 A.D. at the age of eighty-four. Jain culture still shines bright in Gujarat due to the influence of the literary works contributed by the great Acharya Hemchandra. Moral: Mother Pahini's sacrifice of her love for her son is very praiseworthy, demonstrating willingness to serve the community over her self-interest or attachment for her son. Because of Acharya Hemchandra's influence as a teacher, King Kumarpal accepted Jainism and became a Jain. It is because of this that Jainism and vegetarianism flourish in Gujarat. Acharya Hemchandra's contribution of numerous literary masterpieces is a treasure for us. By studying these books, we can pay tribute to him. 12 - Questions: 1. What did the Acharya predict when he heard Pahini's dream? What did she name her son? 2. When he was a small boy, what did the Acharya tell Pahini? Did she agree or disagree? 3. At what age did Somchandra became an Acharya? 4. Where did Acharya Hemchandra live? Whom did he have a lifelong relation with? 5. How did Acharya Hemchandra prove his noble attitude and his willingness to respect other faiths? 58 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #59 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Part III Storigs Preceding Bhagawan Mahavir TE ulle H - Page #60 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ "Only that man can take a right decision, whose soul is not tormented by the afflictions of attachment and aversion" -Isibhasiyam (44/1) Page #61 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ BHARAT AND BAHUBALI 3 - Bharat and Bahubali Before his renunciation of worldly life, Lord Rishabhadev or Lord Adinath, was known as King Rishabh and had two wives, Sumangala and Sunanda. By Sumangala, he had 99 sons, of whom Bharat was the eldest and the best known, and one daughter named Brahmi. By the second wife, Sunanda, he had one son named Bahubali and a daughter named Sundari. All of them were given proper training in different arts and crafts. Bharat became a great warrior and a politician. Sunanda's son was tall, well built, and strong, and hence was called Bahubali. In Sanskrit, "Bahu" means arm and "Bali" means mighty. Brahmi attained a very high level of literary proficiency. She developed the first known script, known as the Brahmi script. Sundari was very proficient in mathematics. After Lord Rishabhadev attained omniscience, both girls renounced their worldly lives and became his disciples. As a King, Rishabhadev had the responsibility of a large kingdom. At the time of his renunciation, he handed over the city of Vinita, also known as Ayodhya, to Bharat, and the city of Taxshila (Pottanpur according to Digambar scriptures) to Bahubali. He gave different parts of his vast kingdom to his remaining 98 sons. Incidences in the lives of King Bharat and King Bahubali Bharat quickly established control over Vinita. He was an ambitious ruler and intended to become emperor of the entire nation. For this purpose, he organized a strong army and started developing different types of fighting equipment. He also possessed a miraculous wheel called Chakraratna ("Chakra" means wheel and "ratna" means precious jewel) that would never miss its target. After developing his army and weapons, he embarked upon his journey of conquest. There was hardly anyone at that time who could withstand his well-equipped army. He easily conquered all the regions around Vinita. Then, he turned his attention towards the lands of his 98 brothers and asked them to acknowledge his superiority. They all turned to Lord Rishabhadev to ask for advice. Bhagawan explained to them the importance of conquering their inner enemies (passions) and not external enemies. He also advised them on how to attain liberation, a "true kingdom." Having realized the futility of fighting with their elder brother, the sons surrendered their territories to him, renounced worldly life, and became disciples of Lord Rishabhadev. JAIN STORY BOOK Page #62 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART III STORIES PRECEDING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR Now, only Bahubali remained. However, he had a different vision and would not surrender. He was conscious of his right to rule the kingdom handed over to him by his father. Moreover, he had the will and capacity to fight any invader. Therefore, when he received Bharat's request to accept a subordinate status, he refused and began preparations to fight. Both brothers were strong, and war between the two was sure to result in large-scale bloodshed. Therefore, counselors on both sides tried to dissuade their masters from resorting to war, but neither of them would give up his ground. War seemed inevitable as the brothers brought their armies face to face on the battlefield. Everyone shuddered at the prospect of the heavy casualties that would result from the imminent war. The counselors then made one last effort. They explained to their masters that the main point of contention was to determine which brother was superior. Instead of assembling a large-scale war for that purpose, a fight between the two brothers would just as easily settle the issue and would avert unnecessary bloodshed. Both brothers thought this was an excellent idea and immediately agreed. The plan was to engage in a straight duel, and the victor of the duel would be acknowledged as the leader. On the day of the duel, Bharat tried to beat Bahubali by using his various permissible weapons, but all his attempts to defeat Bahubali failed. Bharat contemplated on how unbearable and shameful his defeat would be. His ambition to rule the entire world was also at stake if he did not defeat his brother. He grew desperate and ignored the rules of the duel by unleashing his miracle wheel, the Chakraratna, at Bahubali. However, he had forgotten one important characteristic of the miracle weapon: it would not harm any blood relatives of the bearer. Therefore, the wheel returned to Bharat and Bahubali remained unharmed. Bahubali became enraged by Bharat's violation of the rules of the duel, and he thought of smashing his elder brother with his mighty fist. As he raised his hand for that purpose, the onlookers trembled at the thought of Bharat's imminent death. But just as he was about to unleash his wrath, a flash of insight came to him. "What am I doing?" thought Bahubali. "Have I gone mad? Am I going to kill my elder brother for the sake of some worldly possessions that my revered father willingly abandoned and which my other brothers have given up?" He shuddered at the prospect of the imminent death of Bharat, seeing the evil in killing a respected brother. At that very moment he changed his mind. Instead of lowering his hand to hit his brother, he used it to pull out his hair (as the monks do during Diksha) as a symbol of giving up everything and renouncing the worldly life. However, Bahubali had not lost all his pride and ego. He realized that if he went to his father and stated his intention of renouncing the world, he would be required to bow down and be subservient to his 98 younger brothers who were senior to him in monkhood. This was unacceptable to him. Instead, Bahubali decided to seek enlightenment on his own and started meditating on the very same spot upon which he stood. He became so immersed in his meditation that he lost track of time and could not remember how long he had stood there. He was motionless for so long that creepers began to grow around his feet. A year passed with Bahubali standing in that posture of meditation, yet he did not gain enlightenment. How could he gain it without shedding his ego? At last, Lord Rishabhadev sent Brahmi and Sundari to bring him to the right path. They came to the place where Bahubali was meditating. Seeing their mighty brother standing like a rock, they calmly told him, "You cannot achieve enlightenment while sitting on an elephant. You need to get off the elephant." As their familiar voices reached Bahubali's ears, he opened his eyes in amazement and looked around but did not find himself on an elephant. He then realized that the elephant they were referring to was his ego. He immediately dissolved his ego and decided to go to Lord Rishabhadev and was ready to bow to his 98 brothers. During his long penance, he had overcome all other defiling passions except ego which still remained between him and enlightenment. Now his ego was dissolved and humbleness prevailed in its place. Therefore, as he took the first step towards the Lord, he achieved full enlightenment and became omniscient. (By Digambar tradition, Bahubali later became the first person to attain liberation in this era. However, Shvetambar tradition indicates that Rishabhadev's mother, Marudevi, attained liberation first in this era.) In memory of this event, a gigantic, 57-foot upright statue of Bahubali stands on the hill of Vindhyagiri at Shravanbelgola, near Bangalore in southern India. It is made out of a single rock of granite and was erected about 1000 years ago. Pilgrims and visitors marvel that the statue, even under the open sky, stands spotless today. 62 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #63 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ BHARAT AND BAHUBALI Idol of Bahubali at Shravanbelgola At the same time that Bahubali was carrying out his intense meditation, Bharat had become the undisputed emperor, or Chakravarti, of the world. He was the first Chakravarti of the current time cycle of Avasarpini Ara. As a ruler, he ruled equitably and in the interest of all, and the people were happy under his administration. India was recognized as Bharatvarsha. He himself was happy in every respect and ruled for a very long time. One day, a ring slipped off his finger while he was in his dressing room. He noticed that the finger looked rather odd without the ring. His curiosity overtook him and he removed all his rings. Seeing that his fingers were no longer beautiful, he took off his crown and other ornaments decorating his body and looked in the mirror. He realized that he did not look as handsome as he used to look. This set off a train of thoughts. "I consider myself handsome and strong, but this entire look is merely due to the ornaments which do not belong to the body. The body itself is made up of blood and bones. Then why am I so attached to my body?" He thought further. "My body will not last forever and will decompose sooner or later. At JAIN STORY BOOK Page #64 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART III STORIES PRECEDING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR that stage, I will have to leave everything behind. The only everlasting entity is the soul." He realized that nothing in the world, including his body, really belonged to him and he soon came to a major decision. "Why not do away with my attachment of all the temporary things and instead focus on something that lasts forever like my father did?" Thus, he developed an acute detachment for the worldly life. As per Shvetambar tradition, this reflection led to the rise of true enlightenment from within. As a result, he attained omniscience, or keval-jnan, in that very room as a lay person. According to Digambar tradition, after he attained an acute detachment of worldly life, he renounced that life and became a monk, immediately achieving keval-jnan. At the end of his life, he attained liberation. Moral: The focus of this great story is on ego and self-realization. Ego and pride build negative karma and lead one to destructive behavior as detailed in the story. Ego also causes anger and leads one to irrational behavior. Ego and superficial pride must be overcome on the path to enlightenment and omniscience. We should all strive for cultivating humility, one of the fundamental principles of Jainism. 13 - Questions: 1. How many children did Lord Rishabhadev have? Who wanted to become sovereign over all the kings? 2. Who did not want him to be sovereign? What did both of them do? 3. Why did they decide to stop the war? What would they do? 4. What stopped Bahubali from hitting his brother, Bharat, with his fist? 5. What was preventing Bahubali from attaining Keval-jnan? 6. Who helped him understand his mistake? What did they do? 7. What elephant were they singing about? 64 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #65 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ KING MEGHARATH 14 - King Megharath One day, during an assembly of demigods, Indra, the King of heavenly gods, praised the bravery and mercifulness of King Megharath on Earth. He mentioned that King Megharath would not hesitate to give up his own life to protect those who came to him for shelter. Two demigods doubted Indra's statement, so Indra asked them to go to Earth and see for themselves. Since they could not appear on Earth in their heavenly forms, one of them decided to take the form of a pigeon, and the other took the form of a hawk. The demigods, due to their miraculous power, can assume any form they desire and can reach anywhere in a split second. Down on Earth, King Megharath was sitting in his court surrounded by his courtiers. Suddenly, a pigeon flew in through an open window and started circling the hall. To the King's surprise, it landed on his lap. It was shaking uncontrollably. The King realized that the pigeon was shaking with fear and had flown into the palace to seek refuge. King Megharath offering his own flesh to save a bird's life At that very instant, a hawk flew into the King's court. He said to the King, "This pigeon is my food. Let me have him." The King was dumbfounded to hear a bird talk, however, he replied, "It is true that this pigeon is your food, but now it is under my shelter. I will not give you this pigeon, but I can give you some other food." He ordered his servants to bring a basket of fruits and vegetables. However, the hawk said, "I am not a human being, and I am not a vegetarian. I need meat for my food." The King said, "Let me give you my own flesh instead of this pigeon's flesh." Upon hearing this, one of the courtiers said, "Your Majesty, why should you give your own flesh? Let's get the meat from a butcher." The King replied, "No, because the butcher will have to kill another animal in order to supply us the meat. This pigeon has sought JAIN STORY BOOK Page #66 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART III STORIES PRECEDING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR refuge and it is my duty to protect it. At the same time, it is also my duty to see that no one else is harmed in the process. Therefore, I will give my own flesh to the hawk. With these words, he took out his knife and cut off a piece of flesh from his thigh and offered that to the hawk. The whole court was stunned, however, the hawk said to the King, "Oh King, I want the same amount of flesh as the pigeon." A weighing scale was brought to the court. The King put the pigeon on one side and a piece of his own flesh on the other. The King kept adding more and more of his flesh on the scale, but it was not enough. Finally, the King got ready to put his whole body on the scale. The court was stunned that the king was giving up his own life for an insignificant bird. Nevertheless, the King considered his duty to protect the bird to be above everything else. He sat in the scale on the side opposite the pigeon, closed his eyes, and began meditating. As soon as the King began meditating, the pigeon and the hawk assumed their original divine forms. Both demigods bowed to the King and said, "Oh great King! You are blessed. You deserve all King Megharath offering his own the praise given by Lord Indra. We are convinced that you are a brave and merciful King." life to save a bird's life With these words, they praised and saluted the King again and left. The whole court resounded with cheers of joy, "Long live King Megharath". Later on, the soul of King Megharath became the sixteenth Tirthankar, Lord Shantinath. Moral: This story teaches us that it is the chief duty of everyone to protect and help those who are less fortunate. A merciful person is someone who is not only influenced by seeing the misery and suffering of others, but goes a step further and attempts to alleviate the pain. He gives financial aid to those who are poor and gives food to those who are hungry and needy. A merciful person would not harm others to save his/her own life, but on the contrary, would sacrifice his/her own life to save the lives of the others. 14 - Questions: 1. Who flew into King Megharath's lap? Why? 2. What did the hawk want? What did he ask for? 3. What did King Megharath do? 4. What happened at the end? 5. Who did the soul of King Megharath become in a later life? 66 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #67 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SAGE NANDISEN 15 - Sage Nandisen Sage Nandisen was a great ascetic and well versed in the scriptures. He took a vow to serve other monks with utmost devotion. His devotion in serving the monks was popular even in the heavenly abode. One day, Indra commended his services during an assembly of demigods. One of the demigods was surprised at such high praise for a mere mortal. Therefore, he decided to see the worthiness of sage Nandisen. The demigod arrived at the outskirts of the village and assumed the form of two monks, one very old and injured and the other young and healthy. Sage Nandisen had just returned from collecting Gochari (alms) and was about to break his fast when the young monk came to him and said, "Oh blessed one! There is a very old monk suffering from diarrhea, extreme thirst, and hunger. He is weak and needs your help." Hearing these words, sage Nandisen immediately got up, took clean water, and went to the old monk. Seeing Nandisen, the old monk raged, "Oh, you wretch! I am lying here suffering and you did not even care to see if anyone needs help." Sage Nandisen was not offended by these words due to his virtues of tolerance, forgiveness, and compassion. He calmly replied, "Oh, the best of monks, kindly excuse my oversight. I have brought clean water for you to drink." He helped the old monk drink the water, and then cleaned his clothes, his body, and helped him sit up. The old monk again became irritated. He frowned, "Oh, you fool! do you not see that I am too weak to sit? What are you doing to me?" Sage Nandisen replied politely," will help you." After helping the old monk to sit up, he said, "Oh revered monk, if you desire, I shall carry you to the upashray (a place where monks stay temporarily) where you will be more comfortable. The monk replied, "Why are you asking me? You may do so if you wish." Sage Nandisen helping and serving the old monk Sage Nandisen therefore seated the monk on his shoulders and slowly proceeded towards the upashray. He walked slowly, watching every step carefully. The demigod was determined to test him, so he gradually increased the old monk's weight. With the increased weight on his shoulder, sage Nandisen began to tremble and he almost fell. The old monk said, "Oh, you wretch! what is wrong with you? Don't you know how to walk? You are shaking my entire body. Is this the way to serve the sick?" In spite of these harsh words, sage Nandisen was not disturbed at all. He said, "Pardon me. I shall be more careful." Ignoring the monk's comments, he continued walking, and took care not to offend the monk any more as a result of his actions. On the way, he thought of ways to cure the monk. During all this, the old monk was watching Sage Nandisen and did not see any change in the helping nature of the sage even after all the aggravation. When they arrived at the upashray, the old monk turned back into an angel and bowed down at once to sage Nandisen, saying, JAIN STORY BOOK Page #68 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART III STORIES PRECEDING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR "You are blessed. Oh sage, you are the illustration of a real monk. You deserve all the praise given by Indra. I am very pleased with you and will grant you whatever you wish." "Oh heavenly angel, this human life is very precious. Nothing is more valuable than human existence. I am content. Heavenly beings praising the act of Sage I crave for nothing," said sage Nandisen. The heavenly angel bowed his head at the feet of the sage and returned to his abode, applauding the merits of the sage. Moral: This story teaches us the importance of tolerance, discipline, and contentment which are all fundamental values of Jainism. First and foremost, sage Nandisen chose to devote his life to serving monks, an admirable goal requiring the utmost level of dedication and discipline. He demonstrated his tolerance and willingness to serve others without knowing that the demigod was testing him. This means that he was truly dedicated to monks and believed in what he was doing. He also indicated his contentment with the human life when asked for a wish. This contentment is symbolic of the principle of non-possessiveness. 15 - Questions: 1. Who was praising sage Nandisen? What did the demigods do? 2. Describe the scene that followed when sage Nandisen was about to break his fast? 3. What happened at the end? 68 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #69 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ KING SHRIPAL AND MAYANA-SUNDARI 16 - King Shripal and Mayana-sundari At one time, the kingdom of Champanagar was ruled by King Singhrath, who had a son named Shripal by his queen, Kamal-prabha. When Shripal was five years old, his father died. King Singhrath's ambitious brother, Ajitsen, took this opportunity to seize the throne. In order to make his position as King secure, he was keen to get rid of Shripal. When Kamal-prabha became aware of Ajitsen's vicious plan, she fled from Champanagar with her son. Learning about her escape, Ajitsen sent his trusted soldiers to pursue her. As the soldiers got close, she did not know how to save her son. She saw a group of lepers, and in desperation, she asked them to take her son into their custody. They warned her about the risk of her son contracting the disease of leprosy from them. However, she had no choice if she wanted to save her son, so she entrusted her son to them. Shripal grew up to be very bold and handsome. The people of the leper colony became very fond of him and took great care of Shripal. Ultimately, Shripal contracted leprosy. When he became a youth, the people made him their leader, and named him Umar Rana. Under his leadership the group traveled from place to place and one day arrived at the city of Ujjayini, the capital of the Malwa region. King Prajapal was ruling there. He and Queen Rupsundari had two intelligent and beautiful daughters, Sursundari and Mayana-sundari. The King loved both of them and made adequate arrangements for their training in the arts and crafts, which the girls mastered in due course. One day, the king decided to test their knowledge and called them in the assembly hall. He asked a number of questions to Sursundari who gave satisfactory replies to all of them. At the end, the King asked her by whose favor she got all her skills and also the amenities and luxuries that she enjoyed. The girl humbly replied that she gained all that by the King's favor. Pleased with her replies, the King decided to reward her appropriately. Then, he asked several questions to Mayana-sundari. She too gave satisfactory replies to all his questions. At the end, the King asked her the same question that he had asked Sursundari. He had expected Mayana to give an identical reply and thus please him. However, Mayana had total faith in the religious philosophy she had studied at length. She firmly believed that everything that she had received had been the result of her karma. She must have earned good karma in the past that resulted in the happy situations that she was undergoing. If she did not have that karma to her credit, no one could bestow happiness on her. She therefore replied: "O father! The great King! With due respect to you, all the comfort that you provide me are only because of my meritorious (Punya) karma. Everyone gets whatever is written in his or her destiny due to his or her karma. You yourself cannot give or take away anything." Everything that she had received had been the result of her Karma. She must have earned good Karma in the past that resulted in the happy situations that she was undergoing. If she did not have that Karma to her credit, no one could bestow happiness on her. The King was exasperated to hear the unexpected reply. He repeatedly asked her to consider how she could have obtained anything without his generosity. Mayana replied that everything, right from her being born as his daughter up to her present situation, could occur solely as a consequence of her good or bad karmas, and no one could have made any difference. The King grew angry with her unexpected persistence. He could not believe that the girl could have received anything without his favor, and did not agree that everything happens according to one's own karma. He therefore decided to teach her a lesson, and asked his men to find the ugliest man in Ujjayini. The men spotted Umar Rana and brought him to the court. In utter disdain, the King instantly got Mayana married to Umar. He gave them some basic things and a small house and asked Mayana to undergo the result of her karma. Rupsundari was very unhappy at the sudden turn of events in her daughter's life, but she could not speak against her husband's will. On the other hand, the King looked for a suitable match for Sursundari in appreciation of her replies and had her married to prince Aridaman of Shankhapuri. Mayana was deeply religious. She accepted Shripal in the guise of Umar as her husband and took care of him. She went to temples and heard the sermons of monks along with him. One day, Mayana-sundari and her husband went to see Acharya Munichandra and talked to him about their problems and his leprosy disease. The Acharya JAIN STORY BOOK 69 Page #70 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART III STORIES PRECEDING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR was a well-known scholar of the time. He advised them to go through the penance of Ayambil oli, known as Navapad (nine pious entities) penance, which can cure all types of diseases. The Navapad Aradhana (puja) is observed by meditation and practicing a penance called Ayambil. Ayambil is observed by having only one meal a day of very plain food without any spices, milk, sugar, salt, oil, butter, fruits, or vegetables (sometimes minor exceptions are made by gurus for certain spices). Meanwhile, one meditates upon the Navapad: Arihanta, Siddha, Acharya, Upadhyay, Sadhus (Pancha Parmesthi), Jnan (knowledge), Darshan (faith), Charitra (conduct), and Tapa (penance). This penance and meditation is to be observed for nine days, twice a year, during the month of March/April (Chaitra) and September/October (Ashwin). The couple was to do this penance for four and half years, resulting in Nine Ayambil Olis (one every six months). Accordingly, Mayana and Shripal devoutly observed the Navapad worship and penance with all its vitality. The result was miraculous. Shripal's skin disease started fading, and in due course, he was totally cured of leprosy and regained the skin that he had before contracting the disease. Now he looked like the handsome prince that he had been. Mayana was very happy with this result and thanked her karma for that change too. Since the change was apparently brought about by devotion to Navapad and practicing the penance, both of them continued to observe Princess Mayana marrying Shripal Once, while they were at a temple, Queen Rupsundari saw them. She was shocked to see that her daughter was with a handsome man instead of the leper to whom she was married. Mayana understood her anxiety and explained in detail everything that had happened. Rupsundari was extremely pleased to hear that. She told the King that Mayana's persistence about the theory of karma had been proven right. The King now realized the truth. Deep in his heart, he used to curse himself for bringing misery into his lovely daughter's life. Now, he became happy and invited his daughter and son-in-law to stay with him in the palace. Shripal's real identity was revealed to all, and by fortunate coincidence, his mother arrived at the palace and stayed with them. Once, there was a royal procession in which Shripal was seated on an elephant along with the King. During the procession, someone pointed a finger at Shripal and asked a relative who he was. The man replied that he was the King's son-in-law. Shripal heard that and became sad that he was being identified by his relationship with his father-in-law. He felt that one should gain fame from one's own efforts and not from association with relatives. He therefore secured permission from Mayana and the King and set off by himself on an auspicious day. He traveled far and wide, visited many places, and boldly faced the adversities that he encountered. During that period, he did not Shripal and Mayana are ardent worshippers of Navapad 70 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #71 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ KING SHRIPAL AND MAYANA-SUNDARI forsake his devotion to Navapad. Consequently, he successfully survived all the ordeals. As was the custom at that time, he married many girls and amassed great wealth and many followers. Eventually, equipped with that, he came back and camped outside Ujjayini. His army was so large that it virtually surrounded the city; King Prajapal initially thought that some enemy had come with a large force to conquer Ujjayini. When he came to the camp, he was greatly pleased to recognize his son-in-law. Shripal then entered the city, where he was given a hero's welcome. His mother and Mayana were anxiously awaiting his arrival and were very happy to see him. Shripal happily spent some time with Mayana, who was dearest to him. Then, he decided to regain his original kingdom of Champanagar. He sent a message to his uncle Ajitsen to leave the throne that he had seized. Ajitsen was, however, too proud to give it up. Therefore, Shripal invaded Champanagar with his vast army. Ajitsen put up a tough fight. However, his army was no match for Shripal's. In the fight, Ajitsen was captured and Champanagar was taken over by Shripal, who then gracefully released his uncle from captivity. Ajitsen now felt that his days were almost over, and decided to renounce the worldly life. Thereafter, Shripal happily passed the rest of his life as the King of Champanagar. Moral: This story describes the faith of Mayana-sundari on the philosophy of karma and her devotion to Navapad. It stresses the importance of her effort and determination to change her fate. Mayana understood the nature of karma. However, she was not content with her fate. She and her husband, Shripal, exerted their own self-efforts into prayer and practice to improve his condition and were ultimately successful. They accepted that karma had put them into their current condition, but they also knew that they could change their future if they only put effort into acquiring good karmas and destroying bad karmas. Happiness and misery are a state of mind regardless of the situation one is in. If you think you are miserable, then you will be miserable. Full faith in the theory of karma is essential to be content and happy. 