Abhaydevsuri

Abhaydevsuriji has earned immense fame by composing Sanskrit commentaries on 9 of the Jain agams (Jain canonical literature). These commentaries provide a key to the innermost deep meaning of Jain agam literature. Besides being brief and well-worded, these commentaries depict and discuss many topics. Thus his name ranks at the top of those Acharyas who have written books with a view to immortalising the pure tradition of

Jinagam.

Acharya Abhaydevsuri was born in a Vaishya (merchant) family in A. D. 1015. Born to Mahidhar Sheth and Dhandevi in the famous city of Dhara of Malavdesh, the child was named Abhaykumar. Once Shri Jineshwarsuri and Shri Buddhisagarsuri had come to Dhara. Having listened to their religious discourses, he felt an inclination for renunciation. With the permission of his parents he accepted intiation from Jineshwarsuri. He began his studies of Agam literature at a very young age and in course of time he was honoured with the title of Acharya (head of a mendicant group). It is so said that one night when Acharya Abhaydevsuri was engrossed in meditation, the Shasandevi (the guardian Goddess) revealed herself before him and said that the commentaries of two agamas namely, Acharang and Sutrakrutang, were well-preserved but other commentaries were lost and destroyed with the passage of time. The goddess then asked him to make efforts to remedy that deficiency so as to serve the interests of Shrisangh (congregation). Enlarge this Picture Acharya Abhaydevsuri accepted this enormous task. He commenced the writing of commentary by performing ayambil tap, type of religions austerity. After a prolonged and labourious efforts he wrote volumes of commentaries on anga-agam (canonical text, one of the twelve). Because of constant penance of Ayambil and working for many nights together, he developed a leucoderma-like disease. Consequently his opponents spread the rumour that the mother-goddess had cursed him with this disease as a penalty for having wrongly interpreted the scriptures. Acharya Abhaydevsuri invoked Shasanrakshak Dev (the guardian God) Dharanedra at night and as the god appeared before him, Acharya said, “O Lord ! I am least afraid of my death but I can’t endure the false charges and malafide criticism that the slandering people level against me since I am afflicted with the disease. Hence I have decided to undertake fast till I die.” Shasanrakshak Dev Dharanendra assured him that he was quite innocent and provided him necessary guidance. As guided by Dharanendra, Abhaydevsuri, together with the shravak sangh, came at the banks of river Sedhi in Stambhangram. Acharyashri discovered the place where a cow was yielding milk automatically; soon he composed a stotra of 32 shlokas entitled Jayatihuan. As the stotra was composed, a very ancient and bejewelled idol of Shri Stambhan Parshwanath emerged from under the ground. Shrisangh performed all the rituals of bathing and as soon as the holy water was applied to the body of Abhaydevsuriji, he was cured of the disease. Acharyashri regained his usual health. Presently the same idol is installed at the temple in Cambay. Then Acharyashri completed the task of writing Navangi commentary, and he expired at Kapadvanja in Gujarat and the samadhi, the memorial structure, exists there in Tapagachchha upashraya.

Anathi Muni

Magadh King Shrenik Bimbisar set out for forest-outing riding a horse. As he entered Mandikuli garden, he saw a saintly person in meditation under a tree. He was surprised at the sight of such a pleasant face with glowing forehead and was impressed by the monk. The king wondered as to what heart-rending and shocking experiences of worldly life might have led him to forsake joys and pleasures of 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 to set at rest the

doubt agitating my mind. What has compelled you to take diksha i.e., way of life full of penance and abdication by abjuring worldly joys and pleasures, in the prime of your life ? As I look at the unusual beauty of your body and face as also your youthful age I am

prompted to ask as to what has compelled you to forsake your family, wealth and dearones at such a young age.” 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.” King Shrenik laughed loudly 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 and the whole retinue in your attendance. In their company you shall be able to enjoy all the pleasures like wealth, power and peace. You won’t miss any of the worldly pleasures. I am your protector now. Renounce this sainthood accepted in youthful age and come with me to my grand pleasure-palace.” To this the monk said, “O king of Magadh, how shall you be my protector when you yourself are unprotected ? I also possessed invaluable wealth and riches, as you do. But once when I had severe pain in my eyes and burning sensation in my limbs none could help me - neither the riches of my father nor any medical help nor the sweet love of my mother. My devoted wife renounced all the ornaments and my brothers and sisters wept and wailed helplessly. I was helpless. They were helpless too. With a view to avoiding such helplessness, I decided to go for initiation (diksha) which, I thought, was an unfailing remedy to all my pains. I made up my mind to renounce the world if during that night my pain subsided. To my utter surprise it started subsiding immediately. By the time the day dawned, the pain vanished completely. I was perfectly healthy. As per my decision of the earlier night, I took diksha and thus one totally unprotected (a-nath) found his protector (nath) in Lord Mahavir. Deeply impressed by the preachings of Anathi Muni, king Shrenik decided to seek refuge of Lord Mahavir; Anathi Muni went his own way. The character-sketch of Anathi Muni shows that a person suffering from worldly pains and tortures, despite his numerous near-ones 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.

ANUPAMADEVI
Anupama was Tejpal’s wife. Her complexion was dark and even her body was not
that beautiful but she possessed extraordinary intelligence. She showed uncommon common-sense in solving complicated problems not only of the family but those of others’ as well. Tejpal and Anupamadevi both were devoted to religion and as such, the ascetics were ever worshipped with great respect by them. Once Anupamadevi was giving alms to the

Jain monks; meanwhile the vessel of alms slipped from the hands of one of the Yatis and Anupamadevi’ s clothes became fully soaked with ghee from that vessel. Tejpal, the minister, was standing nearby and as he saw this, he was just on the verge of losing his temper. He became enraged as he suspected that something ill-auspicious would happen as a result of spilling of ghee. But Anupamadevi handled the situation very skillfully and said, “O ! What would have been my position, had I been born to a ghee-dealer ? But I feel fortunate today since I

have secured the most desired though rare ablution of ghee from the vessel of the guru.” As he listened to Anupamadevi, Tejpal’ s temper cooled down.

Once Vastupal and Tejpal, the two brothers set out on a pilgrimage of Shatrunjaya Tirth and Girnar Tirth. The Minister’s family had left for the pilgrimage with whatever wealth they had. On their way both the brothers rosted near the village Hadala; suddenly they thought that in the Sorath region irt Saurashtra even the great and mighty were looted at the hands of the dacoits. Hence they decided to hide one third of their wealth somewhere in the forest. At the fall of the night as both the brothers were digging the earth so as to hide their wealth, they found to their surprise a vessel containing gold-coins. They had serious reflections as to while they had intended to hide the wealth under the ground, they were rewarded with more wealth. They were also puzzled as to what to do with that immense wealth which was not earned by their own labour. They consulted Anupamadevi and she advised them that instead of hiding the wealth under the ground, it should be placed atop a peak. She added that therein would lie the true dignity of human beings and the wealth itself. By burrying the wealth underground, the greedy person meets his hell; if the same wealth be used for the renovation of the pilgrim-places like Shatrunjaya and Girnar, one can attain heaven. She suggested that some wealth be spent for the Jain temples atop the mountain peaks. Vastupalliked Anupamadevi’s suggestion and Tejpal was very happy that she was such an unselfish woman. At the great pilgrim-place of Shri Shatrunjaya, Nandishvar Jinprasad was constructed with the help of Vamdev Salat. A unique lake was also built at the holy place. In A. D. 1236, at the time of celebrating the great penance called Panchami, they arranged the construction of 25 holy assemblies and also managed to construct 32 vadis at the foothills of Shatrunjaya and 16 vadis at the foot-hills of Girnar. Jinalaya, a lake and poshala were also constructed. Atop Mt. Abu was erected a huge, attractive and beautiful edifice named ‘Lunigavasahi’ for Neminath Bhagwan. During the construction work, Anupamadevi looked after the sculptors with motherly love and feeling. With a view to keeping them healthy and fit/she had hired men for massage. She paid adequate money to all of them. All her painstaking efforts made the Jain temples at Abu a unique creation as unique as she was - Anupam.

ARDRAKKUMAR

There were ties of friendship between king Ardra of Ardrapur and king Shrenik of Rajgruhi. King

Shrenik sent valuable gifts to king Ardra. To further strengthen the bonds of friendship and love, king Ardra’s son sent gifts to Abhaykumar, the son of king Shrenik. Pleased with the gifts, Abhaykumar thought of sending such gifts as would inspire, in Adrak’s heart, love for Jain religion. He, therefore, sent an idol of Bhagwan Adinath in a box with an express instruction to open it in a pious and calm place. Prince Ardrak did as was bid by Abhaykumar and on seeing the idol, he could remember his past. In the third incarnation before the present one, he was a householder in Vasantpur in the kingdom of Magadh. His wife was Bandhumati. Later as a result of his karma (one’s good or bad deeds during one’s life-time), he was born as a prince of a non-Aryan kingdom, and his wife was born as Shrimati, the daughter of a gentleman of Vasantpur.

This knowledge of his previous life prompted Ardrakkumar to seek his father’s approval for diksha (renunciation) but his father refused permission. Thereupon, Ardrakkumar dressed himself in the robes of a Sadhu (ascetic) and set out for Vasantpur quietly. He came to a temple and sat there in meditation. By chance, Shrimati also happened to come there while playing the game of hide and seek. She was blindfolded and got hold of Ardrak thinking that she was holding onto a pillar. Then she realised that the inanimate pillar was in fact a living human being. She said to her companions : “Mentally I am married to this man.” At that time gods from heaven showered gems blessing the couple. However Ardrak felt that it was not the ideal place for a man like him to live in. He immediately left the place. But he returned to the same place after twelve years. He found Shrimati waiting for him there and she said, “Lord ! I had vowed to marry you when I saw you in the temple twelve years back but you deserted me. You are my husband and now if you refuse me, I will immolate myself in fire.” Shrimati’s father too reasoned with Ardrak and he married her and lived with her at her abode. Mter a gap of twelve years, he once again felt the desire to renounce the world. Shrimati was spinning at that time. Her son said, “Why do you engage yourself in such an ordinary type of work ?” To which she replied, “Your father is going to renounce the world and I will need some occupation to earn a living.” The child, in all innocence, said, “1 will tie him down so that he cannot escape.”So saying the son tied his father’s feet with cotton threads spun by his mother. Ardrakkumar was overwhelmed by the child’s love. He said, “I will count the number of threads tied round my feet.” He counted them and there were twelve threads. He said, “I will stay here for twelve more years and live like a householder.”, On the completion of those years he again left the place and decided to have a glimpse of Mahavir. On his way he met followers of different sects. He engaged himself in debates with Goshalak, Buddhists, Brahmins well-versed in the Vedas, atmadwaitwadi, hasti tapas and others and demolished their points of view and beliefs. ‘Shri Sutrakritang’, an agam, contains his logical arguments and also tells us how he dispelled the myths related to Bhagwan Mahavir.

Ardrakkumar took refuge at the feet of Mahavir and five hundred followers were and five hundreds followers were initiated into the fold by him.

BAKULADEVI
Bakuladevi ! An exceptional woman whose name shines like a bright star in the
history of Gujarat. Like a lotus, which remains unaffected by the mud around, she grew up, in the midst of luxuries and lust, to be a highly pious, virtuous and righteous woman. Blessed with incomparable beauty, she was the daughter of a courtesan. It was not that she was blessed only with external beauty, but her inner beauty also shone brightly. Though the daughter of a courtesan, she lived a pious life and guarded her chastity zealously. She wanted to lead the married life of a woman born in a high family.

King of Gujarat Bhimdev came to know about Bakuladevi and her sterling qualities and spotless character despite being a courtesan’s daughter. He thought to test her character and chastity. He sent a marriage proposal, to her which was accepted by Bakuladevi. Bhimdev, instead of solemnizing the marriage, was diverted to the warfare and decided to invade his arch enemy king Bhoj of Malwa. Gujarat and Malwa had been at war for a long time. Bhimdev was determined to inflict defeat on Bhoj. The war lasted for two long years with the decisive victory of Bhimdev. People thought that it was difficult for an alluringly lovely woman like Bakuladevi to protect her chastity, especially in an environment in which she lived. But Bakuladevi was made of different stuff. From the moment Bhimdev had sent the marriage proposal, she had accepted him as her spouse. During the period the king was away fighting the battle,

she had vowed not to wear expensive robes or ornaments. She took all precaution to guard her chastity and waited patiently for Bhimdev to return. When . he returned after his victory over Bhoj, he learnt that Bakuladevi had been waiting for him and that her character was as spotless as ever. She had been pining for him and had grown frail and emaciated, having abandoned good food and all luxuries. Bhimdev was convinced of Bakuladevi’ s devotion to him and her spotless character. He, then, decided to marry her. People, on the other hand spread all types of rumours. They said, “We do not know who she is and her family too is not an honourable one ! How can a son, born of such a woman, inherit the throne of Gujarat ? He will not have royal blood flowing in his veins.” Bhimdev ignored such malicious gossip. He said, “Forget that she is the daughter of a courtesan. Her character is clean and she is a pious, righteous woman.” People realised their folly in condemning such a virtuous woman and her esteem grew in their eye. Bhimdev married her and made her the queen of Gujarat. A son, Kshemraj, was born to her. Kshemraj’s son was Devprasad. Devprasad’s son was Tribhovanpal and his son was the mighty Kumarpal. It is said that good and noble sentiments bloom in the hearts of people only if there is congenial environment. Very often quite contrary is the case. A person must be judged by his noble motives and sentiments, howsoever foul environment he happened to have born in or lived in. A person with evil thoughts inhabiting sacred environment has to be judged as of a lower species. Bakuladevi was a woman to be judged by her deeds, by her thoughts and her noble character and history indeed has judged her as such.