16- Questions: 1. After his father died, what happened when Shripal was five years old? 2. What did the King ask Mayana sundari? What was her reply? 3. What did the King do when he became angry with Mayana sundari's reply? 4. What did Shripal and Mayana sundari do based on Acharya Munichandra's advice? What happened? 5. What happened when Shripal and his father-in-law were out in a royal procession? What did Shripal do? 6. What happened while he went to seek his own fame? JAIN STORY BOOK 71 Page #72 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART III STORIES PRECEDING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR 17 - Ilachikumar In ancient times, there lived a wealthy businessman named Dhandatta in the town of llavardhan. His wife, Ilachi, gave birth to a lovable son. As he was the only son, the parents deliberately kept him nameless as per the custom of the times. Eventually, as the son of Ilachi, he came to be known as llachiputra and then llachikumar. He was raised with care and attention and never lacked any luxuries, growing up to be a handsome youth. Soon, his parents felt it was time to find a wife for him. Luckily, they did not need to look very far as they were a prosperous family and llachikumar was their only son. Many families wanted their daughters to marry him. His parents prepared a list of selected names and asked llachikumar to choose the one that he liked the most. However, lachikumar could not make a selection. One day, a party of acrobats came to llavardhan. In those days there were no stadiums where acrobats could perform, so they performed their routines for their audience on the open streets. Beating drums to announce their arrival, the acrobats planted poles in an open square off the main street and connected them with ropes while a large crowd gathered. They then began their routine, climbing the poles one after another and demonstrating their skills, walking and jumping over the high rope with ease above the fascinated audience. Attracted by the commotion, lachikumar also went to watch the show. While enjoying the performance, his attention was drawn to the chief acrobat's beautiful young daughter who was dancing gracefully to the drums with bells on her feet. llachikumar was so mesmerized by her beauty and charm that he could not take his eyes off her. At the end of the show, the acrobats descended the rope and started collecting money from the audience. People were very pleased with the performance and paid handsomely. After collecting a large amount of money, the acrobats left the square to camp for the night and everyone else went home. Though lachikumar also returned home, his mind was still on the beautiful girl he had seen that day. At dinner, his parents found him silent and unresponsive; they had never seen him so dazed. His father questioned his absent-mindedness, but he did not answer. When his mother persistently asked for the reason for his silence, he finally replied that his heart was attracted to the acrobat girl and he wanted to marry her. His mother was taken aback to hear that. She said that she could find him a very beautiful and lovable girl from a high caste and respectable family and asked him to forget the lower caste acrobat girl, but llachikumar replied that he had never met any other girl who attracted him and he wanted to marry her. Acknowledging his resolve on the matter, she told her husband about their son's intentions. Dhandatta was shocked to hear this. He tried to dissuade his son from his intentions but llachikumar remained firm. Since Dhandatta was a sensible man, he could see that llachikumar would not be at peace without that girl. He did not want to lose his son for the sake of prestige. Therefore, he called the chief of acrobats and requested him to give his daughter in marriage to llachikumar. However, the acrobat refused, saying that he was bound by a condition of his tribe. Dhandatta thought that he might be looking for money for the girl and offered to give as much wealth as the acrobat wanted in return for agreeing to marry his daughter to llachikumar. The acrobat however declined the offer and again replied that he could not break the condition, so Dhandatta then asked him what this condition was. The acrobat said that he could give his daughter only to a person who could win an award from a royal court by pleasing the king with his acrobatic skill and then use the prize money to provide dinner to his community. Dhandatta was disappointed to hear a condition that was apparently impossible for his son to fulfill. After he explained to his wife what had happened, she told her son and said that the girl would only marry an expert acrobat and asked him to forget her. llachikumar was silent but his mind was racing with thoughts. He felt that he would not be able to live happily without the girl and was willing to make any sacrifice for her. He decided that he was even prepared to learn acrobatic skills for that purpose. His parents misunderstood his silence as disappointment and thought that in time he would recover. For a time, they tried to divert his attention to other matters to help him forget and llachikumar allowed them to believe that they were succeeding, but his mind was made up. When the acrobat group decided to leave the town of llavardhan, lachikumar secretly left his home and joined the them. 72 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #73 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ ILACHIKUMAR He discarded his fancy clothes for the acrobats' uniform and began learning their skills. Since he was smart and diligently worked to learn acrobatics, the chief's daughter soon fell in love with him and helped him learn. With her help, he easily mastered the art and soon became an expert acrobat. When the group reached the city of Benatat, he requested the chief to organize a show at the royal court so that he could have a chance to fulfill the condition. The chief went to the young King and requested that he watch the performance of the young acrobat and to award him a suitable prize for his skills. When the King agreed, the acrobats erected the poles in the compound of the royal palace and invited the officers of the state and the elite of the city to watch. Just before the show was due to start, the King arrived and took his seat in the balcony of the palace. Bowing to him, lachikumar went over to the pole, jumped up and began displaying his acrobatic skills. llachikumar walked on the rope with ease and grace, performing risky jumps and somersaults. It was a superb performance and full of acrobatic feats no one had ever seen before. Everyone was highly impressed with his skill. ONLINA wuzw7770 llachikumar walking the rope for the King llachikumar felt gratified by the appreciation of the people, thinking that it was enough to please the king as well. He came down and bowed to the King again and the chief went to him to request an appropriate award. However, during the performance the King's attention had been diverted by the beautiful girl and he had been fascinated by her. Seeing how lovingly she gazed at llachikumar throughout the performance, he thought that he could easily gain her if he somehow got rid of llachikumar. Therefore, when the chief acrobat approached the King and asked if he had enjoyed the performance, the king pretended that his mind had been occupied with problems of the state. He said that he had not been able to give his full attention to the performance. He requested JAIN STORY BOOK Page #74 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART III STORIES PRECEDING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR Ilachikumar to demonstrate his skills again. Accordingly, Ilachikumar got on the rope again and displayed his skills, again doing a superb job. But at the end of this second show, the King pretended to be drowsy and asked him to repeat the performance again. Ilachikumar could not believe the situation. He suspected that there was something wrong. However, since he was still eager to accomplish his cherished goal of marrying the girl, he decided to try again. Once again, he began the ropewalk, triumphantly noting the audience's reaction. While looking around, he noticed a beautiful woman offering sweet food to a young monk. She was in the prime of her youth and was very attractive and highly graceful. However, what surprised Ilachikumar was that the monk was clearly unaffected by her beauty. 1:10 DE Ilachikumar realizing the futility of attachment while observing a monk's action He compared this to his own situation. Ilachikumar had changed his entire life for the beauty of one girl, yet the monk was impervious to the lovely woman in front of him. He was amazed by the monk's self-control and detachment towards the beautiful woman. What power kept the monk aloof in her presence? In addition, while not only remaining aloof, the monk's face radiated peace! This attitude of the monk raised a succession of thoughts in the mind of Ilachikumar. "Why do I not feel detachment in the presence of a beautiful young girl?" He also continued to wonder why the King had asked him to repeat his performances, and finally he suspected that the King must be attracted to the girl and must be waiting for him to fall from the rope. "If I fall from the rope, I would be badly hurt and would not be able to perform acrobatic feats. In that case, I will never be able to marry the girl for whom I have abandoned my home and my parents." 74 Ilachikumar now realized that the happiness he was looking for was merely an illusion. He began to recall his early religious training, when he had been exposed to religious principles and had learned about the soul within the body and its immense capabilities. He realized that his achievements as an acrobat must have been due to that inner JAIN STORY BOOK Page #75 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ capability. Similarly, the monk could remain unaffected because he remained tuned to his soul and its abilities, remaining vigilant about potential pitfalls. "As an acrobat, I have to remain constantly vigilant because the slightest unawareness on my part could result in a fall from the high rope and possibly die. Why, then, should I not use the same vigilance for the sake of spiritual upliftment?" ILACHIKUMAR In an earlier life, he had trodden a long path of spiritual pursuit. The impact of that achievement was lying subdued within him, waiting for an opportunity to manifest itself. Now, the sight of the monk provided the needed catalyst, and he became fully awakened to the realization that he was a soul and that all the other situations were simply an illusion. While on the rope, Ilachikumar dwelt deep into his self and attained omniscience, or keval-jnan. Then, he quietly climbed down the pole and bid farewell to every one as he left the place Moral: The focus of this story is on the principle of detachment. The monk's detachment towards the beautiful woman guided lachikumar onto the right path. Attachment to materialistic things, people, or feelings often causes misery to others and to us. We should strive to minimize our attachment to the outer world (i.e. detach ourselves) and focus on our inner self. Attachment is an obstacle in the path of self-realization. 17 - Questions: 1. What happened when Ilachikumar saw the acrobats? What did he want to do? 2. Why could he not marry the daughter of the acrobat? 3. What did Ilachikumar do when the acrobats left town? 4. Whom did the King see while Ilachikumar was walking on the tight rope for the King? What did the King keep doing to make llachikumar repeat his performance several times? 5. While he was walking on the tight rope, what did he see? What did he realize? JAIN STORY BOOK 75 Page #76 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART III STORIES PRECEDING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR 18- Monk Kurgadu In ancient times, there lived a businessman named Dhandatta who was highly religious and also raised his son to be like him. Once, Dharmaghosh-suri, the highly enlightened Acharya of that time, came to the town where Dhandatta lived. Dhandatta took his son to listen to the sermon. The boy was so impressed by the Acharya's sermon that he decided to become his disciple. Accordingly, he renounced worldly life and became a monk at a very young age. The Acharya realized that the boy had tremendous potential to be a great Jain monk. He therefore renamed him Kulaguru. In the native language of that area he came to be known as Kurgadu. 76 1404 Monk Kurgadu attains Enlightenment while eating JAIN STORY BOOK Page #77 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ MONK KURGADU Kurgadu studied the holy books and was able to correctly comprehend their essence. He realized the role of karma in the life of every being and thereby learned to maintain a high level of equanimity. In almost all aspects, he rigorously observed the code of conduct for monks. However, he could not overcome one problem. It was difficult for him to stay hungry and so he could not fast. He needed to eat at least once a day. Even during Paryushan Parva, Kurgadu could not fast for a single day. As he ate his food on the days of Paryushan, he felt miserable and regretted that he was not able to fast. He attributed his inability to fast to his previous karmas. When the other monks observed their fasts, he praised them and rendered every type of service to them. He wished in his heart that he could someday observe fasts. It was during one monsoon season that an event occurred that changed his situation. During the monsoon season, Jain monks forgo traveling and remain in one place for the duration of the monsoons. Paryushan Parva falls during this time. During that year's Paryushan Parva, Acharya Dharmaghosh-suri, along with many of his disciples including Muni Kurgadu, remained in the town. Many of the monks undertook long fasts, some extending more than a month. Kurgadu felt disappointed that he could not observe such austerities. Especially on the day of Samvatsari, he wished that he could observe a day-long fast. He began the day in an earnest effort to avoid eating. However, before noon, he felt very hungry and could not do without food. He was surprised at the kind of karma he had acquired where he could not fast even for a day, but he reluctantly approached the guru and begged for his permission to go for alms. The guru lovingly tried to persuade him to go without food for just one day, feeling that he should be inspired to observe a fast at least for that day, especially when all the other monks were on long fasts. Kurgadu humbly replied that he did wish to observe a fast and very much regretted his inability to fast. Due to his humility, the guru took pity on his fate and compassionately allowed him to go for alms. Kurgadu went for alms and accepted the food that was offered to him. Returning, he presented the alms to his guru as part of the monk's code of conduct and modestly begged his permission to eat. Although the guru gave his permission willingly, the other monks made negative remarks. They unsympathetically said that he did not deserve to be a monk for eating on an auspicious day. Kurgadu listened to the remarks quietly. He went to a corner and reluctantly started to eat. While eating, Kurgadu dwelt deeply on the inability of his body to remain without food for a day. Learned as he was, he could see that it must be the result of his previous karma. He understood that all karmas are shed after extending the appropriate consequence and this karma too would be shed. He made up his mind to passively accept what had been ordained by his karma. Because of his study of the scriptures, he had gained insight about the true nature of his soul. Earlier, despising himself for not observing a fast had prevented him from full realization of that true nature. Now his willingness to accept what was a physical limitation endowed him with the insight of distinguishing the nature of the soul from the varying states of the body and mind. His new-found insight gave rise to the manifestation of the true nature of the soul, and his realization was strong enough to destroy all the defiling karmas on the spot and he gained omniscience (keval-jnan) immediately while he was eating. When one attains omniscience, the heavenly beings arrive to offer their obeisance. When other monks saw the heavenly beings coming towards them, they thought that the heavenly beings were coming to praise them for their severe austerities. Instead, the heavenly beings turned to Kurgadu and offered their obeisance to him. No one could understand why those observing severe austerity were left out while the one who could not observe it at all had gained full enlightenment. In amazement, the monks went to Dharmaghosh-suri and asked him the reason for what had happened. The Acharya said that they were all feeling very proud of their austerities and were unnecessarily disapproving of Kurgadu for not observing a fast. Therefore, they were smeared by perception obscuring karma. He urged them to bear in mind that the primary purpose of observing austerities or any other religious practice was to gain modesty that leads to right perception, which in turn helps to attain equanimity. The monks had misjudged Kurgadu, who had realized the essence of religion. Earlier, he had acquired obstructing karma that did not allow him to observe the austerity. He sincerely repented for that karma which had become operative in his current life, and by properly comprehending the role of karma, he acquired right perception. By bearing the consequence of those karmas with equanimity, he was able to wipe them out without acquiring new ones. Thereupon, the monks realized that they were indulging in unnecessary vanity that obstructed right perception. JAIN STORY BOOK Page #78 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART III STORIES PRECEDING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR The Acharya also explained that the soul had nothing to do with the state and activities of the body. The body is obtained as a consequence of the operative karma and should be used simply as an instrument for realizing the true nature of soul. It can be an effective instrument only if it is used purposefully. Moral: Understanding the true nature of the soul is the essence of religion and it is the only thing worth pursuing in this life. We should never look down upon anyone who cannot observe austerities and penance or one who cannot follow the religious principles as much as others. Rather than putting these people down, one must encourage them to do so with compassion and realize that it is due to the karmas of that person that they are unable to do so. One must never be proud of the austerities that one is able to perform. The purpose of observing austerities or other religious practices is to gain modesty that leads to right perception, which in turn helps to attain equanimity. 18 - Questions: 1. What did Dhandatta's son do when he heard the Acharya's sermon? What was he named? 2. What was he unable to do? 3. What happened on the day of Samvatsari? What did he achieve? 78 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #79 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Part IV Stories during Bhagawan Mahavir TE - Page #80 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ "That Which subdues passions, leads to bliss and fosters friendliness is called knowledge" - Mulachar (5/11) Page #81 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ MAHAVIR-SWAMI AND THE COWHERD 19 - Mahavir swami and the Cowherd One day as Mahavir swami was going from one place to another, he stopped near a big tree to meditate. While he was meditating, a cowherd came with his cows. He needed someone to look after his cows so he could go for some errands. He asked Mahavir swami if he would look after his cows for a few hours. Mahavir swami was in deep meditation and did not respond to the cowherd. However, the cowherd went away thinking that Mahavir swami had heard him and would look after his cows. In the meantime, the cows started wandering away looking for grass. A few hours later, the cowherd returned and found all his cows were missing. He asked Mahavir swami, "Where are my cows? What did you do with them?" Mahavir swami was still in meditation and did not reply. The herder started wondering where the cows could have gone. Since Mahavir swami did not reply, the cowherd searched for them everywhere but could not find them. While he was looking for the cows, the cows returned to the place where Mahavir swami was meditating. 000 Indra preventing an ignorant cowherd from assaulting Bhagawan Mahavir When the cowherd came back, to his amazement all his cows were standing near Mahavir swami. Mahavir swami was still meditating. The cowherd became very angry at Mahavir swami because he thought that Mahavir swami had been hiding his cows. Therefore, he took out his rope and was about to whip Mahavir swami with it. Just then, an angel from heaven came down and held his hand. "Can you not see that Mahavir swami is in deep meditation?" the angel asked. "But he tricked me!" said the cowherd. The angel replied, "He is in meditation and did not hear you. He was prince Vardhaman before becoming a monk. He did not do anything to your cows. You would have acquired bad karmas for hurting him." The cowherd realized that he had made a mistake. He apologized to Mahavir swami and went away silently JAIN STORY BOOK Page #82 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR Bhagawan Mahavir declining Indra's protection Then, the angel bowed down to Mahavir swami and requested, "Oh Lord, I would like to be at your service as you will have to undergo many hardships during your spiritual journey." Mahavir swami answered, "One cannot progress spiritually and attain Keval-jnan using others help and support. To attain Keval-jnan and become an Arihanta one has to undertake all the efforts personally on the journey towards omniscience and liberation." The angel went back to heaven feeling happy that he could stop Mahavir swami's suffering. Mahavir did not have any bad feelings towards the cowherd because he held no anger towards anyone. Moral: We should not make hasty decisions because we could be wrong. One should think from all perspectives before acting. Secondly, we should not hurt anyone for any reason, but should forgive instead of displaying anger. This is the way we can stop the inflow of bad Karmas to our souls. 19 - Questions: 1. What did the cowherd ask Bhagawan Mahavir to do? Did he do it? Why not? 2. What happened when the cowherd came back? What did the cowherd get ready to do? 3. Who stopped him? Why? 4. What did the angel request Bhagawan Mahavir? What did Bhagawan Mahavir say? 82 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #83 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ 20- Chandkaushik This is a story about Bhagawan Mahavir when he was a monk. He used to fast, meditate, and perform penance. He traveled barefoot from place to place and village to village. Bhagawan Mahavir once decided to go to the village of Vachala. On his way, he would have to go through a forest where a poisonous snake named Chandkaushik lived. It was said that Chandkaushik could kill a person or animal just by casting an evil and angry glance at them. All the people of the villages near that forest lived in absolute fear. CHANDKAUSHIK When the villagers learned about Mahavir's intention to pass through the forest, they begged him to take another longer route. However, Mahavir had no fear. He practiced supreme non-violence. He had no hatred towards anyone and considered fear and hatred as violence to oneself. He was at peace with himself and all other living beings. There was a glow of serenity and compassion on his face. He convinced the people that everything would be all right and he proceeded to the forest where Chandkaushik lived. After a while, he noticed the beautiful green grass fading. The forest looked like a desert. Trees and plants were dead so he thought that this must be near the area where Chandkaushik lived. Mahavir stopped there to meditate. Peace, tranquility, and compassion for the wellbeing of each and every living being flowed from Mahavir's heart. Bhagawan Mahavir enlightening a poisonous snake, Chandkaushik JAIN STORY BOOK 83 Page #84 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR Chandkaushik sensed that someone had come near his land and so he came out of his burrow. To his surprise, he saw a man standing there. He became furious, thinking, "How dare he come this close to my land?" Chandkaushik started hissing to threaten Lord Mahavir. He did not understand Lord Mahavir's tranquility. He became angry, came closer to the Lord and swayed his head, ready to strike. He saw no sign that this man would be threatened or would run away. This made Chandkaushik even angrier and he blew poisonous venom towards Lord Mahavir three times. The venom neither affected Lord Mahavir nor disturbed his meditation. So Chandkaushik became even more irritated and bit Lord Mahavir's toe. When he looked at the man again, he was surprised to see that not only had nothing happened to him, but instead of blood, milk flowed from his toe. Bhagawan Mahavir opened his eyes. He was calm and there was no fear or anger on his face. He looked at Chandkaushik and said, "Calm down, calm down, Chandkaushik. Realize what you are doing." There was love and affection in those words. Chandkaushik calmed down and felt as if he had seen this kind of monk before. He suddenly remembered his two previous lives. Chandkaushik then realized the truth of life and what anger and ego from his last two lives had done to him. He bowed his head respectfully to the Lord. Chandkaushik peacefully retreated to his hole with his head inside while a portion of his body remained outside the hole. After a while when the people came to know that Chandkaushik was no longer harmful to anyone, they came to see him out of curiosity. They saw him lying quietly. Some started worshipping him by offering milk and food, while some were still furious because he had killed their loved ones. They threw stones and beat him with wooden sticks. Blood, milk, and food attracted ants. Chandkaushik willingly suffered the biting and beating and remained at peace with no trace of anger. He died a few days later. The self-restraint and control of his feelings destroyed many of his bad karmas. Therefore, at the end of his life he was born in heaven. Moral: Fear, hatred, and ego are violence to one's self and not to anyone else. Chandkaushik depicts this from the anger and ego he had committed during his past lives. Selfrealization through the help of Bhagawan Mahavir made him realize his mistake and led him to repent for his deeds. This ultimately washed away his bad karmas and led him to heaven. From this story we should learn to remain calm and avoid anger, ego, and all forms of violence. We should be fearless of evil and approach them with tranquility. 