BALASHAMATA

Balasha was a young, devout man who lived in a hamlet near Ujjain, the city known for valour,

scholarship and religious devotion of its people. Balasha was devoted to his mother. He used to help his mother in the household work and would also accompany her on pilgrimages. Once he went to Ujjain. He saw many big shops selling a variety of goods. He knew that his mother slept on floor and therefore he bought a cot for her to sleep on. Balasha returned home with the cot. His mother was pleased to see the cot and also at Balasha’s boundless love for her. But, then, she laughed and said, “Ours is a small house and so is the entrance. How shall we take this cot in ?” This made Balasha think. His mother said, “Unscrew its four legs and then we will be able to take it in.” Balasha did as bade. To his astonishment, he found diamonds in the inside of the hollow legs of the cot. It was a windfall for the two but their lifestyle did not change. They could have built a palatial house and lived lavishly. But they continued to live a simple life as before. Balasha’s mother had an intense desire to undertake a pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya and to have the darshan (glimpse) of Bhagwan Adinath.

She knew that worshipping the Bhagwan there or installing his idol or building a temple and protecting it would be an act piety and earn great punya (auspicious karma). She, then, learnt that a pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya was to be undertaken by Samarasha. Balasha and his mother joined the devotees on their way to Shatrunjaya and after some days arrived in Shatrunjaya. Early in the morning, next day, both performed the pooja and offered the diamonds they had brought. Samarasha who had organised the pilgrimage, was denied the first chance to perform the pooja as he would not offer as much as Balasha and his mother did. He, therefore, decided to fast that day. The same story repeated the second day and Samarsha fasted for the second day too. Balasha and his mother learnt about his fasts and were deeply pained. She said, “Samarasha is highly devout and pious. He must get the chance to perform the pooja first in the morning.” Samarasha broke his fast at her hands and performed the pooja the next day. Balasha had wealth and riches. He built a grand tunk named after him. He also built an impressive jinalay of Bhagwan Adishwar there. The tunk today consists of 270 stone idols, 458 metal idols and in all there are thirteen small temples. Wealth or money is used by people in three ways: 1. some use it for their own personal comforts and happiness, 2. some just hoard it, and 3. some use it for charitable or philanthropic purposes, which is the best use of one’s money. A true shravak would not think of using money for his own pleasures but use it for religious or noble purposes. Balasha was very wealthy and he used it not for his personal comforts or pleasures but for the religion which was so dear to his heart! Balasha proved to be a worthy son o~ a worthy mother. A mother with an exemplary character can beget a son like Balasha and Balashamata was such a mother!

Bappabhattisuri

Bappabhattisuri was versatile in interpretation of scriptures and a model of celibacy. He was born in A. D. 743 in village Duva in Banaskantha. As a child he was known as Surpal. Once when Acharya Siddhasensuri had a stay in Modhera, he happened to have a dream of a young lion leaping over a place of worship. Next morning when he went to the Jain temple and saw a bright-looking and dignified young boy, he was reminded of

the previous night’s dream; soon he called Surpal’s father named Bappa and mother named Bhatti. Due to their regard for their son’s brilliance and determination, the parents handed him over to the religious master on his request. As a token of their fond memory, the boy was named Bappabhatti. After his initiation, the boy acquired intensive knowledge of books of reasoning and logic as also of 72 arts. King Aam of Kanyakubja acquired instruction from Bappabhattisuri and as a reward the king wanted to hand over half of his kingdom to him, but Bappabhattisuri acquainted the

king with the concept of non-possessive vow of a Jain monk. The king was also extremely impressed by the poetic composition of Bappabhattisuri. However, from time to time the king subjected Bappabhattisuri to some sort of acid test to confirm his scholarship and his celibacy. Keeping in view the youthfulness of young Suriji, the king sent to him a young courtesan in a male’s dress with a view to test his celibacy. She went to the sleeping Suriji and began to attend to him. But as soon as Bappabhattisuri felt the soft touch of a feminine hand, he was soon awakened and was very much shocked. Immediately Suriji realized the intention of the king to tempt and to make him deviate by providing the company of a beautiful young woman in the darkness of the night. He requested the courtesan to go back. She bowed to the Suriji as he had conquered the cupid. The king Aam, as he came to know about the dignified behaviour of his spiritual teacher (Guru) during the strange ordeal, became overjoyed. Once at the instance and invitation of Dharmaraja a scriptural debate was organised between Bappabhatti representing king Aam and Vardhan Kunjar, the learned scholar representing Dharmaraja. In this battle of scholarship Bappabhattisuri came out victorious and as such he was honoured with the title of Vadikunjar Kesari but Suriraj turned this victory in a battle of arts and an occasion of harmony and dialogue. Over the years, there existed severe enmity between king Aam and Dharmaraja. Suriraj explained both of them the significance of forgiveness and brought about a reconciliation. Bappabhattisuri had greatly influenced Vakpati, an ascetic from Mathura. Under the impact of Suriraj’s preachings, the king accepted initiation in the last years of his life. Bappibhattisuri had composed 52 books of which Chaturvinshati and Sarasvati Stotra are available even now. He was also a patron of artists and he arranged for the payment of one lakh ‘taka’ to an artist for his painting. He also inspired the people at large for the construction of numerous Jain temples. Shri Bappabhattisuri is a great Acharya of the Jain religion. He was as much competent in theological debating as he was in composing spiritual literature. His strong character, extensive knowledge and deep-seated religious faith had greatly impressed the ruler and the ruled at large.

Bhadrabahuswami
Shrutkevali (knower of all the canonical literature) Shri Bhadrabahu Swami was the seventh in the line of pattadhars (chief disciple) of Lord Mahavir. Reputed Acharya Yashobhadra’s disciple as he was, he had the knowledge of 14 purvas (early canons). At the age of 45 years he accepted the life of penance and restraint, in the presence of Acharya Sambhut Vijayji he was designated as acharya (head of a mendicant group). For over 14 years he ably managed the affairs of Jinshasan (Jain order) and added honour and glory to the post. He died at the age of 76 years and with him the tradition of Shrutkevali came to an end.

Shri Bhadrabahuswami was born in Pratishthanpur. He and his brother Varahmihir both were expert scholars of 4 vedas and 14 vidyas. Their meeting with Shrutkevali Shri Yashobhadrashri resulted in their initiation. However, the Guru considered Bhadrabahu as a more deserving candidate for the learning of 14 purvas as also the acharyapad and so the Guru appointed him as his successor. This decision irritated and enraged Varahmihir who ultimately renounced his initiation. About this time, a child was born to the king and

Varahmihir made a forecast that the boy would live for one hundred years. Incidentally, sanghnayak (leader of a congregation) Bhadrabahuswami staying in the same city did not go to the palace to bless the child and to congratulate the king. Seizing this opportunity Varahmihir instigated the king and the people against Bhadrabahuswami. When Bhadrabahuswami came to know all this, he said that he knew that on the seventh day the boy was to die because of a cat and so he had decided to call on the king to

console him. Though he had full faith in the forecast of Varahmihir, the king took all precautions and arranged to catch and drive away all the cats out of the town in the forest area. The child was kept under strict surveilance. But as destined, the wooden bar at the door with a cat’s figure on it fell on the child’s head, killing him instantly. On this shocking and sorrowful occasion, Bhadrabahuswami went to the king to convey his consolation. Greatly moved by this gesture, the king offered him unusual honour. Varahmihir had failed in his plan and steeped in his own anger and enmity, Varahmihir was born as ‘Vyanterdev’ (a class of lower god) in his next birth and by means of knowledge he came to recall his earlier birth and soon became jealous of the Jain Sangh. He then managed for the spread of plague amongst the Shreesangh as a result of which a number of people began to die suddenly and instantly. Shreesangh requested Bhadrabahuswami to do something and by the sheer force of his shrutgyan (scriptural knowledge) he could correctly assess the entire situation and with a view to getting rid of the nuisance he composed Uvasaggahar Stotra. The impact of this great stotra (devotional song) was so great that the strength of Vyanter got immensely diminished. Acharyashri Bhadrabahuswami also composed ‘Paryushan Kalpasutra’ which is popularly known as ‘Kalpasutra’. It is also believed that he wrote Niryukti on 10 sutras. He composed 4 Chhed sutras (a law book dealing with monastic offences) and wrote monumental works like ‘Bhadrabahu Samhita’ and ‘Vasudevcharit’ containing one lakh and twenty five thousand pads (verses). Thereby he imparted invaluable knowledge of the purvas (early canons) to Arya Sthulbhadra, and thus he managed to preserve the great heritage from perishing. He attained the unique achievement of intense meditation of Mahapran dhyan constantly for 12 years. Bhadrabahuswami is respected as the fifth and final shrutkevali in both the shwetambar and digambar traditions.

BHIM KUNDALIYO

God wants utter devotion from a devotee. A man who donates a huge sum but ha.sno true devotion or love for the people does so out of either vanity or ego. On the other hand another person donates a very small amount but does it with no ulterior motives except sincere devotion. The second one is better as it is not the sum that is important but the sentiment, the bhav attached to it. Bhim Kundaliya’s life symbolises selfless devotion and

J

love. In A. D. 1157, mahamatya Vahad undertook the restoration of original jinalay in Shatrunjaya Tirth, the well-known centre of pilgrimage. Celebrations were on. Poverty stricken Jain Bhim of Timana Village/in tattered clothes, was also there to take part in the celebrations .. He was a trader selling ghee (purified butter). He had earned about rupees two, out of which he spent a rupee in buying flowers to perfoqn the pooja (worship). Bhim, after performing the pooja, desired to have a glimpse ofmahamatya Vahad, but was hesistant; he

was too poor to go near him. Vahad could see devotion writ large on his face and seated him beside him. Bhim told him everything about his life and his present state. Vahad, then, said, “Bhim we are fellow-travellers. You are a devotee and so am I. Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you.” Bhim felt overwhelmed at these words of Vahad. Atthat time, the administrators of the restoration project came to Bhim and asked for his contribution. Bhim had a very.small amount with himbut he contributed every penny \1e had and felt happy. It was a gesture of utter devotion, his love for religion! Mahamatya Vahad highly appreciated Bhim’s gesture and told the people gathered th¢re, “This is what I call secrifice.Whatever~,hehad earned, he spent on buying flowers for worship and the remaining money he donated. He is not worried about what he will eat tomorrow. This is selfless devotion.” Vahad gave three silk robes and a certain amount to Bhim but he refused to accept the clothes and money. He said, “Mahamatya, I cannot barter mypunya (noble, good deeds) for what you offer me. I cannot part with my accumunlated punya in exchange for these worldly possessions. I cannot indulge in this deception.” . This pleased Vahad much and honoured him by offering him a betel leaf as was the custom. Bhim, then, went home. He was apprehensive about his wife who was a tart-tongued woman, quarrelsome by nature. But he found her very happy as she told him about her disc()very offour thousand gold coins. She had found them while digging up the land. Bhim exclaimed, “How wonderful! It is the reward for what I did for the god. We must spend the money for the restoration work in Shatrunjaya.” Next day he met Vahad and offered the gold coins to.him which he refused to accept. At night Yaksha (demi .. god) kapardi appeared to him and said, “The mon.eybelongs to you. You had pleased the god by offering flowers from your meagre earning. Keep it and use it for your own well-being as well as for god’s worship. You will be prosperous forever ~ow.”Bhim, next day, performed the pooja of god Rishabhdev with flowers and precious jewels. Bhim of Kundaliya vi!lllge built a Bhimknnd (water-tank) in Shatrunjaya Tirth.

BHIMJI SANGHPATI
Bhimji Sanghpati was a true devotee, a staunch adherent of truth. King Harishchandra, who is
known as the truth-loving king in Indian mythology, was one such man who would uphold truth at any cost. Bhimji was a businessman of Cambay and renowned for his business acumen. Bhimji

Sanghpati observed scrupulously the vow of refraining from lying. It was the vow of not telling lies about animals and about land. This vow included refraining from misappropriating the deposits, bearing false witness in or out of court, and forging fake documents. The observer of the vow had specifically to bear in mind that if he practised treachery and fraud in business and, under tem.ptation, indulged in boasting aIid spreading rumours, he put his religion to shame and made it an object of ridicule and mockery. He was not to forget that breach of confidence or trust and giving wrong advice were great sins. In short, he was to understand that the secret of earning wealth was through honesty and morality. And in morality lay one’s own happiness, peace,

mental health and also of others’ welfare. Acharya Devendrasuri arrived in Gujarat from Malwa. Bhimji met him and said, “What vow should I observe so that I receive God’s grace ?”

The Acharya said, “Decide never to tell a lie. Adhere to truth at any cost, and you will be happy.” Bhimji did as bade by the Acharya and vowed to speak the truth always. Once a robber, Pallipati Bhil, waylaid him on the bank of the river Mahi and demanded to know how much money he had. Bhimji honestly said, “Four thousand rupees.” Pallipati Bhil hide Bhimji in a secret hideout and demanded a ransom of four thousand rupees for his father’s release. Bhimji’s son sent counterfeit coins to Bhil Pallipati. Pallipati realised a rat on seeing the coins that they were not genuine. He showed them to Bhimji. Bhimji said that they w~:re not genuine. Pallipati was surprised to hear these words. He thought, “How truthful this man is ! he is a captive and will be realesed only if his son sent genuine coins. But he has the courage to call his son a cheat, and did not lie to secure his release.” Bhimji’s truthfulness struck him deeply and he thought that any harm caused to such a person would be a grievous sin. He, then, released him. In A. D. 1271 Acharya Devendrasuriji died in Malwa in Rajasthan. His disciple Vidyanandsuri also died six months thereafter. Bhimji, being a staunch devotee of Devendrasuri, felt sad at the death of his Gurus, and for twelve years he did not eat anything. Those who observed celibacy, the fifth vrat were given a silk sari and five expensive pieces of clothes by Bhimji. There were four vratas before the birth of Mahavir - non-violence, truth, nonstealing and non-possession. The religion comprising these four came to be known as the religion of Parshvanath. Mahavir added the fifth vrat i.e. celibacy - brahmacharya - which was given the prim.e importance. All our woes, he said, could be traced to carnal desires. Bhimji Sanghapati emphasised the importance of restraint and self-control. It should be selfimposed and Sanghapati Bhimji always loved and respected all those who exercised restraint. The mantri (secretary) of Mandavgadh Pethadshah and his wifePadmini were also given these robes. Thirty-two year oldPethadshah and his wife decided to’ observe the vow of celibacy ; and performed pooja wearing the robes given by Bhimji. Bhimji Sanghpati is remembered today for his adherence to truth, supreme devotion to his gurus and unshakable faith in the vows.