20 - Questions: 1. When the villagers learned about Mahavir's intention to pass through the forest, what did they beg him to do? Why? 2. What did Mahavir do? What happened when he was meditating in the forest? 3. What did Mahavir tell Chandkaushik? What did Chandkaushik realize? 4. What happened when Chandkaushik decided to lie quietly? 84 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #85 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ CHANDANBALA 21 - Chandanbala Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess named Vasumati. She was the daughter of King Dadhivahan and Queen Dharini of the city of Champapuri in the state of Bihar, India. One day, a war broke out between King Dadhivahan and King Shatanik of the nearby city of Kaushambi. King Dadhivahan was defeated in the war and ran away in despair. When princess Vasumati and Queen Dharini learned that they had lost the war, they decided to escape, but while they were running from the palace, a soldier from the enemy's army spotted and captured them. Princess Vasumati and her mother were terrified, not knowing what the soldier would do to them. He told the queen that he would marry her and sell Vasumati. Upon hearing this, the queen went into shock and died. The soldier then took Vasumati to Kaushambi to sell her. When it was Vasumati's turn to be sold in the slave market, a merchant named Dhanavah happened to be passing by. He saw Vasumati being sold, and upon seeing her noble face, he realized that she was not an ordinary slave girl. He thought she might have been separated from her parents. He wondered what her fate would be if she were sold as an ordinary slave. Therefore, out of compassion, Dhanavah bought Vasumati and took her home. On the way, he asked her, "Who are you and what has happened to your parents?" Vasumati did not reply. Dhanavah then told her not to be afraid and that he would treat her as his daughter. When they reached home, the merchant told his wife, Moola about Vasumati. "My dear," he said, "I have brought this girl home. She has not said anything about her past. Please JUUUUUUUU treat her like our daughter." Vasumati was relieved. She thanked the merchant and his wife with respect. The merchant's family was very happy with her. They named her Chandanbala since she would not tell anyone her real name. While staying at the merchant's house, Chandanbala's attitude was like that of a daughter. This made the merchant very happy. Moola, on the other hand, started wondering what her husband would do with Chandanbala. She thought that he might marry her because of her beauty. With these thoughts, Moola became more and more uncomfortable with the idea of having Chandanbala around. One day, when the merchant came home from work, the servant who usually washed his feet was not there. Chandanbala noticed this and was delighted to have a chance to wash his feet for all the fatherly love he had given Moola being suspicious of her. While she was busy washing the merchant's feet, her Chandanbala's innocent act hair slipped out of her hairpin. The merchant saw this and felt bad that her hair might get dirty, so he lifted her hair and clipped it back. Moola saw this and was outraged. She felt that her doubts about Chandanbala were true and therefore, she decided to get rid of Chandanbala as soon as possible. Soon, Dhanavah went on a three-day business trip. His wife decided to use this opportunity to get rid of Chandanbala. She called a barber right away to shave off Chandanbala's beautiful hair. Then, she tied Chandanbala's legs with heavy shackles and locked her in a room away from the main area of the house. She told JAIN STORY BOOK 85 Page #86 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR the other servants not to tell Dhanavah where Chandanbala was or she would do the same to them. Then, Moola left and went to her parent's house. When Dhanavah returned from his trip, he did not see Moola or Chandanbala. He asked the servants about them. The servants told him that Moola was at her parent's house, but they did not tell him where Chandanbala was because they were scared of Moola. He asked the servants in a worried tone, "Where is my daughter Chandanbala? Please speak up and tell the truth." Still nobody said a word. The merchant felt very upset and did not know what to do. After a few minutes, an older servant thought, "I am an old woman and will soon die anyway. What is the worst thing Moola can do to me?" So, out of compassion for Chandanbala and sympathy for the merchant, she told him everything that Moola had done to Chandanbala. She took the merchant to the room where Chandanbala was locked up. Dhanavah unlocked the door and saw Chandanbala. Shocked, he said, "My dear daughter, I will get you out of here. You must be hungry. Let me find some food for you." He went to the kitchen to find food for her, but found no food except for some boiled lentils in a pan. The merchant took the pan of lentils to Chandanbala. He told her that he was going to get a blacksmith to cut the heavy shackles and left. Meanwhile, Chandanbala was thinking about how her life had changed. She started wondering how fate can change a person's life from riches to almost helplessness. Chandanbala decided that she would like to make an offering of food to a monk or nun before eating. She got up, walked to the door, and stood there with one foot outside and one inside the house. To her surprise, she saw Lord Mahavir walking towards her and tears of happiness rolled down her face. She said, "Oh revered Lord, please accept this food." Lord Mahavir had taken a vow to fast until a person who met certain conditions offered him food. His conditions were: The person offering the food: * She should be a princess * She should be bald She should be in shackles She should offer boiled lentils, with one foot inside and the other foot outside the house Bhagawan Mahavir accepting alms from She should have been fasting Chandanbala * She should have tears in her eyes Lord Mahavir looked at her and noticed that Chandanbala met all of his requirements. Mahavir swami stepped forward to accept the alms because all of his conditions had been met. Chandanbala felt very happy to be able to offer the lentils to Lord Mahavir. As Lord Mahavir had fasted for five months and twenty-five days, heavenly beings celebrated the end of Lord Mahavir's fast. By magical power, Chandanbala's shackles broke, her hair grew back, and she was dressed as a princess. There was music and celebration that drew the attention of King Shatanik. He came to see Chandanbala with his family, ministers, and many other people. Sampul, a servant from her father's kingdom, recognized Chandanbala. He walked towards her, bowed, and broke out in tears. King Shatanik asked, "Why are you crying?" 86 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #87 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ CHANDANBALA Sampul replied, "My Lord, this is Vasumati, the princess of Champapuri, daughter of King Dadhivahan and Queen Dharini." The King and queen now recognized her and invited her to live with them. Later, when Lord Mahavir attained keval-jnan (perfect knowledge), he re-established the fourfold order of the Jain sangh. At that time, Chandanbala took diksha and became the first nun (sadhvi). She became the head nun of the Jain order. Later on, she attained keval-jnan and liberation from the cycle of life and death. Moral: We can learn from a number of behaviors that are cited in this story. Moola's heart was blinded by jealously and therefore she did not understand Chandanbala's plight, or the role of a mother, or the compassion of a father. This led her to do terrible things resulting in her acquiring bad karma. This depicts the destructive power of jealously and why we should avoid it. Next, the selfless old servant who told Dhanavah what had happened. She did this out of compassion and risked her own demise at the hands of Moola. This good karma will bind to her soul as punya and demonstrates the principles of Jainism. Similarly, Dhanavah's compassion and treatment of Chandanbala supports the proper role of a father and the willingness to help an orphan. Lastly, Chandanbala's offering of food to Lord Mahavir, despite her own pitiful situation, was very selfless and came from the heart. Following the principles of Jainism ultimately led Chandanbala to the path of liberation. Note: The popular story violates the rules of sadhus asking for alms. Once a sadhu turns away from a house, he will not return to the house at that point. So, saying that Mahavir swami turned away from the house and then the last condition was fulfilled "tears in the eyes" at which time he returned to Chandanbala's house did not happen. 21 - Questions: 1. Who was Chandanbala? How did she come to be sold in the slave market? 2. Who bought her? Why? How did he treat her? 3. What happened when Dhanavah went on a business trip? 4. What happened when Dhanavah returned from the business trip? 5. What happened when Mahavir came to Chandanbala? What were his conditions for taking alms? 6. What happened when Mahavir took the lentils from Chandanbala? 7. What happened to Chandanbala after that? JAIN STORY BOOK Page #88 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR 22-Nails in the Ears: Last Calamity for Bhagawan Mahavir Twelve years of meditation and penance passed with great success for Lord Mahavir. His life was exemplary. He put forth unsurpassable examples of truth, non-violence, forgiveness, compassion, fearlessness, yoga and true knowledge. In the thirteenth year he faced another calamity. Near the village of Shammani, he stood in a meditation posture. Just like at the beginning of his asceticism, he met a cowherd who left his oxen in the care of Lord Mahavir. The cowherd went into the village and returned a little later. The oxen had drifted away while grazing. Not finding his oxen, he asked, "Ascetic, where are my oxen?" Mahavir was in deep meditation and unaware of all this. The cowherd asked again, and once again he did not get a response. He was irritated and shouted, "You hypocrite! Are you deaf? Don't you hear anything?" 88 A cowherd hammering thorns in Bhagawan Mahavir's ears JAIN STORY BOOK Page #89 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Mahavir still did not respond. The cowherd became very angry, "You pretender, it seems that both your ears are useless. Wait a minute! I will fix your ears." He picked long nail-like thorns from a nearby shrub and pierced the ears of Mahavir deeply by hammering the thorns in. NAILS IN THE EARS Even such excruciating agony did not move Mahavir from his meditation or evoke any feeling of anger or aversion in him. Completing his meditation, he went to the village for alms. He arrived at the door of a trader named Siddhartha. A doctor was sitting with him. Both of them gave food to Mahavir swami with due respect. The doctor told Siddhartha, "Friend, the face of this monk has a divine glow, but there is a shade of tiredness too. Some inner pain is visible in his eyes. I feel this great sage suffers from some inner agony." Siddhartha replied, "Friend, if such a great sage suffers from some kind of pain, we should immediately go to him and treat him." Bhagawan Mahavir calmly bearing the pain as the thorns are removed After taking alms, Mahavir swami returned. The doctor and Siddhartha followed him to the place where Mahavir swami rested. During examination the doctor found the thorns stuck in his ears. Seeing this, they arranged for the necessary instruments and medicines. They used some medicated oil and tongs and pulled out the thorns. This caused such unbearable agony to Bhagawan Mahavir that an anguished cry was forced out of him. The doctor dressed the wound with some coagulant. Mahavir continued to sit there calm and quiet in deep meditation. The reason Mahavir swami had to bear this calamity was because of what he did as Triprushtha Vasudev (birth no. 18). At that time, he liked to sleep while listening to music. He told his servant to stop the music once he fell asleep. JAIN STORY BOOK 89 Page #90 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR However, his servant was enjoying the music and forgot to stop it. When he woke up and still heard the music playing, he was furious. To teach his servant a lesson, he had hot lead poured into his servant's ears so he would not be able to hear anything anymore. This servant was reborn as the cowherd who then proceeded to put the thorns in Mahavir swami's ears. Moral: Whenever we do any karma, we have to bear the consequences. In each incident of difficulty, we see the conquest of Mahavir's soul and mind over his physical pain and suffering. His meditation and penance purified his soul. It helped him to separate himself from perishable and mortal worldly things and concentrate on the liberation of his immortal soul. 22 - Questions: 1. What did the cowherd ask Bhagawan Mahavir to do? Did he do it? Why not? 2. What happened when the cowherd came back? What did the cowherd do? 3. Describe what happened when Mahavir went to village for alms. 4. Why did Mahavir have to bear this calamity? 90 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #91 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ MEGHAKUMAR 23 - Meghakumar King Shrenik of Magadha region in the state of Bihar had a beautiful queen named Dharini. Once, while she was sleeping, she dreamt of a white elephant entering her mouth. She immediately woke up and told the King about her dream. King Shrenik knew that it was an auspicious dream. He called the dream experts who predicted that the queen would give birth to a very handsome and intelligent son who will excel in everything. The King and queen were very pleased to hear this. During the third month of her pregnancy, queen Dharini had an irresistible urge to ride an elephant in the country with the King with the sky decorated with clouds of colorful hues, lightning flashing, and rain pouring. In most parts of India, it only rains during the monsoon season, which is usually from June to October. Queen Dharini, however, had the urge during the off-season. The fulfillment of her urge was therefore a problem. In order to see that her health and well-being were not affected by the unsatisfied urge, the King asked his eldest son, Abhaykumar, who was also the Prime Minister of the state, for a solution to satisfy the queen's urge. Abhaykumar had a friend who could do miracles. The friend arranged events according to Dharini's urge. She was therefore able to ride on an elephant with the King and satisfy her urge. In due course, Queen Dharini gave birth to a very handsome and adorable baby boy. Rain in the Indian language is called Megh, so in commemoration of her urge during pregnancy, the boy was named Meghakumar. At the age of 8, he was sent to school, where he learned all 72 types of arts and crafts and became an accomplished youth. He got married and enjoyed all the pleasures of worldly life. Once, Lord Mahavir came to Rajgrihi, the capital city of Queen Dharini riding an elephant Magadha, and stayed in the Gunashil monastery. Almost every resident of Rajgrihi went to listen to his sermons. Meghakumar went as well. The sermon made a lasting impression on him. He realized the transitory nature of worldly situations and decided to renounce his worldly life. His parents were sad to hear about his plan. They tried everything possible to prevent him from renouncing his worldly life. However, he remained firm. Nevertheless, in order to satisfy his parents' wishes, he agreed to become the king for one day. He was ceremoniously crowned King with all the royal pomp. Immediately after that, he left everything, renounced worldly life, and became a disciple monk of Lord Mahavir. At night, as a junior monk, he was given a place to sleep near the entrance. During the night, other monks using the restrooms had to walk past his side. Since no lamps are allowed in the upashray (the monks' residence), they happened to trample on his bed and sometimes their feet accidentally touched his body in the dark. Poor Meghakumar could not sleep for the whole night. He had grown up in luxuries. Therefore, it was difficult for him to bear the accidental kicking by the monks and his bed and body being smeared in dirt. He felt that he could not bear that sort of a miserable life and decided to give up the life of a monk. In the morning, he went to Lord Mahavir to seek permission to return home. Mahavir was aware of the discomforts that Meghakumar had faced the previous night and told him, "Meghakumar, you do not remember, but let me describe to you the discomforts that you faced during your previous life." "In your previous life you were Meruprabha, the King of elephants. Once there was a terrible forest fire from which you narrowly escaped. You decided to make a shelter that all the animals could use in case of another fire. You JAIN STORY BOOK Page #92 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR cleared up a vast stretch of land by removing all the plants, bushes, and trees. You also weeded out the grass that grew there." "Once again there was a wild fire in the forest. All the animals came running and took refuge on that stretch. You were also there. During that time, you raised your foot to scratch your body because of an itch. At that very moment, a rabbit jumped into that space. As you tried to put your foot down, you saw the rabbit jump into that space and decided to hold your foot up in order to save the rabbit. The fire raged for two and a half days during which you continued to hold your foot up out of compassion for the rabbit." Meghakumar in a previous life as an elephant saving a rabbit's life "At the end of the fire, as the animals retreated, you tried to lower your foot. However, it was so stiff by then that you could not keep your balance and fell down. You felt agonizing pain and could not get up. You spent three days and nights suffering from severe pain. Ultimately, you died, and in your next birth you were born here as the prince of King Shrenik because of your compassion for the rabbit. If you could face that much distress for the sake of a rabbit and attain this priceless human life in return, how can you not face the accidental kicking and the dirt from the feet of your fellow monks? Do you realize that by renouncing this worldly life and becoming a monk you have taken the first step towards the long journey of liberation? Remember that all these sufferings and happiness we 92 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #93 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ experience are only due to our own karmas. They are only temporary by their very nature. The everlasting happiness is achieved only upon liberation." Meghakumar was spellbound by the Lord's words and realized his mistake. He requested the Lord to reinitiate him since he had virtually broken his vow of monkhood by strongly desiring worldly life. The Lord did so, and Meghmuni, as he was called thereafter, started leading a rigorous, austere life. Fasting for days at a time, he stayed in meditation a lot in order to eradicate his karmas. When his body became very weak and he could no longer observe the rigors of ascetic life, he decided to observe the fast until death. This vow is called Sanlekhana. He fasted for a month on mount Vaibhargiri near Rajgrihi. Upon death, he was born in heaven. Bhagawan Mahavir had stated to Gautam swami that at the end of the heavenly life, Meghakumar would be reborn as a human being and would attain liberation. MEGHAKUMAR Upon death, the elephant is born as Prince Meghakumar Moral: Here is a great example of compassion or Karuna bhavana. An elephant bears discomfort and pain to save a little animal. As we are more developed and more rational beings, we should learn from these animals to be helpful to each other. In addition, when one takes an oath to lead the life of a monk, one should not revert to a worldly life or even entertain thoughts of doing so. An ascetic life is a very tough and rigorous life which makes one realize and understand the true nature of the soul. In order to achieve this understanding, one must put aside the worldly life permanently because it tends to distort things. Suffering occurs because of one's past karma, so one should bear it with patience and focus on the soul for self-realization. 23 - Questions: 1. What was the effect of Lord Mahavir's sermon on Meghakumar? 2. What was happening to Meghakumar during the night? What did he decide to do? 3. When Meghakumar told Mahavir swami about his decision, what did Mahavir swami do? 4. Why did Mahavir swami tell Meghakumar the story of an elephant? Describe that story briefly. Elephant? Upon hearing story, what did Meghakumar decide to do? JAIN STORY BOOK 93 Page #94 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR 24-Aimutta Muni Once upon a time in the streets of Polaspur, India, a six-year-old child named Aimutta was playing with his friends. He was the son of King Vijay and Queen Shrimati. While playing, he saw a monk. The monk's name was Gautam swami, the chief disciple of Lord Mahavir. He was barefoot and bald. He was going from one house to another to get alms (food). Aimutta ran to him and invited him to his palace to get food, saying this would make his mother and him very happy. Gautam swami agreed, and they went to the palace. Aimutta's mother, Queen Shrimati, was standing on the balcony overlooking the garden. She saw Gautam swami and Aimutta coming towards the palace. She was very happy and came down to receive Gautam swami. She welcomed him with devotion and said, "Matthaena Vandami (my salutation to you)." She asked Aimutta to go and get his favorite food to offer Gautam swami. Aimutta brought ladoos (sweets) and started putting them in the container even though Gautam swami said he didn't need that many. Aimutta was very happy to be offering food to the monk. As Gautam swami started to leave, Aimutta said, "Your bag is heavy. Please let me carry it for you." Gautam swami said, "Aimutta, I cannot give it to you because it can only be carried by those who have taken diksha and have become a monk." Aimutta asked, "What is diksha?" Gautam swami explained to him that when someone takes a vow of diksha, he renounces his worldly life, his house, his family, and all other social and economic ties. Then he becomes a monk. People take Diksha to avoid the accumulation of bad karma and to attain liberation. In normal everyday living, people are involved in various activities, which cause them to accumulate karmas. On the other hand, monks and nuns avoid all the activities of householders in order to avoid accumulating these karmas. Aimutta became curious and asked, "Gurudev, you do not commit sins! However, don't you need to eat? Don't you need a place to live? All these activities cause sins which acquire bad karmas." Gautam swami was pleased with the child's interest to learn more. So he explained, "We take food but we do not accept food which is made especially for us. We stay in a place but we do not own it, and we do not stay there for more than a few days at a time. We do not keep money, and we do not take part in any business or any organization. Thus, as a monk, we do not do any activity that causes sins. Aimutta said, "In that case, Gurudev, I want to take diksha." Aimutta and Gautam swami walked to the place where Lord Mahavir was giving a sermon. Aimutta joined the others to listen to his teachings. In that sermon, Aimutta learned what life is all about and what one can do if he or she wants to eliminate worldly suffering. Aimutta expressed his desire to become a monk to Lord Mahavir. Lord Mahavir said, "We cannot let you take diksha without your parents' permission." Aimutta replied, "That is easy. I will go home, get their permission, and come back." Aimutta went home. He told his mother, "Mother, I want to take diksha. Remember you used to say that our household life is full of violence and causes sins? Gautam swami and Lord Mahavir also said the same. I want to be free of sins. Therefore, please give me permission to take diksha." Aimutta's mother was surprised by his words. She was happy in her mind for his fear of sins and his desire to take diksha because she was a religious woman. However, she wanted to be sure that Aimutta understood what "taking diksha" meant. So she said, "My son, to take diksha is a very hard and disciplined life. You will not have a mother or a father to take care of you. How will you be able to handle such suffering?" Aimutta said, "Mother, this household life also has a lot of suffering. At least we know that as a monk the suffering will help destroy karmas and lead to liberation." His mother was very happy to hear this. However, she wanted to test Aimutta's determination further. She said, "Son, why are you in such a hurry? Wait for a while. You need to take care of us when we get old, and you will have your own family too." 94 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #95 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ AIMUTTA MUNI Aimutta said, "Mother, I learned from Lord Mahavir that no one is young or old. I also learned that no one knows what is going to happen tomorrow. No one knows who will die first or last. So why wait and miss the opportunity which is available to me today?" His mother was very happy that her son fully understood what diksha meant and what his desire was. She said, "Congratulations, my son. I am very proud of you. You will be a good monk. Do not forget that your goal is to attain liberation and be sure to observe ahimsa (non-violence) throughout your life. I give you permission to take diksha. Aimutta said, "Thank you, Mother. I will remember your advice." Aimutta's mother blessed him and wished him success in his new life. She also helped him get permission from his father, King Vijay. A few days later he took diksha and became a monk called "Balmuni (young monk) Aimutta." Balmuni Aimutta playing with a boat' in the water One day, Balmuni Aimutta saw some children playing with a paper boat in a water puddle. He became excited about playing and forgot that as a monk he could not play with water. He ran towards the children and asked if he could join them. The children became excited that a monk wanted to play with them. He took the lid off his container and started playing with it as if it were a boat. He said, "Look, my boat is also sailing." Meanwhile, other monks came there and saw him playing with water. They said, "Balmuni, what are you doing? Did you forget that as a monk you should not play with water? Playing with water causes harm to many living beings that live in the water. As monks, we have taken a vow not to hurt any living being. You have violated your vow and have accumulated some bad karmas." Balmuni Aimutta realized his mistake. He immediately started repenting, "Oh! What have I done? I promised my mother that I would not do any sinful activity. These monks were kind enough to remind me of my mistake! What would have happened if these monks had not seen me?" He was truly regretful for what he had done. He left with JAIN STORY BOOK 95 Page #96 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR the other monks. Monks have to recite the Iriyavahiyam Sutra after returning to their place from outside. Therefore, Balmuni also recited this sutra. Thereafter he thoroughly studied the 11 Anga Agams. One day, at the age of thirteen, he was reciting the Iriyavahiyam Sutra. When he came to the part: If I have hurt any living beings of water, green grass, and clay, I am asking for forgiveness. He remembered the sin he had committed while playing with the water as a monk many years earlier. His repentance had no bounds. He was extremely sorry for what he had done. He began thinking, "What did I do? I have hurt so many living beings just for fun. How can I be free of these sins? Oh living beings, I have caused harm Due to his sincere repentance, Aimutta Muni destroyed all his destructive karmas and attained keval-jnan to you. Please forgive me for my sins. I will never commit these sins again." Because of his sincere repentance, all of his bad karmas were destroyed and he attained omniscience, or keval-jnan (infinite knowledge). Now he became a kevali monk at the age of thirteen. 96 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #97 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Lord Mahavir explained to the other monks that Aimutta Muni had destroyed his destructive karmas and become a kevali AIMUTTA MUNI After this, Kevali Aimutta Muni went to Lord Mahavir's assembly and started walking towards the place where other kevali monks sit. Some senior monks noticed this and told him, "Oh, Aimutta!! Where are you going? That is the place for kevali monks to sit. Go over there, where the other monks are sitting." Lord Mahavir interrupted them and said, "Monks, you should not disrespect a kevali. Aimutta Muni is no ordinary monk now. While reciting Iriyavahiyam Sutra, he destroyed all of his destructive karmas and became a kevali." The monks realized their mistakes, bowed down to him and thought, "There is no age barrier to be a kevali." At the end of his life, Balmuni Aimutta attained liberation. Moral: The pursuit and understanding of Jainism has no age limit but is rather driven by one's own true faith, understanding, and the passion to learn and practice the principles of Jainism. All of us make mistakes, which cause bad karma. Mistakes can be intentional or unintentional. It is possible that karma resulting from unintentional mistakes can be eliminated by true and sincere repentance. However, one should not intentionally make a mistake knowing that they plan to repent for it later. Such repentance will be in vain since it is not true or sincere. 24 - Questions: 1. What did the six-year old Aimutta do when he saw Gautam swami? 2. Why was he not able to carry Gautam swami's heavy bag? What was Gautam swami's explanation? 3. What did he do as Balmuni Aimutta? 4. At the age of thirteen, when he was reciting the Iriyavahiyam Sutra, what happened? JAIN STORY BOOK 97 Page #98 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR 25- Anand Shravak Once upon a time, there lived a King named Jitshatru in the city of Vanijya, India. A rich householder named Anand also lived in the same city. He was so rich that he had 4 million gold coins, an equal amount of cash, an equal amount invested in business, lots of jewelry, and many other assets. He also owned 40,000 cows. He was highly respected by the King as well as by the people of Vanijya. One day, Lord Mahavir visited Vanijya and delivered a sermon. After listening to the sermon, Anand decided to follow Jainism by accepting the twelve vows of a householder. Anand observed these vows for fourteen years and progressed spiritually. One day Anand shravak attained a special ability known as Avadhi-jnan (clairvoyance) by performing severe penance, austerities, and meditation. His Avadhi-jnan was purer and more powerful than that acquired by other laypeople in their spiritual progress. At this time, Lord Mahavir and his disciples were in town. While returning from gochari (getting food or alms), Gautam swami learned that many people were going to pay homage to Anand shravak for his newly acquired spiritual ability (Avadhi-jnan) and his austerities. He decided to visit him. Anand was very happy to see Gautam swami, his guru (spiritual teacher). Anand shravak welcomed Gautam swami warmly. Gautam swami inquired about his health and then asked about his new special ability. With due respect, Anand replied to Gautam-swami, "Revered guru, I have attained a special ability (Avadhi-jnan) with which I can see as high as the first heaven and as low as the first hell." Gautam swami visiting Anand Shravak Gautam swami explained to Anand, "A layman (shravak) can attain the special ability of Avadhi-jnan, but not of this magnitude. You need to do Prayashchitta (atonement) for imagining these visions." Anand was puzzled. He knew that he was correct but his guru questioned his truthfulness and told him to repent for it. He therefore politely asked Gautam swami, "Does one need to repent for speaking the truth?" Gautam swami, equally puzzled, replied, "No one has to repent for speaking the truth." He then left Anand thinking that he would reconfirm this with Bhagawan Mahavir. Gautam swami returned to Bhagawan Mahavir and asked about Anand's special ability. Mahavir replied, "Gautam, Anand was telling the truth. He has acquired Avadhi-jnan of immense magnitude. Rarely does a layperson attain 98 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #99 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ such power and knowledge. You should repent for your mistake." Gautam swami set aside his alms and immediately returned to Anand and asked for his forgiveness for doubting his honesty and truthfulness. ANAND SHRAVAK It is characteristic in Jain religion that if a guru makes an error he should ask forgiveness from the disciple. Also if monks make an error then they should ask forgiveness from the laypeople. Gautam swami asking Anand Shravak for forgiveness In the later part of his life Anand fasted until death and was then reborn as a heavenly being in Saudharma Devaloka (a heavenly region). After the completion of that heavenly life, he would be reborn as a human and would attain liberation. Moral: The essence of human life is to practice one or more of the twelve vows in daily life. This story tells us how householders (shravaks) should have faith in truth. It also shows that Gautam swami was simple, humble and a true follower of Lord Mahavir. When Lord Mahavir pointed out his mistake, Gautam swami went to Anand without any hesitation to ask for forgiveness even though he was the chief disciple of Mahavir swami. It also shows how impartial Lord Mahavir was because even though his chief disciple had made a mistake, he did not cover it up. On the contrary, he took the side of truth and explained his mistake to Gautam swami. Anyone can make a mistake, but one must accept it and make up for it. 25 - Questions: 1. When Anand shravak achieved Avadhi-jnan after severe penance, austerities and meditation, what happened when Gautam swami came to visit him? 2. When Gautam swami realized that Anand shravak was telling the truth, what did he do? JAIN STORY BOOK 99 Page #100 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR 26- Punia Shravak Punia Shravak and his wife were poor villagers by their own choice. They lived in a small hut made of mud and grass. Punia had taken a vow not to earn more than the minimum needed to survive, which at that time was 12 dokadas (1/12 of a rupee) a day, which he earned by spinning and selling cotton yarn. He had also taken another vow to offer food to virtuous people daily. As they could not afford to have more food to satisfy this vow, he would fast one day and his wife would fast the next day. In spite of being so poor, they always offered their hospitality to fellow beings. In this way, the couple helped deserving people every day. 100 pal-o King Shrenik's wealth is insignificant compared to the samayik punya of Punia Shravak Punia Shravak did samayik (48 minutes of meditation and equanimity) daily. Once during samayik he could not meditate properly. He wondered what he had done that was disturbing his meditation but could not think of a reason. Therefore, he asked his wife, "What have we done different today that I cannot meditate properly?" At first his wife could not think of anything either. But as she continued thinking, she remembered that while returning from the market, she had picked up dry cow manure from the street and used that as cooking fire. She told Punia about this. He told her that they should not take anything from anywhere unless it is bought from their own daily earnings. JAIN STORY BOOK Page #101 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Even though dry cow manure lying on the street has no value and does not belong to anybody, they did not have the right to take it. Punia could do a true samayik because he lived a life of such high morals. Even Lord Mahavir praised his samayik ritual in his sermons. PUNIA SHRAVAK Once King Shrenik asked Lord Mahavir how he could destroy his bad karmas to avoid being born in hell in his next life. He was ready to give up his entire kingdom for that. Lord Mahavir knew that it is not possible to change such karma (birth karma of the next life) once acquired by a person. However, to convey this message properly to the King, he said, "If you can buy the punya karma of one samayik from Punia Shravak then it may be possible to change the birth karma of your next life." King Shrenik went to Punia Shravak and requested the punya karma of one of his samayik. King Shrenik was ready to give his entire kingdom for this purchase. Punia Shravak said, "Sir, I do not need any money. You have given us all the things we need in our life. I am ready to give everything I possess including my life for you. You are a great and merciful King. However, I do not know how to give my samayik punya to you. Good karma cannot be purchased. One has to do good karma personally." Now King Shrenik realized that all his wealth could not buy punya karma of even one samayik from a very poor man of his kingdom. King Shrenik left disappointed but was filled with admiration for Punia's real faith in religion. Moral: This story shows that one can live a life of contentment even with limited earnings. We should not take anything that is not given to us. We should not accumulate more money than necessary to live. Vows or rituals are done for spiritual upliftment and not for monetary gain. To gain benefit from samayik and other forms of meditation and penance, they should be motivated by one's inner self and not by any motives that conflict with Jain principles. Punia Shravak's story talks about two of the five anu-vrats that he and his wife followed: Asteya, or non-stealing, and Aparigraha, or nonpossessiveness. 26 - Questions: 1. What vow had Punia Shravak taken? 2. Why could he not concentrate on his samayik? What had happened? 3. What did King Shrenik want to do? Why? Was it possible? Why not? JAIN STORY BOOK 101 Page #102 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR 27 - Shalibhadra Once upon a time, there lived a poor woman and her son in a small village. One day, there was a festival in the village and all the kids, including the poor boy, were playing together. After playing, all except the poor boy, started to eat kheer (rice pudding) that they had brought with them. The poor boy did not have kheer to eat. He felt bad and ran home to his mother. He asked her if she would make some kheer for him since all other children were eating it. His mother said that she could not make kheer and told him to eat whatever she had cooked. He started crying and insisted on having kheer. His mother could not bear to see him cry. Therefore, she went to a neighbor's house and borrowed some milk, sugar, and rice, and made kheer for her son. She poured the kheer into a dish and left to bring some water from the well. As the boy was about to start eating, he heard the words, "Dharma Labha" (meaning, may you be blessed with spirituality, usually spoken by Jain sadhus and sadhvis when they arrive at a lay person's house for gochari). He saw a Jain sadhu at the door. Without hesitation, the hungry boy invited the monk in and offered him the kheer. He poured all the kheer from his plate into the monk's container. He was happy that he could offer this to the monk even though nothing was left for him to eat. That night, he had a terrible stomach-ache. His mother tried to cure it but nothing helped and he died later that night. His good intentions and his pious action helped him earn good karmas. In his next life he was born as Shalibhadra in a very rich family. His life was like being in heaven. His parents were Bhadra Shethani and Gobhadra Sheth. His father had renounced the world to become a monk when Shalibhadra was a young boy. His mother provided him all the comforts and luxury and never let him out of the palace for fear that he might become a monk like his father. It was said that even the heavenly beings were jealous of his lavish lifestyle. When he grew up, he was married to 32 beautiful women. One day, some merchants from Nepal came to town to sell some very exquisite diamond studded The boy is happily offering all his kheer to the monk shawls. They went to King Shrenik's court where the King told them that he could not afford to buy such expensive shawls. The merchants returned from the court in utter disappointment because they were hoping to sell some shawls to the King. The merchants also thought that since the king could not afford to buy them, none of his people would have enough wealth to buy their shawls in this city and decided to leave town. When Bhadra Shethani heard this, she sent a messenger and requested the merchants to visit her. The merchants were reluctant to go because they felt that if the King could not buy a shawl, how could any of the residents buy such expensive shawls? When they reached the house, Bhadra Shethani asked, "How many shawls do you have?" They said they had sixteen shawls. She said, "Only sixteen? I need thirty-two shawls because I have thirty-two daughters-in-law." The merchants thought she was joking believing that she would not even buy one. She said, "Please take out those shawls." They took out the sixteen shawls. The merchants were surprised that, without a second thought, she bought all sixteen shawls. They were further astounded to see her tearing such precious shawls into two pieces in front of them and giving a piece to each of her daughters-in-law to wipe their feet. The merchants were stunned but left with joy. The daughters-in-law used the pieces once and threw them away. 102 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #103 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ One of the servants at Shalibhadra's palace knew the queen so she took a piece of shawl for the queen. The queen was baffled but happy that such rich people lived in her kingdom. She told King Shrenik about the shawls and he was also very proud of such rich people upholding the good name of his kingdom. He invited Shalibhadra to his court to honor him. When Bhadra Shethani found out, she went to the King and told him that her son was very shy and invited the King to come to their palace. King Shrenik accepted the invitation and went to Shalibhadra's palace. When King Shrenik reached there, he realized that his own palace was nothing compared to Shalibhadra's palace. Bhadra Shethani offered him a place to sit and asked Shalibhadra to come down to honor and respect the King. Shalibhadra did not know anything about the King or his kingdom and thought that there was some sort of Bhadra Shethani buying very expensive shawls for her daughters-inlaw SHALIBHADRA merchandise that his mother wanted to show him. So he said, "I do not want to see it but you go ahead and buy it." His mother said, "This is not merchandise. He is our King, our master, and you need to come down to greet and honor him." The word "master" started ringing in his ears. He wondered, "Why should I have a master over me? I should be my own master." While thinking like this, he came down and paid his respect to the King, but he did not stay very long. He kept thinking that he was not a free person because there was someone like a King and master over him. He started to think about his father, who had become a monk, and the real meaning of life. He decided at that very moment to become a monk and told his family about his decision. His mother and all his wives tried to convince him to spend some more time with them. However, he was determined to renounce the world. Instead of renouncing all his possessions at once, he decided to give them up over a period of a month and then become a monk. Shalibhadra had a sister named Subhadra. She was married to Dhanna. Dhanna had eight wives. One day Subhadra was giving her husband Dhanna a bath and suddenly tears rolled down her face and fell on him. He asked her why she was crying. She told him that her brother had decided to become a monk. He was going to give up his possessions over a period of a month and then become a monk after that. Dhanna laughed and told Subhadra, "Your brother is a coward. If he wants to become a monk, then why wait for a month?" Subhadra was upset to hear that, and told her husband, "It is easier said than done." This sparked awareness in Dhanna's mind and he told her, "I am giving up everything I have right now to become a monk." Subhadra was taken by surprise. JAIN STORY BOOK 103 Page #104 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR She thought that her husband was joking. However, Dhanna said, "It is too late now. I am determined to become a monk. If you all want to join me, you are welcome." Seeing Dhanna's determination, Subhadra and his seven wives decided to become nuns. Dhanna then went to his brother-in-law's palace and challenged him, "Hey Shalibhadra! If you really want to leave your family and possessions, then what are you waiting for? Join me." Shalibhadra heard him and accepted the challenge. He told his wives and other family members, "I am leaving you all today." He went down to join his brother-in-law. His wives joined him too. All of them went to Lord Mahavir, accepted diksha, and became monks and nuns. After observing severe penances as monks, Dhanna and Shalibhadra were born as heavenly beings. From there, they would be born again as human beings and attain liberation. Moral: Selfless service always pays off. Neighbors helping neighbors reflects a caring society. The virtue of a charitable act in the life of a little boy was rewarded multiple times in the life of Shalibhadra. As a result, he was able to leave everything easily. Good deeds always leave an imprint on the soul. Doing good deeds and practicing penance ultimately leads to the liberation of the soul 27 - Questions: 1. What happened when the small boy was about to eat the kheer that he had really wanted? 2. Where was the boy born in his next life? What was his life like? 3. Why were the merchants reluctant to go to Bhadra Shethani's house? 4. What did Bhadra Shethani do when the merchants had only sixteen shawls? 5. What happened when his mother called Shalibhadra to come down and greet and honor the King, his master? Why was he upset? What did he decide to do? 6. When Subhadra was upset and told her husband the reason, what did Dhanna do and say? 7. What was the result of Dhanna challenging Shalibhadra? 104 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #105 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ 28-King Shrenik and Queen Chelna This is a story from the time of Bhagawan Mahavir. At that time, King Chetak was the ruler of Vaishali. He had a beautiful daughter named Chelna. Once, an artist painted a picture of Chelna and showed it to King Shrenik of Magadha. Charmed by Chelna's beauty, Shrenik fell in love with her. One day Chelna came to the city of Magadha where she saw King Shrenik, and she too fell in love with him. They soon got married. KING SHRENIK AND QUEEN CHELNA Queen Chelna was a devoted follower of Jainism, while King Shrenik was influenced by Buddhism. The King was very generous and had a big heart, but he was not happy with his queen's devotion to Jain monks. He wanted to prove to Chelna that Jain monks were pretenders. He strongly believed that Jain monks could not follow the practice of self-restraint and non-violence to the extent that Jain philosophy claims, and that the equanimity shown by Jain monks was superficial. Chelna was greatly disturbed by this. 2000 King Shrenik testing a Jain monk's equanimity One day, King Shrenik went on a hunting trip where he saw a Jain monk, Yamadhar, engaged in deep meditation. Shrenik let his hunting dogs go after Yamadhar, but the monk remained silent and in deep meditation. On seeing the calmness and composure of the monk, the dogs became quiet. King Shrenik got angry and thought that the monk had played some trick on them. Therefore, he started shooting arrows at the monk, but they kept missing him. Becoming more upset, he finally put a dead snake around Yamadhar's neck and returned to his palace. The King narrated the whole incident to queen Chelna. The queen felt very sorry for Yamadhar and took the King back to Yamadhar's place of meditation. Because of the dead snake, ants and other insects were crawling all over the monk's body, but the monk did not even stir. The couple witnessed the limits of human endurance. The queen gently removed the ants and the snake from the monk's body and cleaned his wounds. She applied sandalwood paste. Sometime later Yamadhar opened his eyes and blessed both of them. JAIN STORY BOOK 105 Page #106 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR The couple witnessing the limits of human endurance The monk did not distinguish between the King who had caused him pain and the queen who had alleviated his pain. King Shrenik was very impressed and became convinced that Jain monks were truly free from attachment and aversion. Later on, King Shrenik became devoted to Jainism and Bhagawan Mahavir. Moral: If one cannot perform a comparable level of penance and devotion, one should not doubt the willpower and devotion of someone who is more religious. In fact, one should be very respectful of such individuals. It is important to serve and support these people rather than cause them pain and suffering. This will help a person to avoid the accumulation of bad karma. Learn to accept and appreciate virtues in others. 28 - Questions: 1. What did King Shrenik feel about Jain monks? 2. What did King Shrenik do on a hunting trip? 3. When he told his wife what he had done, what was the queen's reaction? What did they do? 4. What did the monk do when he opened his eyes? 106 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #107 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ KING SHRENIK AND ANATHI MUNI 29 - King Shrenik and Anathi Muni King Shrenik of Magadha set out for a forest outing on a horse. As he entered the Madikuli garden, he saw a saintly person in meditation under a tree. He was surprised at the sight of such a pleasant face with a glowing forehead and was impressed by the monk. The King wondered as to what heart-rendering and shocking experiences of worldly life might have led him to forsake the joys and pleasures of a youthful life and resort to a saintly way of life dedicated to penance. The King bowed before the monk and asked politely, "I request you kindly set to rest the doubt agitating my mind. What has compelled you to take diksha in the prime of your life? As I look at the unusual beauty of your body and your youthful age, I am prompted to ask as to what compelled you to forsake your family, wealth and dear ones at such a young age." Anathi muni explaining why he took diksha In a loving tone the monk said, "O King, I was absolutely lonesome and a helpless being in this world. There was neither any protector, nor friend. I abjured the worldly life because of such helplessness." JAIN STORY BOOK 107 Page #108 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR King Shrenik laughed and said, "O monk, if you feel so insecure and unprotected (anath), I shall be your protector (nath). Moreover, a person like me as your protector will make all the difference and there shall be no problem in having sincere friends, near ones, and dear ones. In their company you shall be able to enjoy all the pleasures like wealth, power and peace. Please renounce this sainthood you accepted at a youthful age and come with me to my grand pleasure place." To this the monk said, "O King of Magadha, how shall you be my protector when you yourself are unprotected? I also, as you do, possessed invaluable wealth and riches, but once when I had severe pain in my eyes and burning sensation in my limbs, none could help me. Neither could the riches of my father nor any medical help nor the sweet love of my mother help. My devoted wife renounced all the ornaments and my brothers and sister wept and wailed helplessly. I was helpless. They were helpless too. With a view to avoiding such helplessness, I decided to go for diksha which, I thought, was an unfailing remedy to all my pains. I made up my mind to renounce the world if my pain subsided that night. To my utter surprise it started subsiding immediately. By the time the day dawned, the pain had vanished completely. I was perfectly healthy. As per my decision earlier that night, I took diksha and thus one who was totally unprotected (a-nath) found his protector (nath) in Bhagawan Mahavir." Deeply impressed by the preaching's of Anathi Muni, King Shrenik decided to seek refuge with Bhagawan Mahavir. Moral: This story of Anathi Muni shows that a person suffering from worldly pains and tortures, despite his numerous near and dear ones and immense riches, can feel unprotected and helpless too. A person having his soul awakened is indeed a sanath, a protected person forever. Scriptures say that having attained the ultimate state of spiritual bliss, Anathi Muni achieved siddhi pad, the ever-lasting state of being sanath. 29 - Questions: 1. What was the reason for Anathi muni taking diksha and becoming a monk? 108 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #109 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ KING SHRENIK'S DESTINY 30 - King Shrenik's Destiny Once, in response to King Shrenik's question about his next birth, Bhagawan Mahavir stated that he will go the hell. On further inquiry as to the reason, Bhagawan Mahavir pointed out the following incident by which King Shrenik had acquired that type of Ayushya karma. Once the King had gone hunting. He spotted a fleeing deer. The King spurred his horse and pursued it. Ultimately he located it taking a rest under a tree. He wielded his arrow with all his might. The arrow pierced the body of the deer thereby killing the deer as well as the unborn child in its body, but after coming out, the arrow pierced the trunk of the tree and came out on its other side. Instead of feeling regret for the violence, the King felt proud and highly elated at his powers. The feeling of too much arrogance for the gross violence caused him to acquire the karma leading to an infernal life. The King remembered the incident. He felt very sorry for what had happened at that time. He was anxious to wipe out that karma and asked Bhagawan Mahavir what he could do about the matter. Bhagawan Mahavir pointed out that his karma was indelible and was bound to become operative at the right time. Such intense karmas cannot be erased without bearing the fruits. The rule of karma is supreme and no one has any authority over its operation. King Shrenik could not reconcile himself to this fate. He repeatedly asked Bhagawan Mahavir for some way to avert going to hell. Bhagawan Mahavir said that there are ways to avert, but the King would not be able to successfully exercise any of them because of the indelible nature of his karma. The King insisted to know about the ways, King Shrenik asking for one samayik punya from Punia Shravak JAIN STORY BOOK 109 Page #110 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR Bhagawan Mahavir suggested the following four alternatives to him: 1. There was a highly religious householder, known as Punia Shravak, in Rajgrihi. He had given up all his desires and was leading a purely spiritual life. For his livelihood he depended upon the innocent occupation of making slivers out of cotton. The Indian word for sliver is Puni. He was therefore known as Punia Shravak. He earned very little out of that but felt contented with whatever he could get. He used to spend most of his time in samayik. Bhagawan Mahavir suggested the King obtain the merit of one samayik from Punia Shravak. The King thought that it was very simple. He approached the man and requested the merit of only one samayik. Punia said that he had no objection, but how could he do that since the merits as well as demerits happen to be non-transferable? The King was disappointed. 2. The King had a maid servant named Kapila. She never gave alms to anyone. Bhagawan Mahavir suggested to the King that he make her give alms on at least one day. Accordingly, the King asked her to do so. She however replied that she would not even take anything in her hand for giving alms. The King therefore arranged to tie a scoop to her hand and asked her to give alms. While doing so, the maid servant murmured that the King's scoop is giving the alms, not me. That plan also thus failed. 3. The King had a butcher named Kalsaurik who loved slaughtering animals. Bhagawan Mahavir suggested the King to make sure that butcher Kalsaurik did not slaughter any animals for one day. This seemed very easy to the King. He ordered Kalsaurik to avoid killing the next day. The butcher replied that he was so conditioned to kill that he could not even spend even one day without killing. The King therefore ordered his men to hang him inverted in a well so that he could not undertake any actions of slaughtering. However, Kalsaurik was so conditioned that he imagined and drew the animals in the water of the well and slaughtered them. Thus the King could not stop him and that effort failed. 110 4. Bhagawan Mahavir then asked the King to observe the restraint of one Navkarshi in which one is not supposed to eat or drink anything until 48 minutes after sunrise. The King agreed to do so the next day. However, In the morning, he went to his favorite garden and saw the ripe berries. He forgot the Navkarshi and ate the berries. Therefore, he broke the restraint. Moral: This story tells us about how King Shrenik acquired his Ayushya karma, which was Indelible. Once it is acquired, it cannot be changed. Karma that is indelible cannot be changed no matter how hard one tries. 