CHAAMPALDE
Bhimdev was the king of Gujarat. He was so kind that people often cheated
him. Very often some people would poison his ears against others and get their work done.

Abhad Vasa lived in Patan. He sacked his accountant as he was very dishonest and used to

temper with the accounts and misappropriate money. The accountant wanted to avenge his dismissal and thought of a plan. He went to the king al)d said, “See, Abhad is very rich but he does not contribute even ten paise to the state’s coffers. His wealth remains intact, you must do something so that the wealth is spent for the good of the people.” The king did not know that the crafty accountant was up to some mischief to entrap Abhad. He liked the idea. As per the accountant’s advice the king sent his maid to Abhad. Bhimdev’s maid came to him with a plateful of meat. Abhad was busy in pooja (worship). The maid said, “Festivities are going on in the kingdom and the king has sent the prasad (food offered to deity and taken by devotees after worship) for you.” Abhad’s daughter Chaampalde took the plate and when she removed the cover, she found, to her horror, meat in it. She was a widow and lived with his father. She was highly religious but a very

intelligent woman. She thought, “Why should the king indulge in such an indecent, crude gesture? There is something deeper than what meets the eye.” She, at once, realized that the king must have acted on the advice of the dismissed accountant. She sent with the maid a very precious necklace for the king and gifted a chain to the maid. She then told her father. “The king is acting on the advice of the dishonest accountant and they have an evil eye on Our property and wealth. We must be careful. The king wants to grab our wealth but we must turn him into the protector of our wealth.” Abhad then made an inventory of his property and went to see the king. The king had thought that his act of sending ‘special’ prasad will enrage Abhad and he would rebel against the king. It will be then easier for him to appropriate his wealth for rebelling against the state. But that did not happen; instead, Abhad was standing in front of him, with no trace of anger. The king realised his folly that it was the accountant who had instigated him to spite Abhad. He called the accountant and reprimanded him severely. He said, “You should not be jealous of Abhad’s wealth. Now touch his feet and ask for forgiveness for your evil designs.”_The accountant did as bade by the king. Chaampalde’s cleverness helped the father to retain his wealth which he used for the welfare of the people and he and Chaampalde went to heaven ‘after their deaths. Jain Shravikas occupy an important place in Jain religion. They often display sterling qualities, character of a high order and an uncanny insight when in difficult situations. Such Shravikas are the true pillars of the religious edifice. Jain religion, therefore, equates shravaks and shravikas with sadhus and sadhvis. There are many shravaks and shravikas who possessed virtues and qualities which one would normally find in sadhus and sadhvis and Chaampalde was one such character whose life is a beacon to other mortals.

CHAMPA
People of the country were extremely terrified by the oppression of the emperors of Delhi during the last three hundred years. But as the emperor Akbar occupied the
throne of Delhi, there was a great sigh of relief and there was a new ray of hope among the people. Akbar was keen to know about various religions. Knowing their fundamental principles, he respected and honored all the religions. He tried to mitigate animosity between the Hindus and the Muslims. He made sincere efforts to temper religious fanaticism.

Once Akbar, the emperor, was standing in a balcony of his grand royal palace and had his eyes set on the highway when he saw a procession in which a shravika (a Jain laywoman) in a chariot was bowing to people all around and intermittently was making offerings to the people. She was preceded by a band and all the people in the procession sang

auspicious songs. Akbar was greatly surprised at the sight and asked the royal servants about the procession. Having inquired about it, the royal servants informed him that the shravika being a follower of the Jain religion, had undertaken fasts for six months and the Jain Sangh of Agra had organised that procession in honour of the prolonged penance of Champa, the name by which she was known.

Akbar was astonished at the fact that one could survive without food for as many as six months; since he knew too well as to how extremely difficult it was to observe ‘roja’ (a fast) for a month despite the permission for a meal at every night. The royal servants added to Akbar’s astonishment as they said that the shravika named Champa had never taken a meal either during the day or at night for six long months. Akbar thought it to be impossible, hence he decided to test its veracity. Champa shravika was invited to the court with utmost respect. Akbar told her that it was impossible that anybody could undertake such fasts. Champa shravika replied that the strength of religion would make everything possible. Akbar added that he would believe Champa shravika if she would undergo fast in the palace under the watch of his guards. Champa shravika agreed to the proposal. She stayed at the palace with full respect and honour and guards were posted outside the palace. On expiry of the time limit, Akbar wanted to know about her fasts and he was told that she had not taken any food either during the day or at night. Akbar’s surprise was genuine. He had banned killing of any living creature for the days for which Champa shravika had gone on fast. Akbar praised and complimented her. Champa shravika said politely that it was possible because of the impact of the religion, the gods and the guru. Akbar, the emperor, became interested and wanted to have detailed knowledge about the Jain religion. In all humbleness he requested Acharyashri Hirvijaysuriji to come to the palace for the purpose. After Bhagwan Mahavir, it was Champa shravika who had performed such a rare penance by undergoing six months’ fast. These fasts created great reverence in Akbar’s mind for the Jain religion, the Jain Acharyas and the Jain shravaks and shravikas. As a result he abolished the poll-tax levied on the Jain pilgrims. He acquainted himself with the significance of non-violence from Acharyashri Hirvijaysuriji - all this was the result of the most extraordinary penance of Champa shravika.

Chandarudracharya

In the evening time, some youths who had set out for fun and frolic, arrived at the upashraya (a place for Jain monks and nuns to stay) of Muni Chandarudracharya. Old and angry Shri Chandarudracharya was staying at the upashraya. These youths, out of mischief, wanted to play some joke on this elderly saint. One of the mischievous youths was to be married soon and his marriage was fixed. Pointing at this young boy, the other youths said in a jocular tone to the monk, “O monk ! Save this boy. The poor fellow is compelled to marry though he has the least desire to get married. You are merciful. If you be kind enough to him and grant him initiation, it shall end all his miseries and it shall be a

great obligation of yours.” Initially the elderly monk ignored the joke. But his silence provoked the youths further. They again requested the monk to redeem the youth from the worldly ties. True to his name, Shri Chandarudracharya was known for his extremely angry temperament. As a

result of excessive joking, the old monk lost his temper and addressed the about to-bemarried youth, “So you want to have initiation ? OK, I shall grant you that; only then would you realise what it is to live as an initiated.” The youth was still in a jocular mood. He said, “Yes, please grant me initiation. At any cost, I want to leave the worldly way of life and accept the path of penance.” Shri Chandarudracharya’s temper burst out. He caught hold of the youth and seizing his head he soon began to pluck his hair (loch). On seeing this, the other youths ran away; but that youth did not budge an inch. He said to Shri Chandarudracharya, “Muniraj, soon my relatives would arrive here. It would be better if we start on a journey (vihar) before they all arrive.” Due to his old-age, Chandarudracharya had already entrusted all the responsibilities of the gachchha (a chapter of monks) to a disciple. He had confined himself to selfattainment. How could such a Muni undertake a journey (vihar) ? The youth carried the old monk on his shoulders and started the journey. It was a very difficult and uneven path strewn with thorns all the way. Whenever the disciple’s foot would falter giving the old monk a jerk, the old Guru’s temper would soon burst out. The disciple’s feet were bruised with blisters and stained with blood. The Guru, (spiritual teacher) riding on his shoulder, scolded him constantly. Meanwhile the disciple’s feet faltered as a result of a deep pit on their way and the Guru too lost his balance. That was enough ! It was the undoing of the disciple. As the volcano of Guru’s anger erupted, he gave a heavy blow with his thick stick on the disciple’s head. The disciple was in an extremely difficult and pitiable condition; yet he thought it was his fault that the Guru had to undergo all such hardships and harassment. Consequent upon his deep repentence, disciple’s thinking was purified and soon he attained pure and absolute knowledge. The Guru said, “Previously you did not walk properly but now you walk so smoothly and steadily. How is that ? How do you find your way in such thick darkness ?” The disciple said, “That is the power of knowledge (kevalajyan).” As soon as he heard these utterances, the Guru jumped off the disciple’s shoulder. He apologised to the disciple who had now attained pure knowledge. Full of repentence as he was by now, the Guru too attained pure knowledge.

CHELANA RANI
It was Chelana Rani who inculcated noble sentiments and love for religion in Shrenik, the king of Magadh. Her life was one of ups and downs. King Shrenik had
heard that Chelana’s elder sister Sujyeshtha was very attractive and sent, through a messenger, his marriage proposal to king Chetak. Chetak declined the offer which hurt Shrenik’s pride. His minister Abhaykumar promised him that he would, through deception, manage to accomplish the impossible. Sujyeshtha, then, saw Shrenik’s picture and felt instant attraction for him. She was now eager to marry him. Abhaykumar called king Shrenik to the city of Vaishali and a plan was prepared to abduct Sujyeshtha.

Chelana was sad that she was going to lose her sister. Sujyeshtha suggested that she

should accompany her to Magadh. They were ready to depart when Sujyestha suddenly remembered that she had forgotten her ornament-box in the palace. She went into the palace and at that very moment king Shrenik arrived to abduct her. Chelana sat in the chariot and waited for Sujyeshtha for awhile for her to return. On seeing the king’s soldiers, king Shrenik drove away with Chelana. Sujyeshtha returned to find that king Shrenik had already left with Chelana. She, then, lost all interest in the worldly affairs and became a sadhvi. Chelan a married king Shrenik.

Shrenik built a palace, resting on one pillar for Chelana to perform religious rituals. She would make a garland of fragrant flowers plucked from the garden and offer it to the god. Once they both went for Mahavir’ s darshan and, while returning, saw a monk completely naked, performing penance in bitter cold. Both got off from the chariot and bowed to the monk. Both returned to the palace happy. In deep slumber at night, queen Chelana’s hand hung out of the quilt and became stiff due to severe cold. She felt terrible pain and remembered the monk performing penance in the cold. She muttered in sleep: “Oh! what would he be experiencing?” King Shrenik heard the words and thought the queen was referring to a person whom she had promised to meet. He suspected Chelan a’ s chastity. He could not sleep the whole night. In the morning he summoned his minister Abhaykumar and said : “Someone has committed an impious act and the palace be burnt with all inside it.” Then he set out for Mahavir’s darshan. Bhagwan was seated in Samavasarana. King Shrenik was uneasy, his mind plagued by suspicion. He went to Mahavir and said, “Tell me, O lord, whether my wife is chaste or not.” Bhagwan said, “Yes, she is.” Shrenik was stunned. He was now in a state of shock at the thought of Chelana having been reduced to ashes. He hurried to the palace and called Abhaykumar to know whether the palace was burnt down or not. Abhaykumar said, “I have set only the elephant house on fire and the antahpur (women’s portion of the palace), is still intact.” Shrenik heaved a sigh of relief and queen Chelana’s chastity was proved beyond a shadow of doubt. In the Jain traditional literature, the emphasis has been on spotless character. A woman’s character is often tested but she never loses courage and faces the challenge with equanimity. “ Chelana Rani was one such woman. Merely on a suspicion, king Shrenik wanted to kill her but her piety saved her. When she learnt the truth, she did not show any ill-will towards Shrenik. There was no trace of bitterness and she was willing to pardon one and all. Such was the greatness of Chelana Rani.

Devardhigani Kshamashraman
In A. D. 453 in the city of Vallabhi, under the leadership of Acharyadev Shrimad Devardhigani, three unprecedented religious tasks were undertaken which turned out to be landmarks in the history of Jain religion. These tasks were preservation of shrut jnan (scriptural knowledge), a more systematic compilation of the texts and conversion of those texts into written script. Owing to a famine some years ago many shrutdhar shramans (ascetic) had died and this had made the collection and compilation of the shrut jnan inevitable. At this time Vachanacharya Devardhigani Kshamashraman invited the shraman sangh in Vallabhi to consider the issue of preservation of the scriptures.

The task was daunting and in the beginning Devardhigani sat with shramans and listened to the texts of agam and he memorised them all and scripted them systemetically. There were two texts, Skandili and Nagarjuniya. Acharya Kalak-IV was represented by Nagarjuniya text, whereas Skandili text was represented by Acharya Shri Devardhigani. Both the agam (Jain canonical literature) texts had variations because Arya Skandil and Arya Nagarjun had never met. This type of variations in the two texts had created a situation leading to division of the Jain sangh itself. As a gesture of nobility, Devardhigani noted the Nagarjuniya text as a variation. In this task full co-operation was made available by Acharya Kalak. The prime urgency was about agamlekhan and reading of texts made the simultaneous writing of agam possible. As regards his life, numerous anecdotes are available. Devarshi was a Kshatriya of Kashyapa gotra (family lineage) and he was known by the two names of kshamashraman

and devavachak. Once Bhagwan Mahavir had told Saudharmendra in a holy assembly in Rajgruhi city, “Harinaigmeshi transferred me during my state of embryo from the womb of Devananda to the womb of Trishala and after 1000 years of my nirvan (emencipation) he would live again by the name of Devardhigani and he would be the final authority on the twelfth anga of Darshtivad (a title of twelfth anga work). When Devardhigani was in the state of embryo in the womb of his mother Kalavati, she saw the lord of Ruddhi and she named her son Devardhigani. In his youthful days, he was very fond of hunting. Many efforts were made to divert him from this sport. Once when he had gone for hunting, he was faced by a roaring lion and behind him he saw a deep ditch; moreover he was surrounded on either side by wild animals with elephant-like tusks. The earth under his feet seemed to move and it was raining heavily. Terror-struck Devardhi heard a voice, “You still have the time to realize your condition of helplessness, otherwise your death awaits you.” In a tone of utmost helplessness, he said, “Do whatever you can but kindly save me. I am ready to do whatever you want me to do.” The Lord saved him and sent him to Acharya Lohityasuri and having sincerely listened to the sermons of Lohityasuri, Devardhi became Muni. By acquiring the knowledge of one dashangi (a knower of ten anga works) and one purva (early canon) he became ‘acharya’, ‘ganacharya’ and ‘vachanacharya’. In A. D. 473 he passed away and with his death the tradition of ‘shrutjnan’(scriptural knowledge) came to an end.