30 - Questions: 1. Why was King Shrenik going to hell in his next life? 2. Could he avoid going to hell? What were Bhagawan Mahavir's suggestions to avoid it? 3. Was he able to do any of the things Bhagawan Mahavir suggested? What happened? JAIN STORY BOOK Page #111 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ 31-Monk Prasannachandra One day, King Prasanna was observing clouds and soon all the clouds vanished from the sky. Thus, the King realized the nature of life and thought that life is like the clouds, which can end anytime. The cycle of birth and death never ends. Thus, he decided to renounce his worldly pleasures and become a monk. He transferred his royal authority to his son, who was still a teenager. MONK PRASANNACHANDRA Once, monk Prasannachandra came to Rajgriha with Bhagawan Mahavir. Standing on one leg, with arms raised, he was engrossed in meditation outside the Samavasaran. A large number of people, including King Shrenik, passed by without disturbing his deep meditation to see Bhagawan Mahavir. Seeing the calm, quiet face of Prasannachandra, resplendent in meditational pose, Durmukh, a minister of King Shrenik, was possessed by a fit of mad jealousy and malicious intent to disturb the monk's tranquility. He taunted, "Having left your son, a minor, at the helm of the affairs of your kingdom, you have become a carefree monk. Do you know how fearful your young son is in such a situation? Enemies have surrounded him on all sides! The kingdom and his life are both at stake! If you have any worth, show it. It is your duty to save your child from these perils, after which you should think of spiritual attainment." Jo JAIN STORY BOOK Monk Prasannachandra thinking about the minister's words 111 Page #112 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR Outwardly, Prasannachandra was unperturbed, but inwardly, his mind was growing restless. He visualized the frightened face of his young, helpless child and was mentally present at Pottanpur to protect his son. Mentally, he ordered the army to be prepared for battle and saw his army carry out the order. Even he came with arms onto the battlefield and wounded or imprisoned all who threatened to harm the well-being of his son. This agonizing state of mind full of violence and fear were contradictory to the peaceful outward nature that he was manifesting. New thoughts were perpetually fueling the fire of wrath and vengeance burning within his mind. However, he heard the appreciative words of a humble layman thanking him for his exemplary lifestyle. "Leaving all worldly luxuries and practicing sadhana is noble indeed". The monk began to really think: Whose son? Whose empire? Of what am I thinking? Why do these earthly cares plague me so? What good can come of wishing harm for others? Such attachment is not wise. I must repudiate such inane feelings of victory and defeat. Such are the thoughts of irrational men. I wish to be beyond such trifles. His thoughts were now directed to the proper idea. Prasannachandra had pure thoughts and a new vision. The mental enemies disappeared. The delusion was over. The veils obscuring knowledge and perception were flung aside, thus clearing his path of all obstructions. Prasannachandra attained omniscience. When Prasannachandra was mentally doing battle before attaining omniscience, King Shrenik asked Bhagawan Mahavir "If monk Prasannachandra were to die right now, where would his soul go?" Bhagawan Mahavir replied, "Oh, King! If Prasannachandra were to die now, then he would be reborn in the seventh hell!" The King was surprised by this answer. He again asked the same question and Mahavir replied that if the monk were to die now, then he will reborn in the 12th heavenly region! Now King Shrenik was very surprised by these answers, and soon he heard sounds of joy. He asked Bhagawan Mahavir about these strange sounds, and Bhagawan Mahavir replied," Oh King! The monk Prasannachandra has attained omniscience! Then Bhagawan Mahavir explained to the King," The first time you asked me where he would go, I replied that he will be reborn in the seventh hell because at that time, he was mentally fighting and killing an army. Then he controlled his mind and was repenting for his bad contemplation caused by your minister, Durmukh. At that time, you again asked me where he would be born if he died immediately, and I replied that he would be born in the 12th heaven. Then the monk continued to purify his thoughts, and he eventually attained omniscience and you heard the voices of celebrations! Moral: Thoughts can lead us to hell and thoughts can lead us to heaven. Thoughts can even lead the soul to liberation. You control your thoughts. 31 - Questions: 1. Why did King Prasanna become a monk? Whom did he entrust the kingdom to? 2. What words did Durmukh taunt him with? What were the thoughts going through Prasannachandra's mind on hearing Durmukh's words? 3. When King Shrenik asked Bhagawan Mahavir where monk Prasannachandra's soul go, why did Bhagawan Mahavir give a different answer both times? Why? 112 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #113 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ ABHAYKUMAR AND THIEF ROHINEYA 32 - Abhaykumar and Thief Rohineya During the time of Lord Mahavir, there was a burglar named Lohkhur. He lived in a remote cave in the Vaibhargiri hill near the city of Rajgrihi. He was very clever in his profession and never left any traces of his burglary. He and his wife, Rohini, had a son named Rohineya. As Rohineya grew up, he learned his father's profession and eventually became an expert burglar. He even surpassed his father in intelligence and smartness. It was almost impossible to recognize him when he was in disguise. If someone pursued him, he could outrun them. He robbed the rich and hid the treasures in the most unexpected and inaccessible places. He extended help to the poor from the wealth that he accumulated. Many of them felt grateful and were pleased with him. Therefore, they were not willing to help government officials track him down. Lohkhur was now very old and could see that his life was coming to an end. When he was on his deathbed, he called Rohineya and said that he was very happy with the expertise that he had shown in committing burglary. In order to remain successful, he advised his son never to listen to the sermons of Lord Mahavir because his teachings were not conducive to their profession. Rohineya promised his father he would abide by his advice. After Lohkhur died, Rohineya expanded his burglary so much that it became almost impossible for rich families to ensure the safety of their property when they went out. They were constantly afraid that Rohineya would go to their home during their absence and take their jewelry and other valuables. Some people went to King Shrenik and requested him to take action to protect them from Rohineya's burglaries since police officers had failed to do anything about the matter. The King therefore asked his most intelligent chief minister, Abhaykumar, to take charge of arresting Rohineya. Once, while Rohineya was secretly on his way to Rajgrihi, he had to pass by the side of the Lord Mahavir's assembly Thief Rohineya accidently overhears a sermon given by Bhagawan Mahavir hall. He remembered his father's advice of never listening to Lord Mahavir's sermon. He put his hands over his ears. Unfortunately, at that moment he stepped on a sharp thorn that went deep into his foot. He had to take his hands off his ears in order to take out the thorn. During this time, he heard the following words: JAIN STORY BOOK Page #114 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR "Human life is the best of all lives. It is possible to attain liberation only as a human. Every human being can attain salvation irrespective of caste, creed, or color. By virtuous deeds one can gain a life in heaven where all sorts of pleasures and happiness exist." "When heavenly beings walk, their feet do not touch the ground. Their bodies are without shadow, their eyes remain steady, and their garlands do not wither. However, the life of a heavenly being does not lead to ultimate liberation, which provides eternal bliss and happiness. Therefore, heavenly beings crave a human life." By that time Rohineya had removed the thorn from his foot. He then covered his ears again with his hands and proceeded towards the city. In the city, Abhaykumar had secretly posted trained soldiers in disguise at the gates and at all important locations. He himself remained watchful. When Rohineya entered the city, a trained soldier recognized him even though he was in the disguise of a farmer. The soldier sent a message to Abhaykumar that an unidentified person had entered the city. Abhaykumar became very alert. As Rohineya passed by, Abhaykumar glanced at him from a secret place. He recognized the burglar even in disguise and instructed his men to surround him. Since Rohineya was very smart, he quickly recognized the danger. He ran towards the city wall. Unfortunately for him, there were soldiers near the wall. He was easily apprehended and put in jail. The next day he was presented in the royal court. As Rohineya was in disguise, it was hard to identify him as the burglar. Abhaykumar was sure, but how could the accused be punished without proof of his identity? When the King asked him about his identity, Rohineya replied that he was a farmer named Durgachandra who belonged to the Shaligram village. He had come to Rajgrihi to visit the capital and was returning home when the watchmen apprehended him. Rohineya had made arrangements for that assumed identity with the residents of the village. When inquiries were made in that village, the people confirmed what Rohineya had stated in court. Abhaykumar had to devise a plan for getting a confession from Rohineya regarding the burglaries. He came to know that Rohineya was fond of drinks. He therefore arranged to serve an excessive amount of wine to the thief. The excessive wine made him unconscious. While unconscious, Rohineya was cleaned, dressed in extravagantly perfumed royal garments, and adorned with valuable jewelry. He was then placed on a luxurious velvet bed of sandalwood on the top floor of a palatial building. As Rohineya regained his consciousness, he saw himself in heavenly surroundings. There was a breathtaking view all around. The walls, ceiling, and floor were crystalline. Beautiful maidens were waving scented air with diamond studded fans, soft serene music was heard in the background, fairylike dancers were dancing in tune with the music, and divine musicians were getting ready for a musical concert. Rohineya could not make out where he was. He asked one of the girls where he was and why they were all serving him so well. The girl replied that he was their new King in heaven. He had attained all the divine comforts, which now belonged to him. He could live like Indra, the King of heaven, and enjoy life with heavenly damsels. "Could this be true for a burglar like me?" he asked himself. However, he then remembered that he was helpful to the poor and needy, and he was sure that god had been just. "Or could this be the plan of Abhaykumar?" he thought again. It was hard for him to decide what the truth really was. He therefore thought it was best to wait and see. After a while, a luxuriously clad person entered with a golden staff and a book in his hand, "Is your new lord awake?" he asked one of the damsels. The girl replied that their new lord had just woken up and that they were getting ready to celebrate his arrival in heaven by presenting the divine concert. "Let me make sure that all the preparations pertaining to his arrival have been completed before you start the concert, and let me also get some information from him that the heavenly realm needs to know." As he was saying this, he came to Rohineya. Opening his book, he asked Rohineya to narrate his deeds from his previous life prior to enjoying the amenities of heaven. 114 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #115 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ ABHAYKUMAR AND THIEF ROHINEYA Meanwhile, Rohineya was looking around. He remembered what he had heard from Lord Mahavir's sermon about heavenly beings when he stepped on the thorn. He observed the movements of heavenly beings in front of him. He noticed that their feet were touching the ground, their bodies had shadows, and their eyes were blinking like human beings. He immediately figured out that this heaven was not real and that it was only an illusion created by Abhaykumar to gain evidence of his burglaries. He therefore replied that in the previous life he gave donations to worthy causes, constructed temples, went on pilgrimages to holy places, and rendered service to deserving people. The person took note of his statement and asked him to narrate any wrong deeds that he might have indulged in. Rohineya said that he had scrupulously Make-believe heaven created by Abhaykumar VE avoided misdeeds and therefore he was born in heaven. Abhaykumar's plan did not work and Rohineya was set free as being the innocent farmer that he pretended to be. JAIN STORY BOOK Rohineya was released, but he constantly thought about what had happened. He realized that what he had accidentally heard from Lord Mahavir had saved his life. Then how could his father be right in the advice that he had given? Lord Mahavir must be a very great entity. "If those words, which were accidentally heard, were so helpful, imagine how helpful his teachings would be?" he asked himself. Had he wasted his years avoiding the sermons of the Mahavir swami? After pondering at length, he decided to go to Lord Mahavir and serve at his feet. He went to the assembly and humbly requested the lord to accept him as his disciple. He also requested to become a monk. Mahavir swami asked him to disclose his real identity and confess all of his past sins to the King before renouncing his worldly life. 115 Page #116 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART IV STORIES DURING BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR He then disclosed his real identity to the King, who was present in the assembly, and was ready to accept any punishment. He also requested Abhaykumar to accept all the treasures he had collected during his burglaries. Since Rohineya had voluntarily confessed and had willingly returned everything that he had taken, the king decided to pardon him and permitted him to become a monk. Rohineya deeply repented for what he had done in his life. He started observing severe austerities in order to erase the karmas acquired by his misdeeds. In his old age, with permission from Lord Mahavir, he adopted Sanlekhana (avoiding food and staying in meditation until death). After his death, he was born in heaven. Moral: The theme here focuses on honesty and the principle of non-stealing. One should not steal from others even if one intends to donate the stolen items to the poor. Wrongdoing is still wrongdoing regardless of how much good you are doing in other areas. One must repent in order to destroy the bad karmas that accumulate as a result of wrongdoings. The second thing we learn from this story is that we can attain liberation only through the human form. Even heavenly beings cannot attain liberation without being born as human beings. So we should realize how fortunate we are to have this human birth, and we should make the most of it and wash away as many bad karmas as we can. Also, look at the power of Lord Mahavir's sermon. Just a few words from his sermon saved and then ultimately changed Rohineya's life forever. Imagine the benefit of listening to all His teachings. Unfortunately, we cannot listen to his sermons directly, but we have his teachings available to us as Agams. We should study and understand the Agams as much as we can so that our lives can change for the better just like that of Rohineya. 32 - Questions: 1. What did Lohkhur ask his Rohineya to never do? Why? 2. How did Rohineya happen to hear Bhagawan Mahavir's sermon? 3. When Abhaykumar caught Rohineya in disguise, did he confess to being the thief? What did he reply? 4. What plan did Abhaykumar devise to get Rohineya to tell the truth? 5. How did he figure out that he was not really in heaven? Did Abhaykumar's plan work to get Rohineya to confess? 6. What were Rohineya's thoughts after he was released? What did he do? 116 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #117 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Part V Stories after Bhagawan Mahavir 4AAA GA mm C Page #118 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ "Those who are ignorant of the supreme purpose of life will never be able to attain liberation inspite of their observance of the vows (Vrat) and rules (Niyam) of religious conduct and practice of celibacy (Sheel) and penance (Tap)" Samayasar (153) Page #119 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ VAJRAKUMAR 33 - Vajrakumar In the city of Tumbivan, there lived a rich Brahmin named Dhangiri. He had a beautiful wife named Sunanda. Their life was full of joy. When Sunanda was pregnant, she had a beautiful dream. She told her husband, who was a scholar, about the dream. He told her that she would give birth to a bright and charming child. She felt very happy. One day a Jain Acharya named Sinhgiri came to the city. Both Dhangiri and Sunanda went to listen to his sermons regularly. Dhangiri's soul was awakened by these sermons, and he lost interest in his wealth, family, and worldly affairs. He decided to give up his worldly life and become a monk. He told his wife about his decision. She was shocked. She tried to convince him to stay and enjoy their life together. She also said that since they were going to have a child, so it would be better to stay together to raise the child. Dhangiri did not change his mind. Nonetheless, he made the necessary financial arrangement for his family. Sunanda, who was the daughter of a religious merchant, Dhanpal, had a deep understanding of religion. Therefore, she accepted his decision. Sunanda was consoled that at least she was the wife of a virtuous man. A few months later, Sunanda gave birth to a very handsome boy. He was lovable because he always had a smile on his face. Everybody who saw him liked him from their very first glance. Sunanda celebrated his birth. She felt happy that she had a son to raise, but her happiness did not last long. One day some ladies from the neighborhood were visiting her and started talking about her husband. One of them said, "If Dhangiri had not taken diksha, then he would have celebrated the birth with more extravagance than Sunanda." The child, although a baby, heard the word "diksha" and started thinking. He felt as if he had heard the word diksha before. While thinking about it, he suddenly remembered his past life. He realized that he was on the right spiritual path. He decided that he should take advantage of being born as a human again and utilize this life to further uplift his soul. He should become a monk like his father. He also realized that his mother would not let him go because he was her only hope and joy. He started thinking about what could be done to get her permission. At last, he came to the decision that since his mother would not let him go willingly, he should create a situation in The baby kept crying and could not be comforted which she would get tired of him and give him up. He was still a little boy in the crib when he thought, "If I keep crying all the time, she will get tired of me and maybe she will try to get rid of me." He put his thoughts to work right away. He started crying. His mother came running to comfort him, but he just kept crying. She tried everything JAIN STORY BOOK 119 Page #120 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART V STORIES AFTER BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR but nothing helped to quiet him down. She took him to the doctors and took advice from others, but nothing worked. The child's trick worked. Even their neighbors, who had liked this child very much, got tired of him. Finally, his mother was fed up with him, but she did not know what to do with him. The child was now six months old, and monk Dhangiri (the child's father) and Acharya Sinhgiri visited the city again. Sunanda came to know about this and thought of giving the child to his father. At the usual time for alms, Dhangiri Muni asked permission from the Acharya to go for alms. Acharya Sinhgiri told him, "Dhangiri, today you may accept even a living thing if it is offered." The Acharya possessed a special power, and he knew what alms monk Dhangiri was going to get, so he gave his permission ahead of time. Although Muni Dhangiri did not understand what his guru meant, he left for alms. On his route to various houses, he arrived at Sunanda's house. He said, "Dharma Labha" (May you follow the proper religion). Sunanda recognized the voice. She welcomed Muni Dhangiri and expressed happiness in seeing him again. She invited him to enter the house for food. The young boy also heard Muni Dhangiri's words: "Dharma Labha". He thought that this was the best opportunity for his trick, so he started crying. This irritated his mother and she told the monk, "You are lucky to be able to uplift your soul, but I am tired with the burden of your child. He does nothing but cry. He does not let me rest and I am very unhappy. Please accept him so there will be peace in the house." The child heard these words and became very happy in his mind. He hoped that his father would accept her proposal. Muni Dhangiri remembered the words of his guru spoken right before he left for alms. Now he understood what his guru meant. He said, "Sunanda, if you really want to give this child away, I will accept him, but please think twice. Once you give him away, you will not be able to get him back. You will have no right to this child after that. On hearing this, the child started crying even louder. She said, "I do not want to hear this crying anymore. I am so sick and tired of him that I do not want him around at all. You can take him forever." The mother placed her crying child in the muni's cloth 120 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #121 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ VAJRAKUMAR She picked up the child and put him in the muni's cloth bag. As soon as the boy was handed over to the muni, he stopped crying and started smiling. Sunanda was surprised by this and kept looking at the boy. However, she was determined to give him away. Muni left with the child to go to the upashray. Acharya Sinhgiri saw that Muni Dhangiri was carrying something heavy, so he asked him, "Why is your bag so heavy?" When the muni opened his bag, his guru saw the handsome, smiling boy. Since he was so heavy, the Acharya named him "Vajrakumar". Acharya Sinhgiri requested a prominent Jain shravak to take care of Vajrakumar and to make sure that he was taught Jain religious teachings since he had the potential of being a great Acharya in the future. The shravak A Jain Shravika taking care of Vajrakumar brought Vajrakumar home and told his wife what Acharya Sinhgiri wanted them to do. She was a very religious woman and happily agreed to the wishes of the Acharya. She loved the boy so much that she would not let him go anywhere without her. She always took him to the upashray to see the sadhvis. Even though he was little, he listened to and memorized all the scriptures the nuns were reciting. By the time, he was three years old, he had learned up to eleven Anga Agams. He was respectful to everybody and spoke very intelligently. One day, one of Sunanda's friends came to her house and said, "Do you know that your child, who kept crying, spends a lot of his time at our upashray? I have never heard him cry. He is a very charming and lovable child." Sunanda tried to ignore what her friends told her, but after all she was Vajrakumar's mother. She longed to see her son again. She started thinking, "How could I have done such a terrible thing? How could I have given up my precious child to a muni? After all, he is my child. I should get him back." A few days later, Acharya Sinhgiri and Muni Dhangiri came to Tumbivan again. She went to the upashray. She approached Muni Dhangiri and asked him "Please, give my son back. I cannot live without him anymore." Muni Dhangiri said, "I told you at that time that once you gave him away, you would not get him back. Remember, you said you did not want him at all. We cannot give back what we take." Sunanda said, "I do not know why I did that. I cannot live without my son. Please find a way to give me back my son." Acharya Sinhgiri and Muni Dhangiri tried to convince her to forget him, but she was determined to get him back. JAIN STORY BOOK 121 Page #122 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART V STORIES AFTER BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR At last, she went to the King and requested, "Please help me get my son back. My husband has become a monk and I am lonely. He is the only child I have. Please ask them to return my son." The King heard the whole story from Sunanda. He said, "Let me find out what happened, and I will let you know shortly." He inquired about the situation and found that because Sunanda was tired of her son's incessant crying, she had voluntarily given away her child. The King called Sunanda and told her, "Sunanda, when Muni Dhangiri came to your house for alms you gave your child away voluntarily because you were fed up with his crying. Once you give something you cannot have it back." Sunanda said, "Oh King, this is not a thing. This is my own flesh and blood, and he is the only hope I have. Please do something to get him back. I cannot live without him." The King could feel the motherly affection and sincerity in her voice. He was also puzzled. Ultimately he told Sunanda, "I will call you and Muni Dhangiri to the courthouse and let Vajrakumar decide whom he wants to go with. Is that okay with you?" Sunanda said, "Yes, Your Majesty." The next day, the King's courthouse was full of people curious to see what would happen to the child. Sunanda came with toys, sweets, clothes, and other novelty items to attract Vajrakumar. The King and all his ministers came. Muni Dhangiri came with other monks. Everybody in the courthouse, including the King, paid homage to the monks. Vajrakumar also came. The King told Vajrakumar, "Vajrakumar, although you are very little, you are a very intelligent boy." Pointing towards his mother, he said, "She is your mother. She is very affectionate and loving. She has lots of toys, sweets, and good clothes for you. She wants you back. On the other side," pointing towards Monk Dhangiri, he continued, "there is a monk who has given up his worldly life. He is full of restraint and lives the life of renunciation. He is very Vajrakumar picked up the ogho and started dancing with it virtuous and a revered person. He wants to keep you with him to teach you about spiritual life. Now you must decide which way you want to go. Do you want to go with your mother or with the monk?" 122 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #123 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ VAJRAKUMAR There was pin-drop silence. Everybody was eagerly waiting to see what Vajrakumar would decide. Vajrakumar was very serious today. He got up, and as he walked, he glanced at his mother and Muni Dhangiri. Sunanda started screaming, "Son, come here. See, I have brought you toys, sweets, and new clothes. Please, please, come to me." On the other side, Muni Dhangiri did not have anything with him except an ogho (a broom to clean the way before walking). He showed that to Vajrakumar. Vajrakumar picked up the ogho and started dancing with it. He started smiling again. Then he decided to sit down with Muni Dhangiri and looked at everybody with a joyful face. Everybody in the courthouse, including the King and Sunanda, were amazed that the young boy chose monkhood instead of a luxurious worldly life. Sunanda accepted Vajrakumar's decision and wished him success. She celebrated Vajrakumar's diksha with joy and delight. Later, Vajrakumar became a great Acharya. Moral: A human soul is capable of having high religious values and faith at any age. The story of Vajrakumar clearly shows us that it is never too early to learn religious values and to practice religion. 33 - Questions: 1. Why did the baby suddenly decide to cry incessantly? 2. What did his mother do when he cried nonstop? 3. What did Acharya Sinhgiri do with the baby? Was the baby still crying? How come? 4. Why did the mother want the baby back? Was that possible? Why? 5. How did they decide who should have the little boy? JAIN STORY BOOK 123 Page #124 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART V STORIES AFTER BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR 34-King Samprati King Samprati was a great Jain King who lived during the second half of the third century and the first half of the second century BCE He was the grandson of the great King Ashok and the son of King Kunal. Jain history provides some details of his life. Buddhist literature also mentions him by the Prakrit name, Sampadi. His name occurs in some of the Hindu Purans, wherein he is variously referred to as Samprati, Sampati, and Saptati, etc. Moreover, coins depicting a crescent and bearing his name have now been found. The sign of the crescent represents the Jain symbol of Siddha-shila and the three dots are symbolic of the Jain trio of right faith, right knowledge, and right conduct. Some of the coins also show a swastika below the three dots. This is conclusive evidence of him being a Jain King. Samprati was raised and educated in Avanti and became the King of Avanti in 232 BCE While he was prince, he once saw a grand Jain procession led by Acharya Suhastigiri, who was the head of the Jain religious order. On seeing the Acharya, Samprati felt that he had seen him somewhere. While deeply pondering over it, he faintly remembered that the Acharya was his guru in an earlier life. Samprati bowed to the Acharya and asked whether he knew him. The Acharya thought for a while and remembered that Samprati was his disciple in the previous life. Various incidences in King Samprati's life There was a severe famine when Acharya Suhastigiri was in the city of Kaushambi. During the famine it was very difficult for Jain monks to get alms. Jain householders, however, made sure that the monks received alms. At that time, there was a poor man who could hardly get any food and was starving. He noticed that the monks were getting enough food even during the severe famine. Therefore, he requested the Acharya to give him some food. Foreseeing that the man had great potential to be a Jain legend in the next birth, the Acharya told him that he could get food if he became a monk. 124 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #125 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ The man gladly agreed. Accordingly, he was initiated and therefore received enough food to eat. Since he had been starving for many days, he ate too much. Consequently, he had severe stomach pains, which he endured patiently while cursing himself for eating too much. Other monks served him in all possible ways, but the pain did not subside. On the contrary, it continued to become worse and the newly initiated monk died of the pain that very night. Due to his adopting the restraints of monkhood and bearing the pain quietly, he was reborn as the grandson of the great King Ashok. KING SAMPRATI The Acharya narrated the entire episode to him. Samprati was glad to hear that. He realized the benefits of adopting Jainism even for a short while. He adopted it as his faith and formally accepted the Acharya as his guru. After he became a King, he offered his kingdom to the guru because it was obtained on account of his benevolence. The Acharya, however, refused to accept it and said that as a Jain monk he did not want to possess anything. He pointed out that Samprati should try his best to promote and encourage Jainism in his kingdom and beyond. Samprati accepted the advice. He became a devout Jain and followed Jain principles. He was a brave King and expanded his kingdom considerably in the south up to the Vindhya Mountains, and in the west to the Arabian Sea. He not only constructed many Jain temples in his dominion, but he also encouraged the rulers of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra to do so. Jain tradition indicates that during his lifetime he arranged for the installation of more than 100,000 Tirthankar idols and for the construction or renovation of 36,000 temples. He also sent his missionaries abroad to Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burma, and even China to spread the message of Jainism. It is hardly surprising that in the "Early History of India", Vincent Smith calls Samprati the Jain Ashok, as King Ashok is known for spreading Buddhism. He treated other followers of Jainism very affectionately and helped them in every way. Since he vividly remembered his starvation in his previous life, he was sympathetic to all poor people and took care to see that they did not starve. He set up 700 charitable dharamshalas where anyone could eat free of charge. Samprati had no children. He took this as the consequence of his earlier karma and observed the religious customs scrupulously. After ruling over his large kingdom for 53 years, he died in 179 BCE. Jain tradition believes that he was reborn as a heavenly being. Moral: Service to others is one of the many ways one can follow Jainism, and Samprati certainly demonstrated this quality. He not only helped promote Jainism by renovating and building temples and installing Tirthankar idols in existing temples, but he also helped reduce the pain and suffering of the poor. We should also strive to serve others. His life story demonstrates that a religious deed performed even for a short time gives manifold results. In addition, it creates a chain of good deeds leading to beneficial results. 34 - Questions: 1. How did King Samprati know Acharya Suhastigiri? What had happened in his previous life? 2. When the King offered his kingdom to his guru what did the guru suggest? 3. Who is King Samprati known as? Why? JAIN STORY BOOK 125 Page #126 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART V STORIES AFTER BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR 35 - Temples of Delwada Mount Abu is a beautiful town on a mountain in the state of Rajasthan. Within the town, there are two magnificent Jain temples, known as the Delwada Temples. The carvings in both of these temples are breathtaking. The carvings in the marble ceilings of these temples are so minute and intricate that it is difficult to copy the design even on a piece of paper. These temples are regarded as "poetry in marble". Vimalsha built the first temple in the 11th century A.D. at a cost of 180 million rupees. The second temple, called Lunig Vasahi, was built by two brothers, Vastupal and Tejpal, in the memory of their elder brother. This temple was built in the 13th century A.D. at a cost of 120 million rupees. The stories associated with the architects of these two temples are presented here. Vimalsha The Solanki dynasty was the golden period for the state of Gujarat in which the authority and prosperity of the state reached its peak. The credit for putting Gujarat in this position mainly goes to the King's chancellors and commanders, who were at the helm of affairs. It is interesting to know that many of the chancellors and some of the commanders of that period were Jains. Vimalsha was a very capable and outstanding commander in several respects. King Mulraj, the founder of the Solanki dynasty, had an advisor named Vir Mahattam. His wife's name was Virmati. They had three sons named Nedh, Vimal, and Chahil. While they were still very young, their father renounced worldly life and became a monk. Their mother then went to her parents' place and raised her sons with love and care. Nedh was very intelligent and grew up to be a wise, considerate youth. Vimal was bold and smart. He liked horseback riding and archery. He steadily gained expertise in those arts, and in due course turned out to be a wellknown equestrian and an accomplished archer. 126 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #127 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ TEMPLES OF DELWADA As the sons grew older, their mother brought them back to the capital city of Patan so that they could pursue a career of their choice. In line with their interests, Nedh joined the royal court and Vimal joined the army. Both of them quickly began to rise in the ranks and became known for their outstanding capabilities. Since Vimal in particular was handsome and brave, he impressed a multimillionaire of Patan, who had a beautiful daughter named Shridevi. He thought Vimal would be a perfect husband for his daughter. Vimal agreed, and Shridevi and Vimal got married. Luck continued to favor both the brothers. During the reign of King Bhimdev, who came to the throne in 1021 A.D., Nedh became the chancellor and Vimal secured the position of commander. Vimal was fortunate to get a beautiful, loving wife and a high ranking military position at a relatively young age. Moreover, because of his amicable nature, he soon won the hearts of everyone and came to be known as Vimalsha. Some people at the court could not bear the good fortune of Vimalsha. They were jealous and began to look for his drawbacks. They noticed that Vimalsha would not bow to anyone, not even the King, before offering obeisance to the omniscient Jain Tirthankars. Thereupon, they started telling King Bhimdev that Vimalsha was arrogant due to his position and was not even willing to bow to the King. They said his ambition knew no bounds and he might even try to acquire the throne. Unfortunately, Bhimdev started to believe those courtiers and began to look at Vimalsha with suspicion. When Vimalsha learned of the disaffection of King Bhimdev, he decided to leave Patan. Accordingly, he went to mount Abu (which was known as Chandravati at that time) with his followers. There he learned that Dhandhuk, the chief of Chandravati, was aspiring to become independent from the sovereign King Bhimdev. Vimalsha attacked him with the force at his command. Dhandhuk could not fight him and fled. Vimalsha thus occupied Chandravati. He had no ambition to become the king and took possession of Chandravati in the name of King Bhimdev and considered himself the governor of the place. Vimalsha was now happily passing his days at Chandravati with his wife. Shridevi was a very affectionate lady and made him happy in every respect. They had no children. Being religious minded, however, the couple considered it to be the Delwada Jain temples, Mt. Abu consequence of their unwholesome karma. Once, they happened to meet Dharmaghosh-suri, who was the well-known Jain Acharya of that time. Vimalsha regularly listened to his sermons, which made him even more religiously oriented. As he remembered his involvement in past wars, he felt very sorry for the violence and sins he had committed. He sincerely repented for it. In view of his genuine repentance, the Acharya asked him to construct a temple at Chandravati and make it a center of pilgrimage to help atone for the violence caused during the wars. Vimalsha was pleased to hear this suggestion and made up his mind to construct a grand temple. He was also a devotee of Ambika Devi, the goddess in service of Tirthankar Neminath. He decided to invoke her in order to get her blessings. The goddess was pleased with the earnestness of his worship and asked him what he wanted. He asked for a son and the capability to construct a monumental temple at Chandravati. However, the goddess asked him to select one of the two. Vimalsha opted for the temple. Goddess Ambika granted his wish. JAIN STORY BOOK 127 Page #128 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART V STORIES AFTER BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR Then Vimalsha selected a site for the temple on top of a mountain and bought the land for 45,360,000 gold coins. The foundation stone was laid with deep faith. However, it was not easy to construct the temple. It was a Herculean task. Artisans were not locally available, there was no road leading from the foot of the mountain to the top, and marble had to be brought from a great distance. Vimalsha was determined to complete the project at any cost. He made all the necessary arrangements for transporting the materials to the top and hired the best sculptors in the country for carrying out the work. All possible care was taken to see that the artisans did not face any difficulty, and the project did not encounter any problems. It took 14 years to finish the project, and the temple was constructed at a cost of 185,300,000 gold coins. The opening ceremony was performed with great fanfare and enthusiasm under the guidance of Dharmaghoshsuri, Vardhaman-suri, and other Acharyas. It is a spacious, marble temple. There are highly artistic figures in its domes, arcs, and panels. The sculptures are exquisite. It would be nearly impossible to bring out that sort of accuracy even in wax. The fact that the artists have done it in marble is marvelous, and draws the instantaneous admiration of every visitor. These types of sculptures are not found anywhere else in the world. It is said that Vimalsha paid the artists in gold. The artisans collected A LAVA vs Intricate carving in the ceiling of Delwada temple the marble dust that they had carved for the day and brought it in and had it weighed. The person in charge would give them gold equal to the weight of stone powder! His generosity and the beauty of the temple have immortalized his name. It is virtually a wonder of the world. Later on, Vimalsha led a Jain sangh to the Shatrunjay Mountain 128 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #129 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ TEMPLES OF DELWADA located in the town of Palitana that cost 40 million gold coins. He constructed the Vimal-vasahi temple there. It is located on the way to the main complex on the hill. It is a small but equally exquisite temple. It is popularly known as Bhulbhulamani temple, meaning a maze temple. He also constructed the well-known temples of Kumbharia on the Arasur hill on the northern border of Gujarat. Moreover, he is credited with the construction of a beautiful temple in the capital city of Patan. One successful but highly instructive anecdote is associated with his later life. It is said that Shridevi had a dream in which she saw a goddess. The goddess asked her to go to the temple along with her husband at midnight on a specific date and ask for whatever they wanted. Both of them were eager to have a son and went to the temple to express their wish. While they were waiting for midnight to arrive, they felt thirsty. Vimalsha therefore went to an adjoining well to fetch water. Inside the well there were steps which went all the way down to the water level. While he was going down the steps to get the water, someone asked him to pay toll for taking water. Vimalsha was amazed to hear that and asked the person why he was demanding toll to drink the water. The person replied that he was a descendent of the person who had built the well. Since he was poor, he was collecting a toll for using the well. 2010 :00 2007 Vimalsha was taken aback to hear that. He asked himself, "What would happen if one day some of my own descendants tried to collect a toll for the temple that I have built?" He shuddered at the idea and again asked himself whether it would be better in that case to remain without a child. He went up and told his wife about the incident. She Shridevi and Vimalsha praying to concurred with his thinking. At midnight when the goddess Goddess Ambika asked them what they wanted, Shridevi replied that she did not want a child anymore. Now, it was the turn of the goddess to be taken aback at the reply. Vimalsha narrated what he had experienced and said that they wanted to remain childless. Vastupal and Tejpal Two brothers, Vastupal and Tejpal, were ministers in the court of King Vir Dhavala in Gujarat. Tejpal was also a very outstanding commander of the army. Both brothers made their name by their valor and faithfulness. They helped the King to conquer enemies and maintain law and order in the kingdom. Tejpal's wife, Anupama devi, was a wise and smart woman who always helped her husband in family matters. She was sweet spoken and a very religious and compassionate woman. Tejpal had always respected her opinion. Once, the families of both the brothers and many others went on a pilgrimage. They came to a small village. This particular area was not regarded as very safe for the pilgrims because the road was frequented with burglars. Thinking that they might meet some burglars on the way, the brothers decided to bury and hide their wealth in a nearby area. They started digging a hole, but to their amazement, they unearthed a big pot of jewels and coins from the ground. They simply did not know what to do with this wealth. Tejpal asked Anupama devi what they should do with this immense wealth. Anupama devi had no hesitation in replying that this wealth had come from a deep trench, but the right place for it was on a high mountain. This would spread the glory of Jainism. Thus, they decided to take it to the top of the mountain and spend it there. JAIN STORY BOOK 129 Page #130 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART V STORIES AFTER BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR The brothers decided to build a temple on Mt. Abu. It is known as the Lunig Vasahi Temple. Tirthankar Neminath Bhagawan's samavasaran has also been carved in this temple. Tejpal had also dedicated two Gokhlas (niches) for two women, one to commemorate his wife and the other to commemorate his brother's wife (sister-in-law). These niches are called "Derani-Jethani na Gokhlas" (The wives of two brothers are known as Derani-Jethani. Derani is the younger brother's wife and jethani is the older brother's wife). They constructed many more temples of which only the Delwada temple and the Neminath Temple of Mount Girnar exist today. However, the Lunig Vasahi Temple of Mount Abu is similar to that of the Vimalsha Temple. Fifty-two deva kulikas (subsidiary shrines) have also been constructed on an elevated platform around the central temple, each with the statue of a Tirthankar. Elephants were used to carry the marble to Mount Abu for the construction of the temples. A place called Hasti Shala is also built within the temple complex to commemorate the contribution of elephants. Moral: The contribution made by Vimalsha, Vastupal, and Tejpal to the architecture of Jain temples is very inspiring. Their dedication to their religion, and their perseverance and honesty are praiseworthy. Their contribution to Jain architecture is part of our great heritage. 35 - Questions: 1. Who built the two temples on Mount Abu?? 2. How were the sculptors paid? 3. In whose memory was Hasti Shala built? Why? 130 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #131 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ UDAYAN MANTRI AND HIS SONS 36 - Udayan Mantri and His Sons - Ambad and Bahad Udayan Mantri (Minister) The Solanki dynasty was the golden period for the state of Gujarat and the prosperity of the state reached its peak during the reign of King Kumarpal. The credit for attaining this position mainly goes to his chancellors, who were known as "mantris". It is interesting to learn that many of the chancellors of the Solanki period were Jains. The contribution of Udayan Mantri and his sons, Ambad and Bahad, to the rise and success of King Kumarpal was substantial. Originally, Udayan was a simple merchant in a village named Vaghara near the town of Jalore, Rajasthan. He Shravika Lachchhi helping a Jain shravak could hardly make ends meet and was passing his days in hardship. His wife, Suhadevi, suggested they move to a place with better economic prospects. During this time, King Siddharaj was ruling the state of Gujarat, and its prosperity was increasing by leaps and bounds. Hence, Udayan thought about migrating to Gujarat. At that time, King Siddharaj of Gujarat had built a new town named Karnavati (Amdavad) in the memory of his father Karnadev. Since Karnavati was a fast growing city, Udayan decided to move there. He did not know anyone there so he first went to the local Jain temple. When Udayan arrived a religious lady named Lachchhi was worshipping in the temple. As she came out, she noticed the new young couple and asked them where they were from. Udayan replied that they were from Rajasthan and he was looking for some business in Karnavati. JAIN STORY BOOK (131 Page #132 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART V STORIES AFTER BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR Lachchhi was a compassionate lady. As she knew the newcomers were Jains, she took them home and treated them as her guests for a couple of days. Then she gave them an old house for shelter. Udayan settled there and started a small business. Luck favored him and within a short time he earned and saved enough to renovate the old house. While digging the ground, he came across a hidden treasure. Since he was honest, he took the treasure to Lachchhi and offered it to her because it belonged to her. She declined to accept it, stating that since the property had been given to him, the treasure also belonged to him. Udayan now had enough money to start a large-scale business. He made lots of money, and in due course became the wealthiest man in Karnavati. The state also recognized his status and gave him the position of the first citizen of Karnavati. In that capacity, he rendered valuable service to the people of Karnavati. At that time, the city of Khambhat (about 80 miles from Amdavad) was the most lucrative seaport on the western coast of India. Politicians competed with one another to get the position of governor of that city. Due to the proven capability of Udayan, he was appointed governor of Khambhat in 1120 A.D. He held that position for a fairly long period. Two major events have been attributed to him during his tenure as governor. At the suggestion of the queen mother, Minaldevi, he abolished the pilgrim tax of Bholad He helped Devchandra suri to initiate a five-year old boy, Changdev, who had the potential to shine as a great sage. (Later on Changdev became the great Jain Acharya Shri Hemchandra) His loyalty to the King was unquestionable. He hesitated to help Kumarpal, who was roaming from town to town hiding from King Siddharaj. However, when Kumarpal came to Khambhat in search of shelter, Hemchandracharya advised Udayan to help him. Since Udayan highly respected the Acharya, he agreed to hide Kumarpal in his basement. Shortly thereafter, King Siddharaj died and Kumarpal became King of Gujarat. King Kumarpal kept Udayan in his position as governor of Khambhat and later brought him to Patan (capital city of Gujarat) to work as his trusted advisor. Udayan had not forgotten how religion had helped him during his bad times. He therefore used his wealth and position to promote Jainism. As a token of his devotion to the faith, he constructed several Jain temples. Three of them are recorded in Jain history. One was the temple known as Udayanvihar in Karnavati, another was Udavasahi in Dholka (nearby town of Karnavati), and the third one whose name is not recorded was in Khambhat. During the latter part of Udayan's life, Kumarpal sent him to subdue Sumvar, a notorious bandit in the Saurashtra region. In that mission, he had to pass through Palitana. He decided to go on a pilgrimage to Shatrunjay hill. To commemorate the pilgrimage, his statue has been erected on a camel's back in a small temple on the way to the main complex on the hill. That place is now mistakenly known as Pap Punya Ni Bari (window of good and bad karma). At that time, there was a wooden temple on the hill. While Udayan was worshipping there, he saw a mouse take a lit wick in its mouth and roam about. Udayan recovered the wick from the mouse, but he realized that the temple could have been set on fire by a mouse. He, therefore, vowed to construct a new temple there. He succeeded in his expedition against Sumvar, but he was badly wounded in combat, and his death was imminent. On his death bed he told his sons about his vow to reconstruct a new temple on Shatrunjay hill. They promised him that they would fulfill his vow. Thereafter, he died peacefully knowing his vow would be fulfilled. Ambad and Bahad Udayan had four sons, named Ambad, Bahad, Chahad, and Sollak. Ambad was a poet and a bold warrior. He became the chancellor of King Kumarpal. He constructed the western walkway on Shatrunjay hill, now known as Gheti Ni Pag. He expanded Udavasahi of Dholka and renovated the well-known temple of Shakunikavihar at Bharuch. Ambad had pledged his allegiance to Kumarpal and served him with utmost sincerity and loyalty. When Kumarpal's successor, King Ajaypal, came to the throne, he began to undo everything Kumarpal had stood for. As a result, Ambad decided to resist him with all the means at his command. Ajaypal sent troops to subdue him. Ambad, however, refused to be subdued and died fighting Ajaypal's troops. 132 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #133 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ UDAYAN MANTRI AND HIS SONS The second son, Bahad (also known as Vahad), was a politician and statesman. He first worked for King Siddharaj, and later under King Kumarpal's regime he became the King's trusted right hand man. When Kumarpal undertook the renovation of Somnath temple, the project was entrusted to Bahad, who carried out the work very well. In order to honor the pledge to his father, Bahad undertook the construction of a grand temple on Shatrunjay. The temple was completed in 1155 A.D., but soon after, portions of the temple fell down due to intense wind. Bahad then arranged to reconstruct the fallen parts so it could withstand high winds in the future. There is an interesting anecdote associated with the construction of that temple. When Bahad undertook the work, many people wanted to contribute to the project. A list of donors was prepared in order to accommodate them. At that time, there was a poor man named Bhim who earned his livelihood going from place to place selling ghee (refined butter). He went to the place where the list was being prepared. He had an intense desire to contribute to the project, but he had only one coin, the one he had earned that day. How could he speak about donating such a small amount when people were contributing thousands of coins? Bahad noticed his eagerness and called him to his side. He gently asked Bhim to contribute whatever he wanted. Naturally Bhim hesitated. However, he said that he wanted to contribute the coin he had earned that day. Bahad not only accepted the offer, but also wrote Bhim's name at the top of the donors' list. When he was asked to explain, Bahad said that the other donors, including him, had contributed a part of their wealth while Bhim had contributed his entire wealth. It so happened that when Bhim returned home, his wife asked him to fix a wooden post to restrain their cow. As he was digging, he came across a box buried in the ground. As he opened it, he saw that it contained gold coins and other valuables. He thought it was the consequence of his contribution to the temple and took the entire wealth to Bahad as his contribution to the temple. The construction project was completed in 1157 A.D. at a cost of 29.7 million coins, and the opening ceremony was performed on a grand scale in the presence of Shri Hemchandra Acharya. Moral: The life story of Udayan, a religious and hardworking shravak, is very inspiring to all of us. He was always humble and never forgot his benefactors. He raised brave and virtuous sons, Ambad and Bahad, two gems of the Jain sangh. Bhim's generosity is also praiseworthy. Bahad's act of putting Bhim's name at the top of the donors' list demonstrates his unbiased leadership and true understanding of religion. 36 - Questions: 1. Why did Udayan and his wife come to Karnavati? Who did they meet there? What happened when they met her? 2. Why did Udayan hide Kumarpal in his basement? What happened shortly thereafter? 