DHARANASHAH

Sheth Dharanashah, of Nandiya in Rajasthan, had settled in Malgadh. His father was Kurpal and mother was Kamalde. The whole family was highly religious, devout, generous and charitable. Kumbha Rana was impressed by Dharanashah’s intellectual brilliance and had appointed him a minister. Dharanasha used to spend his wealth on charities. He built a few Jain temples and repaired the old ones. He had undertaken a

pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya Tirth and observed the vow of celibacy. Dharanashah had a strong desire to build a magnificent temple of Bhagwan Rishabhdev. It is said that goddess Chakreshwari once appeared in his dream and gave him a glimpse of nalinigulm, a heavenly aircraft. He, then, desired to build a temple in the shape of the aircraft nalinigulm, which he had seen in his dream. He met Acharya Somchandrasuriji and gave details of what he had seen in the dream. The problem was to find a sculptor who could carve out the temple in the shape of the aircraft nalinigulm.

About fifty sculptors were consulted and were supplied the details about the aircraft. They were asked to prepare a blueprint. Each prepared a blueprint but it did not satisfy Dharanashah. He was disappointed. Depa was a sculptor residing in Mundara, a small village. He lived a life of an ascetic and sculpture was not a means to earn livelihood for him. In his view it was sadhana, a form of worship. A highly contented man, Depa’s sculptures were matchless. Depa accepted the assignment for he knew Dharanashah to be a devout and charitable person. He prepared the blueprint from the details supplied by Dharanashah and Dharanashah was highly pleased by what he saw. Then began the construction of the temple. About 2500 workers toiled for fifty years but the work was not complete. In the meanwhile Dharanashah’s health deteriorated. Acharya Somsundersuri was also getting older and it was decided to perform the installation ceremony. It was accomplished in the presence of both Dharanashah and Acharya Somsundersuri. The Jain temple of Ranakpur in Rajasthan is known as dhar(lnvihar and also as trailokyadipak. The temple, supported on 1444 pillars, is situated between the river Meghai on the one side and the Aravalli mountains on the other. The four idols of Bhagwan Adishwar are installed in sanctum sanctorum. The pillars are so constructed and the temple so designed that one can have glimpse of the idol standing near any of the pillars. The erection of such a magnificent temple owes a great deal to the piety and devoutness of Dharanashah. Dharanashah’s desire was to build a summit of seven floors but realizing that his days were numbered, he constructed five floors only. The two floors which could not be constructed, are extant today in the form of two niches. In the entrance one finds an elephant and above it are the figures of Dharanashah and his wife and Ratnashah and his wife. They face the idol of the god and are shown performing chaityavandana(worship of Tirthankars). In the sanctum sanctorum of the temples is a small idol of Dharanashah. This idol must have been, it appears, installed later. The construction of this impressive temple shows that, if one wishes, money can be spent on noble deeds.

DHARMAGHOSHSURI
AryaShri Dharmaghoshsuriji’s life is full of miracles. When Virdhaval was very busy
with worldly life, some external cause inspired him to go for renunciation. Just at a moment when Virdhaval was getting married, he adopted white dress as a token of renunciation. With his brother Bhimdev, Virdhaval accepted initiation from Devendrasuriji . in A. D. 1246 in Vijapur in North Gujarat. Both of them were sons of Sheth Jinchandra. Pallival.

At the time of granting the status of a perceptor, there was kesarvrushti (showering of blessings from heaven), and the status of Acharya, given he came to be known as

Acharyashri Dharmaghoshsuri. On Shrisangh’s request Dharmaghoshsuri composed Samudrastotra. Once he recited it at the seashore in Saurashtra and a miracle took place. Suddenly a huge tide brought a huge heap of jewels ashore at the feet of Dharmaghoshsuri and then receded. At that time Kapardi yaksha (demigod) had become a nuisance. When he heard Dharmaghoshsuri’s sermon, the darkness of his ignorance disappeared and the light of understanding changed his course of life. Thus, Dharmaghoshsuri achieved victory over the wicked and the vicious. In his home town of Vijapur, some of the women had used some conjuration against him so as to destroy the impact of his religious discourse. But with the power of his

incantation, Acharyashri made those women motionless; only when those women confessed and apologized were they set free by the Acharyashri. One yogi in Ujjain was engaged in harassment. He was so envious of Jain monks that he would always block the entry of Jain monks in the city. If by chance any Jain monk happened to enter the city, the yogi would so harass him using some charm that the latter would have torun away from the city. Once when Acharya Dharmaghoshsuri arrived in Ujjain, the yogi invoked the fury of thousands of serpants, scorpions and ants in the upashraya at night. Suriji took an earthen pot covered with cloth and putting his hand over it, began to recite prayers. Soon the yogi felt burning pain of stings of a lakh of scorpions. He rushed to the upashraya and apologised to the Acharya. Acharya Dharmaghoshsuriji composed many volumes and established libraries as storehouses of knowledge. He imparted sermons to different castes like Brahmins, Maheshvari Vaishya and Kshatriyas and propagated non-violence amongst them and thereby made them the followers of the Jain religion. Acharyashri had a penetrating knowledge of grammar, and also had a mastery of the philosophical system of Nyay (logic). He could competently speak on Sutra-artha (meaning of canonical texts). His memory was extraordinary. He could memorise 500 shlokas within six seconds. All the rulers honoured Acharyashri as their ‘Gurudev’. Impressed by his preachings, Vigrahraj (Vishaldev), the king of Ajmer, became a follower of the Jain religion and he had banned animal killing in his state on the eleventh day (agiyaras) and some other specific days of the month. He was the guru of Pethadsha, a gem amongst the Jains.

DURGATANARI
Jain religion believes that even a small good deed can annihilate karma and pave the way for soul’s liberation. Any religious act, therefore, has to be selfless. Durgatanari was Mahavir’s contemporary and her life symbolize utter selfless devotion. She was extremely poor and eked out her living by collecting small logs in the forest and selling them. Once she learnt about the arrival of Bhagwan Mahavir in a park in Kakandipur city. All roads led to the park. Kings, emperors, gods and common people - all made their way to the park to listen to the discourse of Bhagwan Mahavir in Samavasarana (holy assembly of the Jina) ! A unique occasion. Everyone looked forward to it eagerly. Even Indra also eagerly await Samavasarana. Everybody contributed to the erection of Samavasarana. There were three forts with four gates. One fort was meant for the parking of vehicles of gods and goddesses; one reserved for birds and animals; and the third was meant for· gods and human beings to sit and listen to Mahavir’s discourse.

Mahavir would enter Samavasarana and begin his discourse and all present would listen with rapt attention. Durgatanari also had a strong desire to listen to the soothing voice of Mahavir. She was so poor that she did not have anything to offer to Mahavir. She was worried. She didn’t have enough money to buy even flowers for Bhagwan’s worship. She looked around and saw a wild plant with a flower on it - a plant which grew in barren land. She plucked the flower and made her way to Samavasarana. An old, emaciated woman! Her heart was filled with devotion and indescribable joy and was eager to have a glimpse of Mahavir. But destiny had willed it otherwise. Before she could reach the place, she collapsed and died. Her dream could not be realised. Bhagwan Mahavir alluded to Durgatanari’s intense devotion and said that though her dream could not be realised, her selfless devotion had ensured her a place in devlok (heaven). A god present there was Durgatanari in the previous birth and Mahavir pointed at him. He said, “This god, in his eighth birth, will be free from the cycle of birth and death and will attain moksha (liberation).” Durgatanari personified virtues like piety, selflessness, utter devotion and simplicity, and yet there was no trace of hypocrisy in her character. She was all humility and love! She neither craved for praise nor for any recognition. A person who does any noble deed without expecting any reward or recognition is the one dearer to god and that was precisely why Bhagwan Mahavir made a special reference to Durgatanari. What god expects of a devotee is sincere devotion and the desire to do a good turn to others without any expectation of rewards. Jain religion lays emphasis on selfless service and devotion. A worshipper may be : rich or poor, high or low in status; he is a true devotee or a worshipper only if his heart is ‘pure and full of devotion. That is why Jain religion recognizes no distinctions of caste and class. Karma is the determining factor, not your caste, status or economic condition. Durgatanari had all that the Jain religion advocates and she was an ideal devotee. She was poor but devout and her piety and devotion helped her to attain liberation.

GANGAMA
The tradition of nagarsheth (a respectable citizen of a city) is a glorious chapter of ] inshasan. Sheth Shantidas was a generous, highly religious nagarsheth. Harkunvar, Gangama, Mohiniba etc. were other names respected in society for their sterling qualities and they all belonged to the respectable family of Sheth Shantidas.

Gangaben, the wife of Sheth Dalpatbhai, was a highly religious lady. In A. D. 1865, Dalpatbhai had undertaken a pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya. Venerable Mulchandraji Maharaj was a member of the group of pilgrims. Vriddhichandraji Maharaj had arrived from Palitana. Gangama spent almost a fortune in the service of Sadhu-Sadhvi and Shravak-

Shravika.

She symbolised love, compassion and service. She was a true mother to one and allcaring and loving. She was compared to Anupamadevi who had built temples on Abu. In A. D. 1911, four Sanghs had undertaken, at her instance, a pilgrimage to Ahmedabad. Shri Ratnavijayji composed a work to commemorate this memorable event.

Once Gangama was absorbed listening to a discourse by Acharya Shri Nemisurishwaraji. He, in his inimitable style, exhorted people not to spare any effort to protect the pilgrim centres. His speech set Gangama thinking. At that time the British were building a guest house on the mountain of Sametshikhar for tourists and for those who visited the place for the purpose of hunting. Gangama disapproved of the idea. “Why this assault on the sacred land of tirthankars, munis and pious souls?” she wondered. She was determined to do something to prevent the sacred land from becoming profane, a land for merry making and drinking bouts. She began praying Bhagwan Parshwanath. She also remembered the illustrious line of her ancestors. Sheth Shantidas had fought the Aurangzeb, the religious fanatic, to protect the pilgrimcentres. Gangama adored ]inshasan and had profound attachment for the places of pilgrimage. A place of pilgrimage can inspire one to scale spiritual heights. Gangama was a truly devoted soul and her devot!6n to religion inspired her son to do something for the protection of centres of pilgrimage andthus for the protection of religion ·itself. When Gangama’s son Lalbhai brought meal for her, she placed bangles in the plate. Lalbhai was baffled. Gangama said, “Acharya Nemisurishwarji is worried about the protection of pilgrim centres. You are a nagarsheth, and you have not given even a thought to it. If you are to remain passive, then wear these bangles and give me your authority. I will fight and sacrifice my life.” These angry words of his mother inspired Lalbhai to do something. He launched a fight against the British government and prevented it from building the guest house on Sametshikhar. Gangama held Sadhu-Sadhvi in high esteem and would see to it that they observed the five mahavrata (vows) scrupulously. She would always set high standards of personal rectitude and piety - a staunch protector of religion as she was!

Haribhadrasuri

Acharya Shri Haribhadrasuriji, a great author with powerful personality, had written many books in Sanskrit and Prakrit. His varsatile scholarship, unmatched knowledge, acute critical faculty and mastery of language have earned for him a distinguished place in the history of Indian literature. The 1444 books deemed to have been written by him are regarded as the most valuable treasure of knowledge of the Jain religion. He was the first commentator of Agmik (Jain canonical literature) literature and through his books he

blazed a new trail in meditation. Uncommon and extraordinary was his life. He was the family priest of king Jitari of Chittor. Besides being an authority on Vedshastra (Vedas of Hindus) and Darshanshastra (Jain Philosophy), he possessed thorough knowledge in 14 faculties of studies. In his own times, there was nobody in the entire country to challenge and defeat him in debate and discussions. In Kali age he thought himself to be the only scholar with the perfect

knowledge of scriptures and in his great arrogance had taken a vow that if anyone defeated him he would become a disciple of that scholar. Once upon a time, while he was passing by Dharmagar in a palanquin, he happened to listen to a gatha (verse) being sung in a tranquil and melodious voice. Pandit Haribhatt made numerous efforts to interpret its meaning but he failed to understand it. He had mastered four Vedas, all the Upnishads and eighteen Purans as also all the branches of knowledge and yet he failed to make out the meaning of the verses. He felt small and his pride in being knowledgeable began to melt. In all humility, he went to the Sadhviji and requested her to interpret the ‘gatha’ for him. Sadhvi Mahattara Yakini requested him to come the next day in the presence of her Guru who would explain the meaning of the gatha. Accordingly, Acharya Jindattasuri arrived there the next day and offered an interpretation, whereupon Haribhatt became his disciple and in course of time Pandit Haribhatt came to be known as Acharya Haribhadrasuri. Since Sadhvi Yakini Mahattara had done an unusual obligation by way of exposing new horizons in the pursuit of knowledge, Haribhadrasuri regarded her as his mother. Now he disliked to be known by the epithet of Kalikalsarvagna (omniscient in the Kali age). As he acquired a deep understanding and knowledge of Jain scriptures, he called himself alpamati - a person having very little knowledge; he concluded every book that he wrote with an invariable expression of deep gratitude to Sadhvi Yakini Mahattara and introduced himself as Dharmaputra of Yakini Mahattara. Because of his hatred for the Jain religion Haribhatt used to say that it would be better to die by being crushed under the feet of a mad elephant than to seek shelter in a Jain Temple. Ironically enough the very Haribhatt had to seek a shelter in a Jain temple to save himself from a mad elephant. Having looked at the idol of Jina he had also joked saying ‘your body itself is an evidence of your having relished sweet dishes, because if hunger struck, a tree it would not be fresh and green for ever.’ But strange are the ways of Nature. In course of time, he himself came to realize the significance and greatness of the Jain religion and the Jain temple and subsequently he modified his thoughts and words. It is so said that he used to write books at night in the light of a gem given to him by Lallig Sheth. His life-time is supposed to be from A. D. 700 to 770.