3. Why did he decide to construct a new temple at Palitana? What did he see? 4. Why was Bhim initially reluctant to give a donation for the temple? Why was Bhim's name placed on top of the donor list. JAIN STORY BOOK 133 Page #134 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART V STORIES AFTER BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR 37 - Nobility of Savchand and Somchand The Shatrunjay hill is a very sacred place of pilgrimage for Jains. It is located near the town of Palitana, about 140 miles southwest of Amdavad, Gujarat. There are nine temple complexes on the hill. They are popularly known as nine Tuks. One of them is Chaumukhaji Tuk, located on the peak of the hill. Here is an interesting story of the construction of the temple complex there. During the latter part of the 16th century when King Akbar, the great Moghul King, was ruling over India, there was a businessman named Savchand Jeram in the town of Vanthali in the Saurashtra region of the Gujarat state. He owned a very large business. He had many ships that used to export goods to Indonesia and other countries. During these voyages, they would buy merchandise at one place and sell it at another for profit. Once a fleet of 12 ships set sail with valuable merchandise. After selling all their goods at a foreign port, they returned with valuable foreign merchandise. On the way back, the fleet encountered a heavy storm and had to wait on an island. Meanwhile, monsoons set in and the fleet was stranded on the island for a couple of months. When the ships did not come back for a long time, Savchand's shipping agents made all possible efforts to locate them. Since they did not find any trace of the fleet, they reported to Savchand that the ships were lost. This was a heavy loss to Savchand. He had invested a significant amount of money on the voyage and was expecting a handsome return by selling the merchandise that the ships were expected to bring back. With the loss of his ships, he faced an acute shortage of funds and it was hard for him to pay back his creditors. As the news about the lost ships spread, people started talking about how Savchand had lost everything and his creditors would have to write off their dues. That set off a panic among his creditors. In order to realize their dues, they began to present their claims. Savchand was a highly religious and honest person. He tried to pay back his creditors as much as he could with the resources he had left. One of the creditors was the prince of Mangrol, a place not far from Vanthali. He had deposited 100,000 Rupees in Savchand's firm. That was a substantial amount because one Rupee of that time would be worth about Rs. 250 today. When the prince learned about the loss of Savchand's ships, he also became impatient and called for the repayment of his deposit. Savchand could not raise such a large amount so quickly. He requested the prince to wait while he tried to raise the money. The prince, however, insisted on getting the amount immediately. Savchand's name and credit were at stake. In order to maintain his credit, he had to find a way to pay the prince. At that time, there was a businessman named Somchand Amichand in the city of Amdavad. Savchand did not have any trade connection with him, but he had heard about Somchand's firm and knew Somchand to be a very noble gentleman. An idea occurred to him. He thought of satisfying the prince by giving him a promissory note which would be honored by Somchand's firm. The prince agreed to that form of payment. Savchand wrote a promissory note payable to the prince by Somchand's firm without Somchand's permission. Since he had no right to write this, he was overcome with sadness and guilt while preparing it and tears began to roll down his face. A few tear drops fell on the document and smeared the promissory note. Then, with a heavy heart, Savchand handed the note to the prince and requested him to cash it with Somchand's firm. The prince did not lose any time. He immediately proceeded towards Amdavad, and upon arriving presented the promissory note to Somchand's firm. The accountant took the note in his hand and asked his men to look for Savchand's account. The men searched their books, but they did not find any account in the name of Savchand. The men reported that Savchand had no trade connections with their firm. The accountant went to Somchand and informed him that he had received a promissory note of exchange from Savchand of Vanthali which, being unduly drawn, could not be honored. Somchand was puzzled to learn that. He knew Savchand's firm by name and was aware that it was a well reputed business organization of Vanthali. He could not make out why Savchand would have drawn the note for such a large amount when Somchand did not have any trade links with his firm. He looked at the note again and noticed the letters smeared by Savchand's tears. He could make out from the water spots that Savchand must have been in a very embarrassing position and must have drawn the note out of sheer desperation. 134 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #135 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ NOBILITY OF SAVCHAND AND SOMCHAND It was clear to Somchand that Savchand had reposed trust in him by writing the note. It was now his turn to reciprocate. What good was his wealth if he could not extend a helping hand to a noble man in distress? He, therefore, decided to oblige and asked the accountant to honor the note. The accountant was confused and asked, "From which account should the amount be debited?" Somchand instructed the accountant to debit it to his personal account. The note was accordingly accepted, and the amount was paid to the prince. The prince did not actually need the money and had asked for payment because of his doubt about the financial stability of Savchand. When the note was honored, he felt reassured about Savchand's credibility and repented for insisting upon the return of his deposit. On his way home, he went to Savchand and told him that he had received the amount from Amdavad. Savchand heartily thanked Somchand for that act of grace. At the end of the monsoon, the ships resumed their return journey and safely returned with the merchandise. Savchand was very pleased and relieved. He made a huge fortune by selling the merchandise, and his prestige rose even higher than it was before the loss of his ships. It was now time for him to pay back Somchand. For that purpose, he personally went to Amdavad and offered the amount of Rs. 100,000 with interest. Somchand, however, declined to accept it on the grounds that his books did not show any amount due from Savchand. Savchand would not accept that. How could he go home without repaying the debt? He therefore pressed Somchand to accept the amount and said that he was willing to pay any amount that Somchand asked. Savchand added that if he failed to repay, he would feel guilty for drawing the undue promissory note. Somchand, however, replied that he had purchased the promissory note for the tear drops. Those two tear drops of a respectable man O eorg 6 ven A A la vie phraoNkanI peTha sItArA, AMAN kaamil angk www Sow Seary Willkor Several incidences in the life of Savchand were worth Rs. 200,000 to him. Of that, he had paid only Rs. 100,000 to the prince and another Rs. 100,000 were still due to be paid. Saying this, he offered Rs. 100,000 to Savchand. JAIN STORY BOOK 135 Page #136 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART V STORIES AFTER BHAGAWAN MAHAVIR But how could Savchand accept that? He was indebted to Somchand for his graciousness in honoring the bill. For that grace Savchand was willing to pay any amount to Somchand. Instead of accepting the amount, Somchand was offering another Rs. 100,000 to him! As Savchand repeatedly insisted on repaying the amount of his promissory note, Somchand explained that he was unable to accept the amount because his books did not show any amount due from Savchand. In a way, he was right because the payment to the prince of Rs. 100,000 was debited to his personal account and not to Savchand's account. In Ramayan, there is an interesting event when neither Ram nor Bharat were willing to accept the throne, and they each asked the other to accept it. A similar dispute arose between Savchand and Somchand. Both of them offered a high payment to the other but neither of them was willing to accept the other's offer. Savchand continued to insist that Somchand accept the amount of his bill, but the latter not only declined but insisted on Savchand accepting another Rs. 100,000. At last, it was decided that they would refer the matter to the mediation of the Jain community. The executive committee of the Amdavad Jain Sangh got together with both of them. After hearing them patiently, the sangh concluded that since neither of them was ready to accept the amount offered by the other, the amount should be used for a noble cause. Both of them agreed, and after making a substantial addition to the said amount, they decided to spend the money to construct a temple complex on Shatrunjay Hill. Accordingly, construction was undertaken immediately. After completion, the opening ceremony of the complex was performed with great fanfare in 1619 A.D. In commemoration of their names, the complex is still known as Sava-Som Tuk. Moral: Honesty in life as well as in business always pays off. The generosity of Somchand is praiseworthy. He did not take undue advantage of a person in distress. Instead, he helped an unknown person. Moreover, he did not expect anything in return. 37 - Questions: 1. What happened to Savchand's fleet of ships? Why was it a heavy loss to Savchand? 2. Why did the prince insist Savchand return his money right away? What did Savchand do to pay the prince back? 3. What happened when the prince took the note to Somchand's firm? 4. Why did Somchand pay the false note? 5. When Savchand's ships returned, he had enough money to pay back the note to Somchand. Why did Somchand not accept the money? 6. What did they both decide to do with the money neither of them wanted to keep? 136 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #137 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Part VI Contemporary Jain Legends TE Page #138 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SPORC COOLEGA ENN "Jain religion is not blind faith, Nor is it emotional worship inspired by fear or wonder It is the intuition of the inherent purity of consciousness, will and bliss of the self." Dr. Nathmal Tatia Page #139 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRIMAD RAJCHANDRA 38 - Shrimad Rajchandra 1867 to 1901 Introduction Shrimad Rajchandra was a great seer and one of the most recognized Jain sages of modern times. He has made priceless contributions to Jain philosophy and literature. He was a great philosopher, a brilliant poet, social reformer, a thinker, and a self-realized saint. Mahatma Gandhi was highly influenced by Shrimad's spiritual life. Shrimad's writings come from his experiences of life, and his teachings are widely followed by many Jain and Hindu aspirants seeking spiritual awakening and self-realization. Birth and Childhood Shrimad Rajchandra was born on the auspicious fullmoon (Dev-Diwali) of the month of Kartik, 1924 V.S. (November 9, 1867) in Vavania, Morbi district, Gujarat. His parents were Ravjibhai and Devba. He was named Laxminandan at birth, but after four years his name was changed to Raichand. Later he became famous by the name of Rajchandra. Rajchandra's father and grandfather followed the Vaishnav (Hindu) religion. They were devotees of Lord Krishna. His mother, Devba, was from a Jain family. Thus, the child Rajchandra was brought up under the unified culture of Jainism and Hinduism. As a child, Rajchandra was deeply interested in reading various books. Once he read the Jain pratikraman sutras and was touched by the feelings of kindness to animals and the expression of sincere forgiveness from each other during daily pratikraman rituals and the paryushan festival. He was drawn closer to the Jain faith because of the emphasis it places on self-knowledge, self-control, penance, renunciation, detachment from worldly affairs, and meditation. As a seeker of ultimate truth, Shrimad came to the conclusion that the philosophy and culture of anches the Jain religion was of the highest order of truth and equanimity. An incident took place when he was seven years old that Shrimad Rajchandra changed the course of his life. An adult acquaintance, Shri Amichandbhai, died of a serpent-bite. Young Rajchandra asked his grandfather, "What does it mean to die?" His loving grandfather explained, "His soul has left the body and he will no longer be able to eat, talk, or move. His body will be burnt outside the village." Rajchandra saw the dead body being burnt and slipped into deep contemplation. Suddenly, as if a veil lifted, he recalled his past lives. With this experience he realized the pains of repeated births and deaths from one life to another. This incidence became a major spiritual awakening point in his life to free himself from the bondage of karma and the life cycle of pain and misery. Rajchandra started his schooling at the age of seven. With his exceptional ability to remember exactly what he saw or heard or read once, he was able to complete the seven-year elementary school education in a mere two years. The village school provided only seven years of education and hence his formal education came to an end. JAIN STORY BOOK 139 Page #140 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART VI CONTEMPORARY JAIN LEGENDS However, he continued to learn and read many books on his own. After his elementary education, he worked in his father's shop and conducted the business honestly and sincerely. He composed his first poem at the age of eight and started writing poems and articles related to social issues for publication in the local newsletters. Despite his young age he wrote serious articles on social reform subjects like the need for improving female literacy rates, about child marriages, and about the display of wealth by the rich. He also composed poems with nationalistic zeal. At a very young age, he had the supernatural ability to foresee what was likely to happen and he helped people by saving them from possible disasters. By the time he was 18, he had become a very proficient astrologer. He was able to identify books merely by touching them and know the taste of food without tasting it. Along with developing all these extraordinary abilities, he became very compassionate towards all living beings and a strong promoter of non-violence. e miast dildi Family At the age of 20 in 1988 A.D., Rajchandra married muMbaImAM zatAvadhAnI Zabakben. Zabakben was the daughter of Shri Popatlalbhai Jagjivandas, the elder brother of Shri Revashankarbhai who later became Shrimad's business partner. They had four children. Their two sons were Shri Chhaganlal and Shri Ratilal. Their two daughters were Smt. Javalben and Smt. Shrimad Rajchandra multi-tasking at Kashiben. Shrimad had a younger brother named Shri Mansukhbhai. Shrimad Rajchandra became a partner in a gemstone business in Mumbai at the age of 20. He was absolutely ethical, honest, and compassionate in all his business dealings. In a very short time his business flourished because of his wisdom and business insight. His regard for truth, adherence to high moral values, and firmness to do what was right inspired many others. In 1899 A.D., he totally retired from business at the age of 31. age 19 Power of Avadhan (Multi-Tasking) At the age of 17, Shrimad had observed someone performing eight different tasks simultaneously, known as Ashtavadhani, in Gujarati. He studied the method, and the next day he was able to perform twelve tasks. He soon improved his performance to be able to manage 52 avadhans. When he was 19, he was invited to perform his avadhans at a public meeting in Mumbai in the presence of the Bombay Chief Justice and other dignitaries. He successfully performed 100 avadhans, known as Shatavdhan. The 100 tasks included a variety of activities like playing cards, playing chess, counting the bell chimes, completing mathematical calculations, composing poems with different themes and specified sets of words, and arranging the order of words from 16 different languages which included English, Greek, Latin and Arabic (note that Shrimad's formal study included only Gujarati up to Grade 7 of elementary school). This was an unbelievable feat, and the performance was given much publicity in all the major newspapers like the "Times of India" and "Pioneer". Shrimad was invited to go to Europe and demonstrate his extraordinary talents. This would have meant more fame and substantial material gain. However, he declined the offer because it would be extremely difficult to stay in Europe as per Jain religious standards. He would also be distracted from his main objective of spiritual progress. By the time he was 20, his fame had spread throughout India, and he realized that he was achieving only material benefits for his amazing powers, which was not what he wanted from his life. He gave up all such activities 140 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #141 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRIMAD RAJCHANDRA completely and concentrated on self-restraint, detachment from worldly matters, contemplation, and meditation to progress spiritually so that he could free himself from the cycle of birth and death. Shrimad's Writings In his early years, Shrimad composed poems and articles on social reforms, which arouse nationalistic passion. While he was working in his father's shop, he did an in-depth study of the Jain Agams and scriptures after having learnt Sanskrit and Prakrit languages on his own at the age of 14. At the age of 16, he wrote "Moksha-mala" and its compendium "Bhavana-bodh", which literally means "garland of liberation". True to its name, it deals with subjects that lead towards the path of liberation. It is written in a simple and easy to understand language, but explains the Jain religion in the finest detail. Its 108 lessons were composed in three days! Atmasiddhi-shastra is an epic poem and the prime jewel composed by Shrimad in Gujarati in 1896 while he was in Nadiad, a town near Amdavad. On one auspicious evening, he composed 142 stanzas of Atmasiddhi-shastra in a sitting of less than 90 minutes. The fact that Shrimad composed such comprehensive and all-inclusive work within such a short time can give us a clue of the depth of spiritual wealth he possessed. The subject matter of Atmasiddhi-shastra is the scientific characterization of the six fold truths of soul: its existence, its eternity, doer of its karma, the impact of karma on it, the nature of the pure consciousness, and its potential for attaining liberation from karma. It describes the Jain philosophy comprehensively and also shows how Anekantavada allows Jainism to encompass all other Indian faiths. Many scholars have written an elegant commentary on the "Atmasiddhi-shastra". "Apurva Avasar" was his last major compilation. It is the most divine poem in which Shrimad expresses the fourteen stages of spiritual progress for ultimate liberation. Apurva Avasar was incorporated into the prayer book in Gandhiji's Ashram. The complete works of Shrimad contain more than thirty-five poems and almost 950 letters which were written to various people who came in contact with him. They are compiled in a text called "Vachanamrit". A high level of spirituality is evident in his writings. If one delves deeper into his literature, one will notice that his writings provide excellent discourses for attaining self-realization leading to liberation. Mahatma Gandhi was very impressed by Shrimad's spirituality and lifestyle. He accepted Shrimad as his spiritual guide with great respect and reverence. When Gandhiji was in South Africa, he was under intense pressure from his Christian and Muslim friends to adopt their faith. He wrote to Shrimad for guidance. Shrimad's guidance convinced him of how his own faith, Hinduism, would ensure his spiritual progress. Gandhiji has written reverently about Shrimad in his autobiography and has paid glorious tribute to him on several occasions. He often revealed that he learnt compassion for all beings and non-violence from Shrimad. According to him, Shrimad's life and spiritual writings impacted him more than Tolstoy and Ruskin. Spiritual Progress Shrimad did not have a spiritual teacher in his life. At the age of seven, when he was able to recall his past lives, he clearly remembered his association with Lord Mahavir in a previous life. In 1891 A.D., at the age of 23, Shrimad realized samyag darshan. He continued to enhance his progress by slowly detaching himself from the material world, deeply studying scriptures, strengthening virtues, refraining from worldly pleasures, and remaining in meditation for longer durations. He started to stay at lonely places outside Mumbai for more than a month at a time. In the beginning, there were many obstacles in his way because he needed to perform his duties as a house holder and as a businessman. From 1896 A.D., he often spent several months in isolation in the woods of Uttarsanda, Idar, and Kavitha, where he would eat only one meal during the day and sleep very little. He spent his time in deep meditation and attained a highly enlightened state of self-realization at the age of 28. He retired totally from business in 1899 at the age of 31 and requested that his mother permit him to renounce the worldly life permanently and become a monk. Unfortunately, his mother denied him out of love and affection. JAIN STORY BOOK 141 Page #142 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART VI CONTEMPORARY JAIN LEGENDS However, after two years of clever persuasion, he was hopeful of his mother's permission, but by this time his health had deteriorated. and he could not recover. He died in 1901 A.D. in Rajkot at the very young age of thirty-three. Followers Though Shrimad tried to keep his spiritual personality completely private, several people accepted him as their guide to achieve ultimate liberation and devoted their lives to him. Some of his closest followers were: 142 Shri Sobhagbhai Almost 350 of the 950 letters of Shrimad Rajchandra were written to Shri Sobhagbhai, who was about 40 years older than him. In the very first meeting, Sobhagbhai recognized Shrimad as a highly self-realized person and accepted him as his true guru. He was simple in his behavior and serious in devotion. He was a native of Saila, a town near Rajkot. Based on his request, Shrimad composed the epic poem "Atmasiddhishastra" so that it would be easier to memorize. Shri Sobhagbhai attained self-realization and died in deep meditation (samadhi). Shri Laghuraj Swami Shri Laghuraj Swami was a Sthanakvasi Jain monk and one of most devoted disciples of Shrimad. As a monk, his devotion to Shrimad caused him great problems from the Jain community. Shri Laghuraj Swami attained self-realization during Shrimad's presence and then established the Agas Ashram near Vadodara. The ashram can take credit for preserving Shrimad's writings and making it available to the Jain community at large. Agas is an important place for Shrimad's followers. Today there are more zrI AtmasidhdhinuM avataraNa guruvAra saM. 1952 naDiyAda Shrimad Rajchandra writing Atmasiddhi-shastra (Standing from Left: Shri Laghuraj swami, Shri Sobhagbhai and Shri Ambalalbhai with lantern) than fifty ashrams in India and aboard where the followers worship and study Shrimad's literature based on the divine faith and testimony provided by Shri Laghuraj Swami. JAIN STORY BOOK Page #143 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRIMAD RAJCHANDRA Shri Ambalalbhai Ambalalbhai, a native of Khambhat, was a very devoted disciple who sacrificed a brilliant legal career to be in the service of Shrimad. Shrimad entrusted him to copy scriptural works and his letters because of his exceptional memory. He and Shrimad's younger brother, Mansukhbhai, were responsible for recovering Shrimad's letters and writings and publishing them. Four years after Shrimad, in 1905 A.D., Ambalalbhai attained self-realization and passed away in deep samadhi at a very young age. Shri Joothabhai Joothabhai was the first person to recognize Shrimad's divinity and accept him as his spiritual mentor. Their relationship was very close, but also very short as Shri Joothabhai passed away when he was only 23 years old in 1890 A.D. Teachings and Contribution of Shrimad Rajchandra All of Shrimad's literature is based on Bhagawan Mahavir's teachings. He presented these teachings in simple Gujarati and Hindi in both prose and poetry forms. As we study Shrimad's writings in depth, we find that he made an enormous effort to shed new light on true spirituality. He succeeded in reforming blind faith with real spiritual awakening. His biggest contribution is to point out the mistakes most people make in following a teacher based on the external conduct and dress code. The spiritual journey led by a wrong teacher leads the disciple to extended life cycles of misery and pain. On the other hand, when an aspirant is able to know and follow the teachings of a true teacher (sadguru), he will be able to attain true freedom and liberation. Morality: Good manners, good activities, and good behavior are the roots of holiness. All living beings are seen as equal. Therefore, do not cause pain to any soul, nor extort work from any soul beyond their ability and capacity. Human life: All living beings long for permanent happiness, and there is no exception to this. This desire can be fulfilled only in a human life. Yet human beings choose unhappiness. This is due to his illusionary state (Mohaniya karma - Mithyatva) in which he sees happiness in worldly desires and possessions. Non-attachment to Worldly Affairs (Vairagya): Detachment from worldly and materialistic affairs and family relationships is defined as Vairagya, and achieving it is essential for eternal happiness. True renunciation is always followed by the true knowledge of the self or the soul. Without true renunciation, a person will not be able to gain the true knowledge of the soul. If one stops only at the stage of renunciation and there is no desire for true knowledge, his/her human life would be in vain. Knowledge and Wisdom: Through proper knowledge, we are able to know the forms and qualities of the substances of the universe. The Jain scripture, Uttaradhyayan Sutra, indicates that "Knowledge is like a needle with a thread. Just like a needle with a thread in it does not get lost, a person with knowledge will not lose the right religious path in this world." It is the true knowledge with which an external feeling is controlled, attachment for life, family and worldly pleasures is decreased, and the truth is revealed. If you know yourself, you know the whole world. If you do not know yourself, your knowledge is worthless. JAIN STORY BOOK 143 Page #144 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART VI CONTEMPORARY JAIN LEGENDS Summary Shrimad Rajchandra was a great saint, a self-realized master, and an outstanding educator. He was a born poet, possessed an extraordinary power of memory, a reformer of society, a keen follower, and an advocate of nonviolence. He had equal respect for all religions. As with many great personalities, Shrimad's greatness was not recognized in his life time. Shrimad was not popular among Jains because he spoke about the faults in Jain society and the traditions being carried out without understanding the proper meaning and purpose behind them. Many people have recognized his greatness since his death. Shrimad has put great emphasis on the need of a Sadguru in one's life for spiritual progress and ultimately to attain liberation. Shrimad always maintained that since he had not taken the vow of diksha (sainthood), he was not eligible to preach the path of liberation. Therefore, even with his wealth of knowledge, he did not preach to the masses. He hoped that later in his life, he would become a monk, and when the time was right, he would bring the proper teachings of Jainism to the masses as there were many undesirable factors in the practice of Jainism at that time. Moral: Shrimad's writings to his close associates and his personal notes are the essence of Jain religion. He has given us priceless spiritual gifts including "Moksha-mala", "Atmasiddhi-shastra", "Apurva Avasar", and many other spiritual writings in the form of letters, articles, and poems. In his short life of 33 years, he delivered the spiritual message of eternal importance. He explained Bhagawan Mahavir's teachings in simple words. Now these teachings have become accessible to ordinary people, and we have the unique opportunity to learn about the inner state of a truly self-realized person. 38 - Questions: 1. Which incident deeply affected Shrimad at the age of seven? 2. At what age did he compose his first poem? Name some of the major works that he has written. 