Hemchandracharya

Kalikalsarvagna Hemchandracharya made extraordinary contribution for a long spell of seven decades to varied fields like poetry and grammar, history and puran, yoga and spiritual knowledge, lexicon and poetics, renunciation and penance, self-restraint and self-discipline and the state welfare and popular welfare. During the last 1000 years, there is no

other personality that can match his saintliness and literary output. This son of Chachdev and Pahini of Dhandhuka in Saurashtra, gave indications of his brilliance from his very early childhood. Acharya Shri Devchandrasuri, scholar of many scriptures and author of numerous books happened to have his stay in Dhandhuka. Pahini, the mother along with her 5 year old son Chang came there to offer their respects. At this time Shri Devchandrasuriji had gone to a temple for worship. Of his own accord Chang went up and occupied a seat. As Shri Devchandrasuri returned from the temple he saw this sight. Seeing his unperturbed facial expression and innate aptitude, Shri

Devchandrasuri told Pahini, “This son of yours shall become a prominent saint in future and shall devote himself to public welfare.” Devchandrasuri along with the prominent persons of the sangh, came to Pahini’s house. Pahini was extemely happy at this great fortune and handed over Chang, his son to the Guru. He was named Muni Somchandra. There is a legend about his being named Acharya Hemchandra. Dhanad Sheth, a prominent merchant of Patan, requested Somchandra Muni to come to his residence for alms (gochari). Dhanad Sheth managed to get Somchandra Muni seated on the heap of carbon-black gold coins and they acquired golden lustre. Thereupon Dhanad Sheth requested his Gurudev to name Somchandra Muni as Acharya Hemchandra. Hemchandra’s reputation had reached to the court of Siddharaj, the king of Gujarat. Siddharaj requested him to write a grammar superior to that of Bhoj. Within a year Hemchandracharya wrote an exhaustive volume of grammar entitled ‘Siddhahemchandrashabdanushasan’ containing one lakh and twenty-five thousand shlokas covering the grammar of Prakrit and Apabhramsha languages as well. A copy of this grammar was placed on an elephant and a procession was carried out through the city of Patan with great pomp. It was for the first time in Gujarat that ‘learning’ had been honoured on such a grand scale. Since then no scholar has written such a grammar in these 800 years. Briefly known as ‘Siddhhem’, the book of grammar was read in the court and besides India, the copies were sent to Nepal, Shree Lanka, Iran and such other far-off countries. Since then no scholar has written such a grammar in this 800 years. Siddharaj had no progeny and Hemchandracharya had made a profesy that, Kumarpal will succeed Siddharaj. But Siddaraj had great enmity against Kumarpal. Once Kumarpal went in cognito to see Hemchandracharya in Cambay (Khambhat) and as the soldiers arrived Hemchandracharya managed to hide him to save his life. In accordance with the desire of his Guru, he wrote numerous books; as many as 700 scribes used to prepare copies thereof which were sent throughout the country. After a very long life of 84 years, Hemchandracharya passed away in Patan in A. D. 1173. In his passing away, the world lost a great scholar.

Jindattasuri
Shri Jindattasuri is renowned as a great and leading acharya having profound impact on Jain religion. Since his early childhood his mother Vahaddevi used to take him to religious discourses and by listening to the most inspiring religious tales, he thought of renunciation. As a result, he expressed his desire to accept a monk’s way of life.

The auspicious marks on child’s body were indicative of bright future for him. Ultimately he was initiated by Upadhyay Dharmadev in A. D. 1085 and was named Muni Somchandra. Brilliant as he was, Muniraj studied the Jain theology deeply; he also acquired the knowledge of mantravidya and he proved his supremacy in religious

discourses and debates with the most learned scholars of his time. He was established as Acharya by Shri Devbhadracharya in Chitor in A. D. 1113 and was named Jindattasuri. His learning, scholarship, saintliness and nobility had a great impact on Jain religion for a long time. He formulated new rules and regulations. He created the khartargachchha sect. He abolished many malpractices prevailing all around and he inspired 500 shravaks and 700 shravikas for initiation. He travelled far and wide in Gujarat, Saurashtra, Mevad, Marvad and as far as Sindh and inspired about 5 lakh people to be followers of Jain religion.

His energy and self-discipline were profound. 64 yoginis, 52 viras and 5 other viras used to be in his constant attendance. One of the shravaks named Nagdev was curious to know as to which of the monks of his time had the most powerful impact. With a view to satisfying his curiosity, he worshipped goddess Ambika and having been pleased by his sincere devotion the Goddess inscribed some letters in his palm which would not be legible to an ordinary eye. The Goddess told him that one that would read those letters would be the yugprabhavak (a spiritual leader having great influence on the community in a particular age) the one he was looking for. Nagdev went to Jindattasuri and by applying vasakshepa (fragrant powder) Acharyashri could read those letters. This won many laurels for the Acharyashri and he was honoured as yugpradhan. So also with a view to consoling a Muslim teacher on the death of his son and providing some instruction, Acharyashri made the dead son alive by the power of his incantation. Greatly impressed by this feat, the members of the Muslim community became his followers. On another event in Ajmer, by the sheer force of his incantation, Acharyashri prevented sudden lightening during the course of pratikraman (penitential retreat); he covered the lightening with a wooden vessel and protected the entire gathering. He became famous by the title of dada, a word denoting highest respect. In Rajasthan Acharya Jindattasuri was known as kalpavriksha, a wish-yielding tree. In A. D. 1155 in Bikaner, Acharya Jindattasuri appointed Acharya Jinachandra as his successor. It was from this time that the tradition of applying the prefix ‘jin’ to the name of an Acharya started in Khartargachchha. Acharya Jindattasuri composed the best of his works in Prakrit and Apabramsha language of which the Prakrit book now available is entitled Gandhar sardha shatak containing hymns of 35 Acharyas. It includes 150 poetic compositions, historical data and material about the Gandhar (chief disciple). He also has other 11 titles to his credit.

JYESTHA

Jyestha, the wife of Bhagwan Mahavir’s loving brother Nandivardhan and the
daughter of king Cheda of Vaishali, was strikingly beautiful. She learnt her first lessons in the royal family itself and was an accomplished woman. Nandivardhan and Jyestha had a

deep faith in the family tradition of Shri Parshvanath. Jyestha’s beauty was the talk of the town. At the same time, she was a woman of spotless character. She was deeply influenced by Bhagwan Mahavir’.s religious discourses and had undertaken to observe twelve vrata (vows). Very steadfast in their observance, she would not succumb to any temptation. Once Indra praised the character of Jyestha. He said that it was difficult to make her deviate from her chosen path. One of the gods, not convinced, said, “A mortal is a timid being. Fear makes him / her seek refuge. Offer

wealth or riches and he/she can easily be subjugated. I can easily make her break vows she has decided to observe.” The god, arrogant that he was, abducted Jyestha and abandoned her in a forest. Then he disguised himself as a powerful and rich king and approached her with a big army comprising elephants and horses. He, then, said, “0 beautiful damsel, I am fascinated by your beauty. I want you to be my queen and roll in wealth.” Jyestha spurned the offer and refused to listen to what the king was saying. She said, “Even if the god from the heaven descends, I will not be tempted nor will I deviate from the path I have chosen. I am a devoted wife and will remain so~” The god said, “You are an obstinate woman. Consider my offer or else wild animals will kill you. I promise to protect you if you accept my offer.” But Jyestha refused to budge. Finally the god said, “If you do not come with me, I will take you away forcibly.” Jyestha responded by saying that in that case she would commit suicide. The god was convinced that she was a woman of sterling character and nothing can make her deviate from the path of righteousness. He, then, appeared before her as god and said, “Jyestha, you are a pious woman and I was trying to test you but you have passed the test. Accept this small gift of kundal (ear-rings).” Jyestha, then, was returned to Nandivardhan and was crowned mahasati - a truly great pious woman. Nandivardhan and Jyestha performed all the functions of a householder and also observed twelve vrata of shravak. It is also said that after listening to the discourses of Bhagwan Mahavir, she obtained Nandivardhan’s cnnsent and accepted diksha from Mahavir and became a nun. Jyestha’s life, thus, symbolises sterling character and supreme control and austerity. Spotless character is an invaluable ornament, not of the body, but of the soul. A person with a spotless character can only hope to develop mentally and spiritually. Possession of impeccable character can help one to strengthen body, mind and soul. It is difficult, if not impossible, to strive to keep character spotless, chaste. Its attainment involves qualities such as self-control, restraining desires and possessing abstemious habits in regard to food, drink and pleasure. A person with such a character and certain qualities can hope to attain spiritual heights. Jain religion has figures with such character and’ qualities which can hold candle to mortals like us. It is but natural thatmahasatis (women with piety and impeccable character) are remembered early in the morning and one such figure is Jyestha.

KABHAI BAROT

Sultan Mohmmad Begado, at that time, ruled Gujarat. He ascended the throne at the age of thirteen and began annexing one state after another to the state of Gujarat. He indulged in forced conversions of the defeated populace. Those who refused to convert to Islam were ruthlessly killed. He invaded Junagadh three times during A. D. 1467 to 1469 and defeated Ra’ Mandlik, the king of Junagadh and forced him to embrace Islam. During 1483-84, he invaded Pavagadh and defeated Jaysinh Raval, the ruler of Pavagadh. After Junagadh and Pavagadh, he set his eye on

Shatrunjaya Tirth. The victorious Begado was now arrogance incarnate. He had nursed an ambition to conquer Shatrunjaya Tirth and wanted to flatten it completely. He invaded it with a huge army and the carnage began. He had thought it would be a cakewalk for him and he would conquer Shatrunjaya and demolish the temples in a jiffy. Who would protect Shatrunjaya against the marauding army of Begado ? About a hundred Barots (name of a caste) risked their lives to protect Shatrunjaya Tirth and sacrificed their lives fighting the infidels.

Shri Shatrunjaya Tirth is rightly considered the chief among all the centres of pilgrimage. The first Tirthankar of Jain religion, Bhagwan Rushabhdev, had sent out the message of non violence to the world from here. Moreover, the mountain has been sanctified by twenty three Tirthankars. It is difficult to find anywhere in the world such beautifully-carved idols and temples in such a large number as are found here. The tirth (centre of pilgrimage) was not founded by anyone king, nor was it constructed with the help provided by any king or by hiring the labourers to work for it. It is a symbol of the religious sentiment of the people which resulted in its creation. And hence its importance. Such a unique place was threatened with external aggression and the very foundation of religion was challenged. Begado was leading the army marching towards Shatrunjaya. The one hundred Barots stood in the way, their hearts full of devotion with only one mission to protect Shatrunjaya from falling into Begado’s hands. Old, experienced Kabhai Barot came forward and shouted: “Do not move an inch. We will not allow you to conquer Shatrunjaya. It is not meant to be profaned with your swords. It’s a symbol of faith, sacrifice and values so dear to all Jains.” Mohmmad Begado laughed mockingly and said, “You are mere hundred and my army is vast how dare you challenge me ? You are all unarmed and have the cheek to challenge me? Don’t cross our path or else you will be crushed to death.” Kabhai was undeterred. He refused to budge an inch and said, “Sultan ! Retreat at once. If you fight, we will shed our blood and you will have to walk over hundred corpses.” The king Begado ordered his army to march. Suddenly Kabhai unsheathed his dagger and thrust it into his chest. His lifeless body fell on the ground. Everyone let out a painful cry. The other Barots too followed suit and each one sacrificed his life.

The sight of each dying was so gruesome that Mohmmad Begado was moved. The army stood motionless and everyone felt shocked and stunned. Then Begado came forward and said, “0 Barots! Today I stand defeated. My powerful army has been rendered powerless. Mohmmad Begado has seen valour on the battle field but never has he seen an act of sacrifice of such a magnitude.” Ashamed, he returned without conquering Shatrunjaya Tirth.

Kalakacharya

In the history of Jain religion Acharyashri Kalaksuri-II had a penetrating insight with regard to the religious scriptures. He had a revolutionary outlook and approach. One thing that strikes most in his life is his constant insistence on performance of duty. Without expecting any assistance from any quarters, he incessantly struggled to achieve

his goal. Acharyashri Kalaksuri was born to the king Virsinha of Dharavas. His mother’s name was Sursundari and sister’s name was Saraswati. True to her name, Saraswati was the treasure-house of learning and beauty par excellence. Both of them, the brother and the sister, loved each other immensely. Once they had gone for a horse-ride, during which they happened to listen to the religious discourse of Acharya Gunakar. As they listened to the sermons of the Acharya, both of them felt intense feelings of renunciation and with their parents’ consent both accepted initiation. After a long spell of time, Acharya-turned

Kalak Muni was on a visit to Ujjayini city. Sadhvi Saraswati, his sister of the preinitiation life, had come to Ujjayini to pay respect to her brother. Because of her unparalleled charm and beauty, the lustful king Gardabhilla of Ujjayini arranged to abduct Saraswati. Despite the cries of “O brother ! Please help me”, Saraswati was abducated. Subsequently Shreesangh (congregation), leading intelligentsia and neighbouring kings went to the king to persuade him but he paid heed to nobody. At last Acharya Kalak, the incarnation of strength and power, came out to oppose the king. He undertook the task singlehandedly. Acharya Kalak went out of the town and became avyaktalingi. He reached Iran via Punjab. Acharya Kalak marched from there with a massive army of ‘shaks’ together with 97 ‘shak’ chieftains. King Gardabhilla created many hurdles in their way but Acharya Kalak defeated all his manoeuvres. King Gardabhilla was very proud of his Gardabhi vidya (a form of black magic). With the power of this Gardabhi black magic he could make such a loud sound that all those that would hear it would die instantly. In the front row of the battlefield, Acharya Kalak positioned a troup of very accurate and unfailing marksmen. As soon as the mouth of Gardabhi opened, these marksmen filled his mouth with thousands of arrows with the result that no sound could come out and ultimately king Gardabhilla was defeated. Saraswati was freed from the palace and was restored to her previous status of Sadhvi (nun) with honour and dignity. Thus Acharya Kalak earned immortal fame in the history as a promotor of a superior religion saddharma. Shri Kalkacharya had a wide following of disciples but was not attached to them. Sometimes he felt that living together with impolite disciples might enhance the karmic bondage; consequently he used to make vihar alone. Such was his unique detachment. When he had been to Iran, he had impressed the kings there with the power of his knowledge and learning and had brought them to Saurashtra. The story of his life is full of many astonishing incidents. Because of his strong will-power and very impressive personality, he could initiate a change in the political situation. He was a serious thinker and a philosopher. For a purely spiritual attitude, he enumerated eight virtues to be essential; viz. nonviolence, truth, refusal to steal, celibacy, non-possession, abstaining from love and hatred, religious meditation and the purest meditation. Whenever one thinks of brotherly love or of justice, the revered name of Arya Kalak comes to mind.

KAMDEV SHRAVAK

In the ancient volumes of Dvadashangi (a group of twelve anga works) is the life story of Kamdev Shravak, a highly religious-minded and devoted soul. A resident of Champanagari, the affluent Kamdev spent fourteen years in the service of religion. Then he thought of renouncing everything and spending the rest of his life as an ascetic observing the twelve vows of a shravak (a jain layman). One morning he renounced the

world and sat in meditation. Once Saudharmendra, during the course of his address before the religious congregation, praised Kamdev for his deep involvement in matters religious. But a doubt was raised about his commitment to religion. “Will it waver in the face of fear, wealth or a beautiful damsel ?” asked a god. It was, therefore decided to test Kamdev’s commitment. With this intention in mind Saudharmendra then, assumed hideous form to frighten Kamdev.

He appeared before him and roared, “Give up your meditation, O Kamdev, or else this dagger will cut you into two. Forget your fake religion and be a householder again. Save yourself from an untimely death.” But Kamdev was unperturbed. When the god again tried to frighten him and threaten him with dire consequences, Kamdev said: “Don’t threaten me. I have the bulwark of my religion to protect me. You cannot harm me. I am as steadfast as a rock in my resolution.” The god was furious on being challenged and gave a resounding blow of the dagger but nothing happened to Kamdev. He was serenity incarnate, with no fear writ on the face. Then the god assumed the form of an elephant. He, then, said, O hypocrite! I will trample you under my feet and crush your bones to powder.” So saying the god pounced upon him but Kamdev was calm and composed. At last the god assumed the form of a poisonous, hooded serpent and entwined round Kamdev’s body. He said,” Take refuge at my feet and give up religion. Else I will bite you at thousand places and the lethal poison will spread through your body. You will die a miserable death.” But Kamdev was his usual self, unperturbed, calm. The serpent entwined itself round his body and began to bite him. The poison caused him intolerable pain, but he did not utter a word. He thought the pain was to the body, not to the soul. He was in deep meditation, thinking of Bhagwan Mahavir. Nothing happened to him. Who can harm the staunch devotee of Bhagwan Mahavir ? The god failed in frightening Kamdev and in setting him off course from the path he had chosen. The god finally conceded defeat, and realised his folly. He, then, bowed to Shravak Kamdev and said, “Forgive me. You are a staunch devotee of Bhagwan Mahavir. My pride has melted. You are like a sandalwood tree spreading its fragrance everywhere and bestowing coolness on one and all. I accept you as my Acharya, my Guru.” Thus saying, he again bowed to Kamdev and left for his heavenly abode. Kamdev, then, went to see Bhagwan Mahavir. Bhagwan, in the presence of his disciples, praised the steadfastness of Kamdev. He told them, “A shravak suffers so much. What about you, then? You are all out to conquer the vices that beset the mankind and a lot is expected of you.” The disciples got the message and were all praise for Kamdev’s devotion. Kamdev, at last, became a realised soul.

Kapil Kevali
Jain philosophy very specifically mentions that human desires are as infinite as the sky itself. Muni Shri Kapil Kevali’s life is one such rare instance of unique divine light that dawns on a person who abandons worldly life full of infinite desires.

Kapil, son of the state minister Kashyap of Kaushambi city, was brought up in indulgence and had therefore remained totally unlettered. On seeing the palanquin of the learned state minister, who had replaced Kapil’s father Kashyap, tears rolled down Shridevi’s eyes. She exclaimed : “Alas, her son Kapil was unlettered !” Mother’s tears inspired Kapil to go for studies. He went to Shravasti for studies but there he fell in love with the maid-servant of Shalibhadra. Abandoning studies, he got busy with the problem of livelihood as he had got married. As the time of his wife’s delivery approached, the monetary stress became all the more acute. The king of the city used to give two masa (a unit of weight) of gold to a person who came to him first in the morning to give him blessings. Thus with a view to reaching the palace first early in the morning Kapil left his house by midnight, but suspecting him to

be a thief, the town-police arrested him. The other day Kapil narrated his experience in the court and the king said, “You may ask whatever you want, I shall surely grant it.” This was an unexpected surprise, as if an ocean was offered to him when he had asked for a few drops. Kapil therefore decided to reveal his mind the next morning, after careful consideration of the issue. Sitting on a stone-seat in Ashokvatika Kapil thought 100 goldcoins would be better than two masa gold-coins. That led him to demand one crore goldcoins. Meanwhile a worn out leaf fell from the tree and that led him to think that whereas his actual need was that of two masa of gold, he had desired to have one crore gold-coins. One who goes begging loses all considerations of propriety. Desires are unending, have has no limits ! A worn out leaf provided Kapil a very striking reminder of the transient nature of life and world. How ungrateful he was ! Driven by strong inducement he was about to deprive the very king of his kingdom who had wished to give him something ! He felt that even a thousand gold-coins were of no use to him. Actually he needed two masa of gold. Reflecting still furhter he thought, “What would I do even with two masa of gold ? I should be content with what I have. In contentment lies the real happiness. Greed has a slippery way and yet mind is tempted to go that way.” Insatiety is what the mind inhales and it exhales dissatisfaction. At the time when Kapil was deeply engrossed in such thoughts, he had the realisation of jatismaran-gyan. (memory of past birth) Attired as a Monk, Kapil had gone to the king who offered Kapil numerous and varied temptations but despite all the offers he succeeded in remaining as firm as the Meru mountain. Once while Muni Kapil was on his way to Chorpalli in the vicinity of Shravasti city, Balbhadra-chieftain of the robbers-asked him to sing a song. Kapil Muni sang the stories of the eighth adhyay (chapter) of Shri Uttaradhyan Sutra in such a touching tone and appealing tune of drupad rag that it cleansed the wickedness of all the 500 thieves and they all became averse to worldly desires and pleasures. They underwent initiation under the guidance of Kapil Kevali. This Muniraj Kapil Kevali attained nirvan (emancipation). It is said that the famous Bhadreshvar tirtha in Kutch (Gujarat state) was founded at the hands of such a great Kapil Muni.

KARMA SHAH
Tolashah of Chittod had immense agony. The glory and sanctity of the Shri Shatrunjaya
Tirth that he used to worship everyday in the morning was being defiled at the hands of the foreigners. The moment Tolashah came to know that Ahmmad Sikandar, son of Mohmmad Begado had damaged and destroyed’ derasar’ and other idols of Shatrunjaya Tirth, he became restless. His deep religious faith prompted him eagerly to remove such severe impurity in the great pilgrim-place.

Tolashah’s sixth and the youngest son Karmashah was a witness to his father’s agony and he also began to contemplate as to when would he be able to undertake renovation of the place of pilgrimage and restore its holy sanctity. And it so happened that Acharya Ratnasinhsuri told Tolashah to forget his agony about the Shatrunjaya Tirth because his son was to fulfill that task. At that time Upadhyay Vinaymandan was frequently giving sermons to Karmashah about the Shatrunjaya Tirth. In the meantime, Acharya Shri Vijaydansuriji arrived at Chittod and he also inspired Karmashah for this great task. In 1583, Bahadursha was made the Sultan of Gujarat. Prior to becoming the emperor of Gujarat, Bahadursha had enjoyed Tolashah’s hospitality. On having a small quarrel with his father, Prince Bahadursha had come and stayed with Tolasha for some days and this had resulted in close friendship between Bahadursha and Karmashah. While going to

Gujarat from Chittod, he asked for some money to meet the expenses on way and Karmashah gave him rupees one lakh unconditionally. As Karmashah came to know about Bahadursha’s installation as the Sultan of Gujarat, he came to Ahmedabad to pay a courtesy call. The Sultan welcomed him with great respect and repaid Rupees one lakh that he had borrowed from him. Moreover he inquired if there was anything that he could do for him; since he was greatly obliged of Karmashah. Karmashah told that it was his strong desire to install an idol of his Lord at the Shri Shatrunjaya Tirth, in that connection he requested for the royal permission. The Sultan issued an order to that effect. From Ahmedabad Karmashah left for Cambay (Khambhat) and informed Upadhyay Shri Vinaymandanji about the incident and requested him to come to the Shatrunjaya Tirth. Karmashah led the shreesangh to Palitana. Khan Mazadkhan, the suba (governor ofa province) of Sorath was unwilling that glory of Shri Shatrunjaya Tirth should be re-established but his displeasure did not prevail against the order of the Sultan. Upadhyay Vinaymandanji came to Palitana together with an assemblage of monks and nuns. The work of renovation of the originaljinprasad (Jain temple) was carried out; simultaneously the mammani stone that was retained by chief minister Vastupal was dug out and an idol of Tirthankar Bhagwan Rushabhdev was carved out of that special stone. Karmashah alongwith chha’Ri sangh (a congregation on pilgrimage practising six special vows) came to Palitana. A grand function was organised for the anjanshalaka (idol installation ceremony) of the jin pratima which was deformed by Ahmmad Sikandar in past. This was replaced by the installation of the new idol of Bhagwan Rushabhadev. This was the sixteenth grand renovation function of Shri Shatrunjaya Tirth. It was attended by about 10 acharyas including Acharya Somajaya.

KHEMO DEDRANI

The Jain community has always rendered help to one and all in limes of crises,
especially in times of famines when the population suffered from acute scarcity of food grains and women and children died of hunger. The stories of the relief operations undertaken by the Jains have been written in letters of gold. All their wealth and riches are spent to alleviate the suffering of the people and are second to none in providing support to the needy and those in dire state. The poor and the needy would have a free access to their graneries and godowns and therefore the title Shah has been appended to

their names. The shahs (philanthropic Jains) would render all possible help during difficult times when even the Emperors would feel helpless. The bards used to say that the tag’ shah’ is put before the name of the Jain, while in the case of the emperor (badshah) it comes at the end. Thus they are superior even to the emperor.

The emperor of Gujarat was Mohmmad Begado. He called a member of the Jain community from Champaner and said, “There is famine in Gujarat and people are dying. All the graneries in the state are empty. I want your shahs to provide foodgrains to the people for one year. If they fail to do so the title shah will be withdrawn and you shall be beheaded.” The bhojak of Champaner collected the members of the business community and reported to them what the emperor had said. They all agreed to provide grains and clothes for one year to the people of Gujarat. They approached the shahs in towns and cities and started collecting money. They could collect sufficient amount to last for about 190 days. Now they had to plan for the remaining period. Hadala is a small village on way to Dhandhuka. Khemo Dedrani was an ordinary villager. He was on his way to the well with his buffalo. He bowed to the members of the mahajan (the business community). One of them said, “Do you want anything?” Khemo said that he did not want anything but he wanted them to come to his house to enjoy his hospitality. His wife prepared sumptuous meal and they all had good time at his place. Khemo came to know about their mission. After obtaining his father’s consent, he said, “Why not give me an opportunity to show that I care for the suffering people? I will meet the entire expenditure of one year.” All those present were stunned. They thought, “How can an ordinary man have the money to meet the expenses for one full year ?” To their surprise they discovered that the ordinary looking Khemo was fabulously rich and he could feed people not for one year but for twelve years.
Mahajan, accompained by Khemo, came to the emperor’s court and informed him about

the offer. The emperor was also wonderstruck. After sometime bullock carts loaded with bags of grains, began to reach the emperor’s godowns. The grains were distributed to the starving people and Gujarat could face the crisis posed by the famine, thanks to the philanthropy of Khemo Dedrani. The emperor was pleased and the title shah was permanently affixed to the Jains. When the Emperor praised Khemo Dedrani, Khemo only said, “I did my duty and the Jinshasan (Jain order) has triumphed.”

KOSHA

Kosha, the court dancer of Patliputra, was alluringly lovely and highly accomplished in fine arts. The elder son of mahamatya Shaktal was Sthulbhadra. He lived with courtesan Kosha in her house. She loved him passionately. After the death of his father, as a result of a conspiracy, he abdicated the title mahamatya and decided to renounce the world. The initiation (diksha) took place in the presence of Acharya Sambhutvijayji. He was, then, asked to stay at one place, undertake penance and observe austerities, alongwith three

other monks. The three monks decided to spent four months respectively in a lion’s den, in the anthill of a snake and near a well surrounded by women coming to fetch water. Sthulbhadra asked for Acharya Sambhutvijayji’s consent to stay in Kosha’s dancing hall whose walls were covered with attractive pictures inflaming passions. The consent was granted. The idea behind this arrangement was to test the self-control of each - the three monks and Sthulbhadra.

Kosha’s joy knew no bounds when she learnt that Sthulbhadra was to spend four months in her luxurious palace. She was all agog to receive her pa’ramour and the past memories began to crowd her mind. She, then, cooked delicious food and offered it to him. She would dance gracefully and play on the veena (lute) and the whole palace would reverberate but Sthulbhadra was immune to what was happening around him. He was deep in meditation, his heart full of devotion and Kosha’s beauty held no attraction for him. Kosha realised her folly and asked for his forgiveness. Muni Sthulbhadra discoursed on the inner beauty of the soul which, he said, was far superior to the physical one. He also explained to her how worship would make her experience inner happiness which no luxuries could offer. Kosha, then, became a shravika. Acharya Sambhutvijayji was highly pleased and said, “You have attained the impossible !” The three other monks spent four months in different places in difficult conditions. On hearing their tale of how they survived the ordeal, Acharya said’ difficult’ but he had uttered the word ‘difficult’ three times on listening to Sthulbhadra’s tale. What it meant was that what he had accomplished was far more difficult than what the three monks had faced and accomplished. The monks were naturally not pleased and said, “What Sthulbhadra had accomplished was very easy.” So saying one of them went to see Kosha. Kosha fed him delicious food and dressed herself so attractively that the monk fell for her. She, then, asked him to go to Nepal and bring for her the expensive blanket studded with jewels. The monk went to Nepal and borrowed from the king of Nepal the blanket and gave it to Kosha. Kosha wiped her feet with it and threw it into a puddle of dirty water. The monk was naturally angry as he had borrowed the blanket from the king of Nepal. Kosha said, “O Muni ! you are worried to see your blanket being s~llied but you are not worried at the fact that you have sullied your character.” Listening to these words of Kosha, the monk realised his folly and returned to the Acharya. He praised the efforts of Sthulbhadra to triumph over the temptations posed by Kosha. Rathakar (charioteer and political advisor) of King Nand showed his skill and managed to bring a bunch of mangoes to where he and Kosha were sitting. Kosha then showed her skill by dancing on a lotus placed on a needle tip. Quite a rich literature, in the form of stories, novels etc., about the lives of Kosha and Sthulbhadra, exists in Jain folklore.