3. What is power of Avadhan? What was Shrimad able to do? Was it a natural ability or did he acquire it? 4. At what age did Shrimad realize samyag darshan? What did he do after that? 5. Why did he not become a monk? 144 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #145 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ VIRCHAND R. GANDHI 39 - Virchand R. Gandhi A Brief Summary of His Life and Mission (August 25, 1864 to August 7, 1901) It was the memorable day of September 11, 1893. The Columbus Hall of the Art Institute of Chicago was overflowing with over 3, 000 delegates of different nations and religions. It was the opening day of the Parliament of World Religions Conference, the first such conference ever organized in the history of mankind. The aim of the conference was to impart the knowledge of different religions to the world, to promote a feeling of fraternity between followers of diverse religious persuasions, and to pave the way for world peace. The conference lasted for 17 days. Two young men among them, with their Indian costumes and turbans, drew special attention from the public. One was the world famous Swami Vivekananda, who represented Hinduism, and the other was Shri Virchand Raghavji Gandhi, who represented Jainism. They made such an impact at the Parliament of Religions with their impressive speeches and personality that, they both were requested to prolong their stay in the U.S. and continue giving speeches in different cities after the conference was over. Shri Virchand Gandhi, a young man of twenty-nine, impressed the delegates not only by his eloquence, but also by the sheer weight of his scholarship. The impartiality of his outlook and his oratorical skills fascinated the delegates at the conference. An American newspaper wrote, "Of all the Eastern scholars, it was this youth whose lectures on Jain faith and conduct were listened to with great interest and attention." Shri Virchand R. Gandhi was born on August 25, 1864 in Mahuva, near Bhavnagar, Gujarat. After his primary and secondary education in Bhavnagar, he joined Elphinstone College in Mumbai. He graduated and obtained a B.A. Degree with honors from the University of Bombay in 1884. He was probably the first graduate amongst the Jains at that time. He was also a student of Buddhism, Vedanta Philosophy, Yoga, Christianity and Western philosophy. He had also done a comparative study of various philosophies, which equipped him for talks on various subjects with confidence. He had command over fourteen languages including Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali, English, Prakrit, Sanskrit, and French. Shri Gandhi became the first honorary secretary of the Jain Association of India in 1885 at the age of 21. As secretary, he worked very hard for the abolition of the poll tax levied on pilgrims to Mount Shatrunjay, the most sacred place of Jain religion at Palitana. To protest against the ruler in those days was to invite severe punishment and even death. He prepared a case to compromise. He made a strong representation to Lord Ray, the governor of Bombay, and Colonel Watson, the political agent, and eventually the poll tax was abolished in place of a fixed payment of Rs. 15,000 per year to the ruler for looking after the safety of the pilgrims and the holy place. In 1891 Mr. Bodam, an Englishman, set up a factory for slaughtering pigs and making tallow out of them at Sametshikhar, another holy place of Jain pilgrimage near Calcutta in the state of Bihar. Shri Virchand Gandhi went all the way to Calcutta to stop the killing of pigs at the holy place. He stayed there for six months, learned Bengali, prepared his case against the factory, and ultimately got this verdict issued: "Sametshikhar is a place of Jain pilgrimage, and nobody else has any right to interfere there." He got the factory to close down. Shri Virchand Gandhi was a great social reformer at a very young age. At the age of 22, he wrote long essays to remove evil social customs and continuously fought against them and was successful in eradicating many of them. Shri Virchand Gandhi sailed to the U.S. along with Swami Vivekananda to attend the Parliament of World Religion Conference in 1893. He stayed in the United States for about two years after the conference and gave lectures in cities such as Chicago, Boston, New York, and Washington. He also visited England, France, Germany, and other places in Europe. In foreign countries, he wore a long and loose kurta, a white shawl on his shoulder, a golden bordered kathiawadi turban on his head, and country shoes. This external appearance bore the imprint of India. He delivered more than 535 lectures on Jainism, yoga, Indian systems of philosophy, Indian culture, occultism, and spiritualism. He qualified as a barrister in London at one of the Inns of the court, but did not use this qualification for monetary gain. JAIN STORY BOOK 145 Page #146 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART VI CONTEMPORARY JAIN LEGENDS Virchand Gandhi talked about the doctrines of Jainism in such a coherent manner that some newspapers published the texts of his lectures in full. He had the most effective way of handling the otherwise difficult terminology of Jainism. He had an extraordinary ability to clarify his statements in a consistent and logical manner. At the conference, he made a brief but striking presentation on the fundamentals of the Jain religion. He expounded the main aspects of the Jain religion in the categories of Jain philosophy, Jain way of life, and Jain code of conduct. Another special characteristic of Shri Virchand Gandhi's lectures on Jain religion was that they did not deal in criticism of other religions. Free from sectarian preferences and prejudices, his impartial ideology is an apt Shri Virchand R. Gandhi expression of Jains who practice non-violence in life and Anekantavada in thoughts. His discourses convinced the elite of America of the fact that Jain religion has an authentic and rational religious tradition. His speeches received extensive publication in several leading newspapers. Shri Virchand Gandhi was a great exponent of Indian culture and religion in addition to being a brilliant scholar of Jainism. His speeches at the parliament echoed the true spirit and culture of India. The prevailing belief in America was that India was a country of tigers, serpents, magicians, and kings. Christian missionaries also presented a distorted picture of the people of India. Shri Virchand Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda made a great effort to give 146 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #147 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ VIRCHAND R. GANDHI the people abroad the true perspective on India. Explaining the importance of Indian culture to foreigners, he said, "It is an astonishing fact that foreigners have been constantly attacking India, and in the face of all those aggressions the soul of India has stood vital and watchful. Her conduct and religion are safe and the whole world looks at India with a steady gaze." Shri Virchand Gandhi was not a dogmatic person. He spoke as a Jain, but he forcefully defended Hinduism from the attack of Westerners at the Parliament. After all, he was first Indian, then Jain. He received a warm reception and was shown the highest appreciation from clubs, literary and church societies, philosophical branches, and spiritual associations in the U.S. and other countries. His lectures also served to educate Western society regarding the salient features of Indian culture. Five decades before the independence of India, Virchand Gandhi had a prophetic vision. He said in one of his lectures, "You know, my brothers and sisters, that we are not an independent nation. We are subjects of Her Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria the "defender of the faith", but if we are a nation in all that the name implies with our own government and our own rulers, with our laws and institutions controlled by us free and independent, affirm that we should seek to establish and forever maintain peaceful relations with all the nations of the world." The secretary of The Society for the Education of Women of India was Mrs. Howard who had adopted pure vegetarianism, practiced samayik daily, and followed other codes of conduct of Jainism. In England, Virchand Gandhi founded the Jain Literature Society and taught Jainism there. Mr. Herbert Warren, a religious enthusiast, abandoned non-vegetarianism and adopted the Jain religion. He summarized Virchand Gandhi's lectures and published a book known as "Herbert Warren's Jainism". Literature Published by Shri Virchand R. Gandhi or complied from his Speeches: Title Year Published Language Pages Jaina Philosophy 1907 English 375 Karma Philosophy 1913 English 221 Yoga Philosophy 1912/1993 English 309 The Systems of Indian Philosophy 1970/1993 English 188 Selected speeches of V. R. Gandhi 1963 English 85 Religion and Philosophy of Jains 1993 English 264 Essay - Radva Kutvani Hanikarak 1886 Gujarati 37 Chal Concentration - 12 Lectures on 1916 English Meditation The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ 1894 English Savirya Dhyana 1902/1989 Gujarati 158 Herbert Warren's Jainism 1961/1983 English 128 164 Virchand Gandhi was not only a philosophical thinker, but he also had the welfare of the nation at heart. In 1896, while he was in the U.S. he collected a shipload of grain and about 40,000 rupees ($10,000) in cash for famine relief in India. JAIN STORY BOOK 147 Page #148 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART VI CONTEMPORARY JAIN LEGENDS In America, Virchand Gandhi founded various societies, such as: * The Gandhi Philosophical Society * The School of Oriental Philosophy The Society for the Education of Women of India While he was in England, his health suddenly took a turn for the worse. He returned to India, but a few weeks later Shri Virchand Gandhi passed away on August 7, 1901 in Mumbai (Bombay) at the very young age of 37. Moral: Shri Virchand Gandhi rendered an excellent service to India and Jainism by interpreting Indian culture and religion in its true spirit to the western world. He was a brilliant and promising young man, full of hopes and aspirations of service to his religion and community. His name will continue to be remembered as a great champion of Jain religion and of Indian culture. 39 - Questions: 1. Where did Virchand Gandhi go? Which other Indian was there? What were they both representing? 2. What did Mr. Bodam do? What did Virchand Gandhi do? 3. How long did he stay in the US? Where else did he go? What did he wear? What did he do during this two year stay? 4. Did non-Indians have a true picture of India? What did they believe India was like? Were their beliefs right? 148 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #149 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Part VII Moral Stories TE Page #150 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ "Meditation is the best way of regression from all transgressions" - Niyamasara (65) Page #151 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ KING HANSA 40 - King Hansa In the city of Rajpur, there lived a King named Hansa. He was a fair and just King, known for his devotion to truth and non-violence. On top of Mount Ratnasringa, there was a beautiful temple dedicated to Bhagawan Rishabhadev, the first Tirthankar. During the month of Chaitra, on the day of the full moon, people came from far to visit and worship at the temple. Once, King Hansa decided to visit the temple. He asked his council of ministers to look after the kingdom during his prolonged absence and left with members of the royal household on this spiritual mission. A few days after King Hansa departed, King Arjun attacked the city. In spite of putting up a strong fight, King Hansa's army was defeated, and many of the generals lost their lives on the battlefield. King Arjun gained control of the palace and the treasury. King Arjun occupied the royal throne and enforced his authority over the entire kingdom. King Hansa heard the story of their defeat on the way to the temple. The King's courtiers were very upset and advised him to return to the city. The King said, "I have given up control of the kingdom and as we are on a spiritual mission, that is what we should be thinking about. So let us keep going to the temple." The King's courtiers were unhappy about the King's decision and worried about the safety of their families at home. One by one, they all dropped out until only one umbrella bearer remained with the King. King Hansa avoiding the hunter's question to protect a deer On the way to the temple, they had to pass through the forest. The King took off his royal dress and jewelry and gave them to his servant. While passing through the forest, the servant was separated from the King. As the King was walking, a deer ran in front of him and disappeared. Right after that, a hunter came running with a bow in his hand and asked the King if he had seen the deer. The King knew that if he told the truth, the deer would be killed. He decided not to answer the question and instead kept talking about irrelevant things. He said that he came from Rajpur. The hunter asked him again about the deer, and he answered that he was the King. The hunter was very upset with his answers and left in anger. By now, the King was tired and decided to rest under a tree. He overheard a discussion in the bushes about robbing some monks who would pass that way in the next two days. The King got concerned about the safety of the monks. JAIN STORY BOOK 151 Page #152 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART VII MORAL STORIES While he was thinking about what he could do, some policemen approached him and asked if he had seen any King Hansa overhearing the robbers secretly talking in the bushes suspicious people that looked like robbers. They said, "These people are very dangerous and we have heard that they harm holy people. We are here to arrest them or even shoot them if necessary to protect the holy people." The King was in a dilemma again whether to tell the truth or not. He was concerned that if he told the police about the robbers, they would be harmed, and if he did not, the monks would be harmed. He thought, "If by telling the truth someone gets harmed or killed, then telling that truth is not the best choice. Truth is supposed to protect and not harm anyone. He said, "My friends, you are asked to guard the monks. Why not go and look after the monks and worry about the robbers if they confront the monks." The policemen agreed and left to join the monks. King Hansa disclosing the truth despite the danger to his life 152 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #153 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ KING HANSA The robbers who were hiding in the bushes heard all this. They were amazed at the mercy shown by this stranger. They came out, thanked him for saving their lives, and told him that they were at his service. The King advised them, "My dear friends, give up harassing people and be good citizens." The robbers promised that they would not harm the monks anymore and would try to be good citizens. As if this was not enough, a group of soldiers came and asked him if he had seen King Hansa. The King asked, "What do you want from King Hansa?" They explained that they were the trusted men of King Arjun and they had been told to arrest King Hansa and kill him. If they did, they would receive a big reward. King Hansa thought for a moment and said, "I am King Hansa. Carry out your duty as told by your King." After saying that, he closed his eyes, stood in meditation, and started reciting the Namaskar Mangal Sutra. At once, a deva appeared and said, "Oh King! I am overwhelmed by your truthfulness and compassion. I have captured King Arjun, made him a prisoner, and have given control of your kingdom back to your ministers. Today is a great day for worship, but the temple is too far from here. There is no way you can reach there in time. My chariot is at your service. Please let me take you there." King Hansa was surprised by the miraculous turn of events. In the company of the deva, he reached the summit of Mount Ratnasringa in time to worship. The demigod then escorted him back to his kingdom. King Hansa pardoned King Arjun and released his soldiers immediately. The angel appointed four lieutenants to look after the safety of the King and his kingdom and then departed. King Hansa once again ruled the city of Rajpur, and the people were happy. Moral: The main theme here is the importance of the Jain principles of truthfulness and nonviolence, and their interrelationship. Sometimes, following one Jain principle blindly can lead to the violation of another principle, which is what King Hansa was faced with on multiple occasions. He thought about each situation carefully and found a very creative, smart, and beneficial solution without violating any principles and without hurting anyone. This showed his devotion and adherence to Jainism. When faced with King Arjun's soldiers in the last situation, he told the truth since no other person or principle was involved, even though it meant the possible end of his life. He again stuck to his Jain principles, even though he could have been killed for it. 40 - Questions: 1. Where did King Hansa decide to go? What happened soon after he left his kingdom in the hands of his ministers? 2. When he heard the news of his defeat, did King Hansa return to his kingdom? Why not? 3. Explain the incident with the deer? What did he do when the hunter asked him if he had seen the deer? Why? 4. How did he answer the policemen who asked him about the robbers? Why? 5. What did he tell the soldiers who asked him if he had seen King Hansa? Why? JAIN STORY BOOK 153 Page #154 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART VII MORAL STORIES 41 - Kamalsen Shripat Sheth and his wife Sundari once visited Shri Shilandhar Acharya and told him that they both observed daily Vows such as reciting Namaskar Mangal Sutra, performed Navkarshi (to eat 48 minutes after sunrise), and samayik. However, their son, Kamalsen, did not observe any vows. Kamalsen's parents were unhappy and anxious about their son's lack of devotion and spirituality. They requested that the monk give some advice to their son so that he would change for the better and be happy in this life as well as the next. The monk willingly obliged. After reaching home, the merchant said to his son, "Well, my son, a great teacher is visiting our town. He is a very learned man, and his lectures are worth listening to." The next day, they accompanied their son to the lecture. After paying their respect to the Acharya, they sat down to listen. The Acharya talked about many things, including heaven, hell, misery, and keval-jnan. After the discourse, the parents asked Kamalsen what he felt about the lecture. Kamalsen replied, "I was too busy watching the movements of the Acharya's neck area." His parents were greatly dismayed and returned home disappointed. Kamalsen watching the potter hide the treasure Soon after, another great sage, Acharya Gunasagar suri, visited the town, and Kamalsen and his parents went to visit him. The Acharya told the audience various stories of bravery, humor, sorrow, and family relations with religious messages because such stories attract common people. The boy liked those stories, so every day he attended the Acharya's sermons and listened with interest. After a few days, the Acharya was preparing to leave town. Kamalsen 154 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #155 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ KAMALSEN joined the people at the farewell ceremony. Many people pledged to observe some vow. Kamalsen was asked if he would take a vow. He said, "I will not tell a lie except during the day or the night. I will not put a whole watermelon into my mouth, nor will I eat cow manure." The Acharya was surprised by the boy's ridiculous behavior. Hence, in order to repent, the boy vowed not to eat food without looking at the baldhead of Simelo, a potter in the town. The Acharya was very pleased with Kamalsen for taking a vow even though it was a very strange one. One day, Simelo went to the forest to get some clay. Kamalsen was about to eat lunch when his mother reminded him of his vow. He immediately ran to the forest to find the bald potter. There he saw the potter digging in the ground. While digging, the potter came across a pot full of gems and precious stones. At the boy's arrival, he started hiding it underneath a heap of soil. Kamalsen shouted, "Yes! I have seen it (indicating to himself that he had seen the bald head of the potter)." The potter thought Kamalsen meant that he saw the pot and he did not want anyone else to know about the gems. Therefore, he told the boy that he would share half the treasure from the pot if he did not tell anyone. At first, Kamalsen did not understand what Simelo was talking about, but later he understood and gladly accepted the treasure and returned home. Kamalsen thought deeply as he returned home, "A simple vow taken as a joke brought me this wealth. Had I taken this vow seriously, I would have benefited a lot more." This incident changed Kamalsen's life. He then observed many vows and became very happy. Moral: When one takes vows to do something, it should require true devotion and discipline and require some form of sacrifice consistent with the principles of Jainism. Taking vows that do not fit this profile is useless and has no meaning. Taking vows and following through with them benefits one's soul. These benefits may be evident in one's present life or may not be evident until some future birth. However, vows definitely help to discipline your present life. 41 - Questions: 1. Why were Kamalsen's parent unhappy and anxious about their son? What did they do? 2. What vow did Kamalsen take? What happened? 3. What did he realize in the end? JAIN STORY BOOK 155 Page #156 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART VII MORAL STORIES 42 - Vipul and Vijan In the forests of Pratisthan, there lived a hermit well known for predicting future events. Many times the people of the village gathered around him and asked for predictions, even though the hermit did not always like to satisfy their curiosity. The hermit kept moving deeper and deeper into the jungle until people stopped looking for him. Two friends, Vipul and Vijan, got lost in the jungle on their way to Pratisthan. They feared for their lives in the dark and looked for shelter. Late in the night, they saw a hut and approached it with fear and uneasiness. They peeped into the hut and saw a hermit deep in meditation. They assumed that he was the hermit known for his predictions. They waited until the hermit completed his meditation and then told him their story about getting lost in the forest. The hermit heard their story and offered them fruits. The compassionate hermit told them to rest. The next morning the hermit requested one of his disciples to show them the way to the village. However, before Vipul and Vijan left, they folded their hands and asked the hermit to tell them their future. The hermit declined politely, telling them that it was not advisable to know their future, and sometimes predictions may prove to be wrong. Both friends insisted and at last, the hermit told them their future. He looked at Vipul and told him he would become a king within a year while Vijan would die at the hands of an assassin during the same time. Outside the forest, Vipul could not contain his joy while Vijan was very gloomy. It was only natural. Back in their town, Vipul behaved arrogantly and told everyone that if they misbehaved, he would chop off their heads when he became King. Everyone in the village was afraid of him. Meanwhile Vijan, a teacher, went about his work with great devotion and spent a lot of his time in prayers and social work. He was humble to all and eventually overcame his sadness. He no longer feared death, but surrendered himself to his destiny. Six months later, Vipul asked Vijan to accompany him to select the site of his future palace. Both were surveying Vipul and Vijan asking the hermit about their future a deserted region when Vipul stumbled across a pot full of gold coins. He was joyous and told Vijan that he was going to use the money to buy a crown. Right then, a robber jumped out of the bushes and tried to snatch the pot. Vijan came to his friend's rescue, and the robber attacked him with a dagger. Vijan was experienced in defensive tactics and drove off the robber, although he received a cut on the shoulder. The grateful Vipul offered his friend half the gold but Vijan politely refused saying he was going to die soon and would have no use for the gold. Vipul 156 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #157 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ spent the money irrationally and squandered it in eating and drinking. A full year passed. Vipul did not become a King, and Vijan did not die. Both friends went back to the hermit in search of an explanation. The hermit was in meditation. He said to Vipul, Change of destiny because of the good deeds of Vijan and bad deeds of Vipul VIPUL AND VIJAN "Your destiny changed because of your thoughtless actions over the year. The crown that was meant to come to you was reduced to a simple pot of gold which you found in the field." Then, he said to Vijan, "Your prayers, humility, and trust in religion changed your destiny too. Death by the hands of an assassin was changed to a mere wound." The two friends returned to the village, thoughtful of their actions and the results, and the meaning of life. Moral: One's destiny is driven by one's karma. In turn, one's karma is governed by one's thoughts and deeds in the current as well as past lives. Knowing their fate, Vipul and Vijan changed their behavior. One changed for the worse, and the other for the better. Arrogance and materialistic indulgence led to bad karma that Impacted Vipul's future in a negative manner. Conversely, humility, prayers, and faith in the divine led to good karma which impacted Vijan's future in a positive manner. We should all strive to behave in a manner that will promote good karma in our current and future lives 42 - Questions: 1. According to the hermit, what was the future of Vipul and Vijan? 2. What did they do after learning about their future? 3. What happened at the end of the year? Did the hermit's predictions come true? Why or why not? JAIN STORY BOOK 157 Page #158 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ PART VII MORAL STORIES 43 - Two Frogs A group of frogs were playing on the farm, when two of them fell into a pot of milk. All the other frogs gathered around the pot to see what could be done to help their companions. When they saw how deep the pot was, they agreed that it was hopeless and told the two frogs in the pot that they should prepare themselves for their fate because they were as good as dead. Unwilling to accept this terrible fate, the two frogs began to jump with all of their might. Some of the frogs shouted into the pot that it was hopeless, and that the two frogs wouldn't be in that situation if they had been more careful and more responsible. The other frogs continued sorrowfully, shouting that they should save their energy and give up since they were already as good as dead. The two frogs continued jumping with all their might, and after a while, were quite weary. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to the calls of his fellow frogs. Exhausted, he quietly resolved himself to his fate, drowned to the bottom of the pot, and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could even though his body was wracked with pain and exhaustion. Once again, his companions began yelling for him to accept his fate, stop the pain, and just die. The weary frog Mariacked with orien are wears tiron 158 JAIN STORY BOOK Page #159 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ TWO FROGS jumped harder and harder, and the milk turned into butter with all the movement of the jumping. The frog was now able to stand on the layer of butter on top, use that as leverage, and finally leap high enough to get out of the pot. Amazed, the other frogs celebrated his freedom and then gathering around him asking, "Why did you continue jumping when we told you it was impossible?" The astonished frog explained to them that he was deaf, and as he saw their gestures and shouting, he thought they were cheering him on. What he had perceived as encouragement inspired him to try harder and to succeed against all odds. Moral: The book of proverbs says, "There is death and life in the power of the tongue". Your encouraging words can lift someone up and help them make it through the day. Your destructive words can cause deep wounds. They may be the weapons that destroy someone's desire to continue trying, or even their life. Your destructive, careless words can diminish someone in the eyes of others, destroy their influence, and have a lasting impact on the way others respond to them. Be careful what you say. Speak life to (and about) those who cross your path. There is enormous power in words. If you have words of kindness, praise, or encouragement, speak them now to, and about, others. Listen to your heart and respond. 43 - Questions: 1. When the two frogs fell into a pot of milk, what did their friends suggest? 2. Did they both follow their advice? What happened when one frog listened to their advice? 3. What explanation did the frog who was able to jump out give his friends? 4. What did you learn from this story? JAIN STORY BOOK 159 Page #160 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Believe in Yourself Believing in yourself standing for what you believe in regardless of the odds against you and the pressure that tears at your resistance means courage Keeping a smile on your face when from the inside you feel like dying for the sake of supporting others means strength Stopping at nothing and doing what in your heart you know is right means determination Doing more than is expected to make another's life a little more bearable without uttering a single complaint means compassion Helping a friend in need no matter the time or effort to the best of your ability means loyalty Giving more than you have and expecting nothing but gratitude in return means selflessness Holding your head high and being the best you know you can be when life seems to fall apart at your feet and facing each difficulty with the confidence that time will bring you better tomorrows and never giving up means believing in yourself -Poem by Mary Ellen Joseph 160 JAIN STORY BOOK