Kshullak Muni

Kshullakkumar had listened to the preachings of his mother and other monks for years together but the concepts of restraint, renunciation or detachment did not appeal or move him at all. His mother had granted him initiation at a very early age of eight but because of

long-standing delusion of mind, his lustful desires did not vanish. In accordance with the promise given to his mother, he had listened to the inspiring sermons of Jineshwar Prabhu (venerable Jina) from her but that too could not move him. After listening to his mother thus for long twelve years when Kshullakkumar bid farewell to his mother she insisted that he should also see the Guru before leaving. The Guru, instead of giving him permission to leave, preached him for twelve more years. Thereafter Upadhyay (spiritual leader) and Gachchhadhipati (a leader of a group of monks) also gave him sermons for twelve years each. But all were in vain.

After forty eight years of initiation when he finally left his mother, she gave him the ratnakambal (shawl studded with diamonds) and a ring from her previous worldly life. Shri Kshullak Muni found it difficult to go from house to house for alms. He stopped the practice of going for alms. He thought that as a result of sleeping on a grass-bed on the ground, his joints were severly aching. He told his guru that it would be better to have a cot. Similarly, he asked permission for having a bath with hot water. In the course of time, he could not bear the loch ceremony of removing hair, so he secured permission from the guru for shaving with a razor. A monk’s way of life proved to be an ordeal for Kshullak Muni; his penance and renunciation were too hard for him to follow for ascetic way of a monk’s life calls for severe penance. It became impossible for Shri Kshullak Muni to abide by the monk’s way of life and finally Kshullakkumar renounced all the formalities of life of restraint and reached the court of Saketpur by evening. When he reached there, he found the court reverberating to the steps of the dancers. It was an unusual sight for him and was spellbound. Diamond-studded shining throne, lovely paintings on the wall, and dazzling light of the golden lamps - amidst this unusual atmosphere there were the sounds of loud appreciation by the lustful spectators. Kshullak got lost in this atmosphere of worldly joy and excitement. When it was dawn, the dancer’s feet began to falter because of fatigue; soon her mother, Akka, warned her conveying the message in musical tune in the words- “Much of the night is gone and very little time remains. Do not be lethargic any more.” No sooner did Kshullakkumar hear these words his conscience awakened. He had an inspiring message in those words. He gifted the ratnakambal to the dancer. Kshullakkumar began to ponder : “So many of my years have passed and now it is not desirable to be lethargic for the remaining life”. What numerous sermons and preachings of the spiritual teacher could not achieve, a single utterance of Akka could. It succeded in awakening his sense of penance and restraint. Kshullak showed his mother’s signet-ring to king Pundarik and said, “The name on this signet-ring would tell you that I am the son of your younger brother Kundarik.” The king, on recognising the ring, wanted to hand over his kingdom to Kshullakkumar but he refused it. Finally the king and all others accepted initiation under Kshullakkumar and at last they all attained the bliss.

KUNDALIO SHRAVAK

Kundaliyo Shravak was a merchant by profession selling ghee (purified butter) but he was a deep scholar of religious philosophy. Once he had gone to the town for sellingghee; meanwhile he saw that Acharyasuri Ratnakarsuriji, seated in a palanquin, was going towards the royal palace. Alongwith the palanquin, numerous scholars were walking on foot and many armed soldiers were walking ahead and they were followed by the royal

servants. Kundaliyo Shravak got engrossed in thought at this sight. He was well aware that Acharya Ratnakarsuriji was a versatile scholar of religious philosophy, logic, grammar, literature, prosody and many other branches of knowledge. No scholar would introduce himself as scholar before him because they knew full well that as compared to the versatile scholarship of Acharyashri their scholarship was quite negligible. Shri Ratnakarsuriji had the unusual ability of providing many consistent interpretations of a

single pad (a form of poem), since he possessed profound intellect and mastery of many sciences. Because of this ability, the king himself had honoured him with the title of ‘Anekarthvadi’ (one capable of interpreting given sentence in several ways). As a token of their respect and honour for him, the king as well as the people had requested him to come to the royal court in a palanquin rather than by walking. Ultimately this led to a slow but regular laxity in his characteristic qualities. One error leads to a thousand. In course of time Acharyashuri began to relish the tastiest and sweetest food meant for the king and the chieftains and he also began to use their costliest clothes and in course of time he was accustomed to accepting pearls and rubies by way of gifts. Kundaliyo Shravak was surprised to see that the Acharya having so great an impact on Jain religion should sit and move in a palanquin and accept valuable gifts and put on costly dress. He wondered if this was fair for a monk committed to a vow of nonpossession! But Kundaliyo Shravak bowed to him and paid his respects. The other day he went to attend the lecture of Ratnakarsuriji and at the conclusion of the lecture, he quoted a gatha (verse) from Updeshmala and requested the Acharyashri to tell its meaning. It meant that money is regarded as the root cause of all evils and it has been renounced by all past sages. If some Acharya keeps with him such evil-causing money and riches, it is needless and useless for him to undergo renunciation and penance.
Anekarthvadi Acharyashri, with scholarly wisdom, provided various meanings other than

the standard one. Kundaliyo Shravak said politely, /I Acharyashri ! You have provided wonderful meanings of the’ gatha’ but I request you kindly to oblige me by providing its original and essential meaning.” So saying Kundaliyo bowed down and went out to sell his ghee. He returned the other day. Acharyashri offered almost a new definition and when Kundaliyo went to him the third day he offered a totally new meaning which was never heard before. Thus six months passed in interpreting the gatha. Kundaliyo came after six months and said, “ Acharyashri ! All the money that I had earned by the sale of ghee is exhausted to-day. I shall have to return to my village for some urgent work. I repent only one thing that I have not been able to grasp the original meaning of the gatha.” Next day, Acharyashri explained to him the original and correct meaning of the gatha, and Kundaliyo Shravak went home very delighted. It was a moment of awakening for the Acharya and he recited a prayer at Shatrunjaya Tirtha which came to be known as Ratnakar Pachhisi..

Kurgadu Muni
Kurgadu Muni’s name is associated with the humane quality of forbearance. Kur means cooked rice and gadua means a kind of vessel. It means that Munishri Kurgadu required a large vesselful of cooked rice in the morning and only then would he feel fit. This habit of his rice eating in the morning had become an object of mockery among other monks. But he could not go hungry, he had to eat a large quantity of food. Because of his excessive eating, some monks called him a glutton.

Four of these sadhus of his gachchha were mahatapasvi (great practioner of austerity). One of these monks observed fast for one month, the second one for two months, the third one for three months and the fourth one for four months. Ignoring the jocular remarks of these sadhus, Muni Kurgadu continued performing all his personal attendance to them. He never envied the severe penance of other monks; on the contrary he always supported and praised them for their penance. As he was aware of his own limitations, he used to be ever-willing and ever-ready to perform such selfless service to all the monks that were engaged in penance. He had formed the habit to use all such slander and censure as a method of self-analysis and selfintrospection. Thus, his way of life was that of constant forbearance.

Once on the occasion of samavatsari (annual ceremony of public confession) Kurgadu Muni returned after collecting the alms (gochari). He put his alms before the monks and politely requested them to have something from the alms if they so desired. As the monks heard his words, they got furious and scolded him hard for eating even on a religious day and offering them the food so shamelessly on such a day of parva. In their view this was shocking and scornful. The furious sadhus spat on his food. However, Kurgadu Muni was not enraged; on the contrary he was embarrassed and puzzled. His sincere request for service had become a cause of anger. His mind was agitated and he thought, “Oh ! What an idleness of mind on my part ! A sadhu is supposed never to be idle for a second whereas I am not able to perform even a single minor penance. It is indeed shameful for me that I am unable to perform the penance on a day of parvas. I deserve to be hated !” His thoughts continued, “Instead of serving these four monks, I have been instrumental in enraging them. Indeed as a muni, I have committed many blunders of serious consequences. How shameful !” And, thus, Kurgadu Muni began to repent. Sincere repentence becomes instrumental in revealing the truth; so Kurgadu Muni realized what was wrong with him and he could understand his own weakness and sadhu maharajs nobility. For the Muniraj this proved to be an occasion for self-probing and self-reproach. In this mood of self-censure and gloom, Kurgadu Muni was lost in purest meditation and ultimately attained absolute knowledge. This occasion of his attaining absolute knowledge proved to be a festival for divine celebration. It is said very truly that only a large-hearted and noble person can forget, forgive and suffer.

LACCHIDEVI

Bhakti (devotion) is something which is more valuable than any other possession one will like to have. The five kartavya (commandments) of Paryushan and the annual eleven kartavya of a shravak also emphasise the importance of bhakti. Lacchidevi is a shining

example of devotion to religion. Lacchi Chhipan (Laxmi Bhavsar), wife of Tribhuvansinh of Karnavati, was on her way to the temple, attended by her retinue of servants. Outside the beautiful jinalaya, with a carved turret, on the bank of the Sabarmati, sat Udaji of Marwad for darshan of the deity. While coming out of the shrine, she saw Udaji, in tattered, dirty clothes, sitting on the steps. Lacchi, in a soft, affectionate tone asked : “You look like a stranger to Karnavati. Whose guest are you ?”

Udaji was touched by her sweet words. He said, “I have come to this place for the first time. I do not know anybody here except you for you are kind enough to talk to me. I am, therefore, your guest.” Lacchi said, “Welcome to my house. I am fortunate to have a guest like you. You are welcome with your family.” Udaji went to Lacchi’s house with his wife Suhadevi and two sons, Chahad and Bahad. They were all treated well and offered sumptuous food. Udaji, then, asked, “Why do you spow such affection and love to me ?” Lacchi replied, “You are a co-religionist and it is the sacred duty of a Jain to love a coreligionist.” Lacchi gave a house to Uda and his family to live in. She would go out of her way to help people. It was her innate goodness and nobility which shone through her acts of charity and generosity. Uda became very happy now that he had a house to live in. He set up a small shop and started selling ghee. He was very honest in his dealings and sold pure, unadulterated ghee. He would listen to his customers’ complaints and would behave courteously with them. He became a popular man and came to be known as Uda Gheewala. One day Udaji was digging up land to construct a new house when he found pots of gold. He went to Lacchi and said, “These are yours. I bought your house but the land is yours.” Lacchi replied, “Since the house is yours, the land also now belongs to you. These pots are, therefore, yours.” Udo was adamant and refused even to touch the pots. The matter was referred to king Karnadev. Queen Minaldevi wanted the wealth equally divided between Udaji and Lacchi but that also was not acceptable to both. What was the way out, then? The king rejected the proposal of depositing the money in the court’s coffers. At last Udaji said, “Let’s offer it to god.” Everyone agreed and a temple was constructed. It was called Udayan Vihar. It is said that good and noble sentiments bloom in the hearts of people only if there is right enviornment. However we do have exceptions. A person must be judged by his thoughts and deeds and not by his family. A person with evil thoughts inhabiting sacred enviorns has to be judged as ola lower species. Bakuladevi was a woman to be judged by her deeds, by her thoughts and her noble character and history indeed has judged her as such. Udaji became nagarsheth, then a minister to king Siddharaj and lastly chief of the city of Cambay but remained beholden to Lacchi till the end of his life.

LAKSHMIPATI

There lived, in the city of Dhara in Malwa, a rich Shravak Lakshmipati. He was a successful businessman. A highly religious person, Lakshmipati was a philanthropist and whosoever came to his house, would not return empty-handed. Once Shridhar and Shripati, sons of a pandit (scholar) Krishnagupta of Benaras, happened to be in Dhara. The two were highly intelligent and well-versed in all branches of knowledge. They had a retentive memory and had studied all the Vedas (the oldest sacred books of the Hindus). They had set out on a pilgrimage. When they came to the house of Lakshmipati, he

warmly welcomed them and offered alms. During their stay in the city Shridhar and Shripati often visited Lakshmipati’s house for alms. Lakshmipati did not maintain accounts books. The walls of his palace were literally his accounts books for all the accounts were written out on these walls. Shridhar and Shripati happened to read the accounts during their visits, and with their retentive memory, remembered all facts and figures. Once a big fire broke out in Lakshmipati’s house and his furniture and all his

belongings were reduced to ashes. The walls had turned black and now it was difficult to read the accounts written on them. Poor Lakshmipati had become a pauper overnight and he did not know what to do. He did not know as to how much did the people owed to him. He sat helplessly cursing his fate, when the two brothers came for alms. They saw the house reduced to ashes in an instant and the enormous loss suffered by Lakshmipati. The brothers told him that they could tell him every detail of the accounts they had read on the walls. Since their memory was sharp, they had remembered each and every detail. A smile flickered on Lakshmipati’s face and he began writing the accounts as dictated by the two brothers from their memory. His gloom disappeared and he thanked the two brothers. Lakshmipati thought how much benefit would accrue to his religion if such knowledgeable persons embraced Jainism and became monks to propagate the message of Jain religion. He took them to Acharya Vardhamansuriji. Acharya Vardhmansuriji explained the significance of Jain religion. It is a way of life that enlightens the lives of the people. Religion is a matter of heart and not of what lies outside one’ sown being. Acharya Vardhamansuriji said, “How many reals (tattvas-regarded as objects of faith for a Jaina) are there in the world? There are two fundamental reals - the sentient and the insentient. There is no third fundamenta~ real besides these two. They exhaust the entire universe. They are known by the common term’ substance’ . From the spiritual standpoint seven more reals are derived from these two, thus making the total of nine reals (nav tattvas). Liberation being the ultimate goal to be achieved by living beings, those things whose understanding is absolutely necessary for the attainment of liberation are here considered to be reals. So the Jain thinkers have exhaustively explained these nine reals. The Acharya’s scholarship and detachment touched the two brothers and they became his disciples. They studied the scriptures and with the passage of time they came to be known as Acharya Jineshwarsuriji and Acharya Buddhisagarsuriji. The life of Laxmipati reflects his devotion to ]ainshasan Gain order). He was instrumental in the making of many a great Acharya and his service to the cause of religion is legendary. He firmly believed that any help for a religious cause would lead one to the path of wellbeing. Devotion to religion, therefore, must spring eternally in human heart. Religion is a way of life and it should be woven inextricably into one’s life.

LAXMI
The history of Rajput era in Rajasthan is replete with the outstanding works of Jains. The rulers and kings of the age held the Jain munis, Yatis and scholars in high esteem. Jains. The businessmen excelled in their chosen field and Jains were preferred for the responsible posts such as ministers, treasurers, godown-keepers, dewan etc., for their

honesty and loyalty. Similarly, Jains also occupied top positions in the army as commanders, officers etc .

Bhamasha is known in the glorious history of Rajasthan, as the maker of Mewar. His father Bharmal was the friend of Rana Sang, a war-veteran. He was durgpal (Administrator) of Ranthambhore and also of another State. In 1567Chittod was captured by Akbar. Rana Sang and Bharmal founded the city of Udaipur and made it a capital city.Tarachand, another son of Bharmal, was a ruler and an army commander. Rana Udaisinh had made him the ruler of Gaudvad province. Bhamasha, thus, had a brave father and an intelligent brother and was a minister in the state.

Rana Pratap was defeated in a battle in Haladighati but he refused to surrender and . resolved to fight. He was chased by the Mughal Army. Once he saw his young daughter crying for milk and he felt very sad at the sight. He decided to leave Mewar and settle somewhere else. Bhamasha, a staunch supporter of Rana Pratap and a patriot to the core, learnt about his decision and was very much saddened. He persuaded Rana Pratap not to leave Mewar and to continue to fight to regain freedom from the Mughals. Rana said, “How do you want me to fight for? I have neither soldiers nor money. How do I put up a fight against Akbar so severely handicapped that I am?” Bhamasha said “I offer you my entire wealth. You will be able to wage a battle for longtime.” Bhamasha went home and told his wife Laxmi about his determination to fight for the motherland’s independence. Laxmi too was a patriot and was ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of motherland. She gave the bunch of keys to Bhamasha and said, “Whatever wealth that we have, belongs to Ranaji and tell him that we do not want even a penny to be repaid.” Bhamasha was wonder stuck. Laxmi continued, “See, we pay unto him what we have gained from the motherland. We are the children of Mewar and our wealth and riches, in fact, belong to her. They must be used for her protection and it is our duty to use the money and wealth for that purpose.” These words of Laxmi inspired Bhamasha and paid tribute to her sense of sacrifice, her patriotic fervour and love for the motherland. He thought, “Here’s a woman who is so self-sacrificing that she has no desire to keep even a part of the wealth for the old age or for any emergency that may arise. “How noble!” Bhamasha, then, went to Rana Pratap and lay at his feet everything that he had with which he could fight for twelve years with an army of twenty-five thousand soldiers. Rana Pratap, touched by Bhamasha’s gesture, resolved to fight. According to available historical evidence Bhamasha had not only offered money but had fought against Akbar along with Rana Pratap and had showed great courage on the battlefield. He and Laxmi valued freedom and were prepared to make all sacrifices to protect it. The pages of history are filled with incidents showing Bhamasha’s philanthropy but the inspiring force behind him was his wife Laxmi and her willingness to make supreme sacrifices. What a unique specimen of ideal conjugal relationship!

MAHAMANTRI ABHAYKUMAR
The message of Bhagwan Mahavir had spread far and wide and the impact was felt by the common people as well as the kings and the emperors. One of the chief devotees of Bhagwan Mahavir was Shrenik Bimbisar, the king of Magadh. His son Abhaykumar was also Mahavir’s chief devotee and there are historical references about him in the records of the Swetambara and Digambara tradition, and also in the ancient Buddha agam majzimanikay. It is also believed that Abhaykumar had once met and honoured Gautam Buddha. This reflects his reverence for other religions and his catholicity.

The minister to king Shrenik, Abhaykumar, was an embodiment of supreme intelligence, religiosity and detachment. His keen intellect had helped to solve many a thorny problem. It, then, became customary to write the words may we be blessed with the intellect of Abhaykumar, in the account books worshipped dUring the festival of Deepawali. Once father Bimbisar challenged his son Abhaykumar to retrieve a ring from an empty well without descending into it. Abhaykumar threw cowdung into the well and allowed it to dry. The ring stuck to the dung cake and now. he filled the well with water. The cake, with the ring in it, swelled to the rim and thus the ring was retrieved. Similarly, he had helped the king to nab the thief stealing mangoes from the garden. Once the king wanted to learn the skill of mesmerism in order to attract people towards him from a person of low caste. But he could not. Abhaykumar found out the cause of his failure. He said, “You can not learn any skill or art sitting on your throne. Instal the person of low caste in

a high seat as your teacher and then only the goddess of knowledge will be pleased with you.” Thus, he established the supremacy of a teacher. Abhaykumar was renowned as a highly intelligent, just, loving and an ideal minister. He used to learn about people’s problem travelling in cognito and this helped him to defeat conspiracies against his kingdom. There are many such instances to prove his razor-sharp intellect and ingenuity and Jain literature is replete with stories testifying to his qualities. He was also generous, courteous and self-abnegating. When the king Shrenik thought of appointing him his successor, he, with the consent of all, instead became a disciple of Bhagwan Mahavir. Abhaykumar travelled far and wide and spread the message of Mahavir. He visited a region known as Parasya in those days, and known now as Iran. The prince of Parasya was Abhaykumar’s friend. The prince, influenced by the preachings ofMahavir, had also become his disciple later. It is said that, at the request of Adrak, Abhaykumar had sent a golden idol to him. The darshan of the idol caused the desire for vairag(renunciation) in Adrak and he set out on a journey to ancient India. The members of his family tried in vain to dissuade him. He, then, met Bhagwan Mahavir and surrendered himself to him. Abhaykumar, thus, proved himself a competent, intelligent minister and also a highly devoted monk. In the Jain tradition, Abhaykumar symbolises an ideal blend of intellect, devotion and sacrifice. He renounced the worldly pleasures and chose the difficult path of penance. All the princes of Shrenik Bimbisar - Abhaykumar Meghkumar, Nandisen and Varisen - led a life of renunciation though born into afflunce and luxuries. Under the spell of Bhagwan Mahavir’s influence, they gave up everything and walked on the difficult path of penance and spirituality.
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MAHAMANTRI SHANTU

The Solanki era was the golden period in the history of Gujarat. The name of Shantu shone like a bright star during the era. He was renowned for his bravery and patriotism, besides his devotion to religion. He was the head of a fleet of five thousand horses during the reign of King Bhimdev. He then rose to become chief minister and chief whip in the kingdom. In A. D.1094, King Siddharaj ascended the throne of Pat an. Me had to face internal as well as external threats to his rule. Mahamatya Shantu assumed the leadership

of the army and, suppressed the rebellion. Being a religious-minded person, he consructed temple inPatan, and in Tharad and installed idols in ]inalayas on Mt. Abu and Shantuvasahi in Ashaval.. Two huge Jain temple Were also constructed in the two villages of Vanka and Nihana. He facilitated the entry of devotees from one village·to the other so as to enable them to perform pooja (worship) in different shrines.

Shantu once undertook a pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya Tirtha.He saw a man engrossed in penance but could not recognise him. He bowed to him and asked him his guru’s name. The man said his guru was Mahamatya Shantu. This came asa bolt from the blue f()r Shantu and asked him to explain what he meant. The ascetic then, explaining,said, “Once Shantu, astride an elephant, had come to Shantuvasahi to get a glimpse of the god. At thattime a yati stood there with one of his arms around a prostitute’s shoulder. Shantu stopped the elephant, dismounted and bowed to yati. He bowed again and then the yati felt ashamed of himself for becoming a slave to lust. He. thought that Shantu, a mahamantri, was an embodiment of devotion and courtesy while he was treading the path of sin. When Shantu left, he felt remorse and decide to abdicate all worldly possessions and get rid of all desires. He attained his diksha (initiation) from Acharya Hemchandrasuriand began· penance.in Shatrunjaya. Twelve years have passed since then, but how can I·forgetguru Shantu who showed me the right path ?” Thisincident strengthened Shantu’s faith in religion. Shantu spent eighty-four thousand guineas on the construction of a palatialresidenceand invited Acharyas to visit it. Acharyas began climbing each flOor but maintained a studied silence Shantu was baffled and asked as to why they had’ not uttered a word. Acharya Shri Manekchandrasuriji said, “Your residence is a symbol of your affluence. How do you expect us to praise it ? We would have certainly don~ so if it had been an upashraya.” At that very mOment Shantu declared that this palatial residence would now be an upashraya.
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It so happened once that king Siddhraj was angry with Shantu for no apparent reason. Shantu insta~ left the place and settled in Malwa in Rajasthan. Siddh,arajemployed spies to keep a “atch on Shantuto find out if Shantu indulged in any suspicious activities. On the. other hand the kingof Malwa tried· to tempt Shantu and win. over him to his side. ButShanturefused to succumb to temptations. He said, “I haveembraced Jain religion, and have accepted Acharya Devsuriji as my guru and king Siddharaj as my master. Gujarat is my motherland and I cannot think of betraying her. Idonot want tobea traitor. I would rather die than to be a traitor.” King Siddharaj learnt about Shantu’s intense love for hismotherlahd and felt ashamed of himself for being instrumental in Shantu’s departure from Gujarat. He realised his folly and sent a word to Shantu to return home. In.deference to his master’s wishes, Shantu 1returned to Gujarat and was accorded a hero’s welcome.

Mandevsuri

A monk’s way of life leads to upliftment and well-being of the self and the society. Laghushanti Stava always sung by the Jain community, is composed by Mandevsuri for the well-being of the shreesangh. Having listened to the sermons of Pradhyotansuriji, he felt an inclination for renunciation. He made a deep and intensive study of the scriptures in a very short time and mastered 11 angas (Jain canonical text, one of the twelve) and chhedsutra (a law book dealing with monastic offences) and consequently he was

bestowed Acharyapad. While guru Pradyotansuri honoured Mandevsuri with the title of Acharya (head of a mendicant group), an astonishing happening was witnessed. Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Sarasvati were seen seated on either shoulders of Mandevsuri. As guru Pradyotansuri watched this sight, he became worried if Mandevsuri having earned the great title of Jainacharya, would be able to stick to Niratichar (non-transgression) code of conduct or would it cast a slur on his character.

Mandevsuri, obedient disciple as he was, could appreciate the mental agony of his guru and at that very moment he took a vow that henceforth he would not accept alms from his devotees and that he would stick to the vow taken till the very end. As a result of this vow Shri Mandevsuriji’s penance achieved a dignified status. Because of his celibacy and excellent knowledge, the four goddesses viz. Jaya, Vijaya, Aparajita and Padma resided by his side. They always came to bow and pay their respects to Mandevsuriji. This earned him immense reputation everywhere. At this time Takshashila town abounded in riches and wealth of the Jains and it had 500 Jain temples. Unexpectedly, the city happened to suffer from the terror of an epidemic and people started dying. The entire city became a dumping ground of thousands of dead bodies. Being greatly worried, the Jain community made urgent efforts to find out a solution. They all invoked the guardian Goddess (Shasandevi) and she told them to approach Acharya Mandevsuri and after washing his feet to sprinkle the same water in the city so as to eradicate the terrifying epidemic. One of the Jains of Takshashila, Virchand, came to Acharya Mandevsuri with a letter of request from the Shreesangh; as he saw the Goddesses near the Acharya, he wondered as to why women should be sitting near the Acharya. Under the impact of these doubts he took his seat without bowing before the Acharya. Consequent upon his disrepect to Acharya, the Goddesses tied him in a tight bondage. Then Virchand repented very much and the Acharya set him free as a gesture of forgiveness. Now Virchand presented the letter of request from Shreesangh of Takshashila and Acharyashri told Virchand, “I shall perform the task entrusted by Shreesangh from over here.” He composed Shantistava Stotra and asked him to chant the same and then sprinkle the holy water which would eradicate the epidemic. Virchand arrived at Takshashila with this stotra and as instructed by Acharya Mandevsuri he chanted the stotra and sprinkled the holy water invested with the charm of stotra (devotional song) all around and the epidemic was eradicated. Subsequently, Acharya Mandevsuri composed Tijay Pahutta for the eradication of calamity. It was through his sermons that Sandha Rajputs came to the fold of Jain religion. He passed away in A. D. 204 on Shri Girnar Tirtha in Saurashtra by undertaking fasts.

MAHARAJ KUMARPAL

The life of Rajarshi (king with the attributes of a sage) Kumarpal, symbolising bravery, justice and compassion and it is a glorious chapter in the saga of J ainism. Known as Parmahart Shravak, Kumarpal, an ap9stle of non-violence, was a powerful monarch. A man of exceptional talents, he had carved out a niche for himself not only in the history of Gujarat but of India and his life was full of some extraordinary events. His life was a blend of grievous calamities and glorious achievements, a blend of joys and sorrows. Born in a noble family, he suffered king’s ire, separation from family, thirst and starvation and had to beg and roam in forests. Finally he defeated his enemy, got back his kingdom

and embraced religion to die a coveted death. It was a life fit to be a subject of an epic. Profuse details about Kumarpal are available in Dwayashray of Hemchandracharya, in the play Moharajparajay by Yashpal and Kumarpalpratibodh of Somprabhacharya. Such a detailed history of no other king is available in India!

Born in A. D. 1093, Kumarpal was married to Bhopaldevi. Siddhraj had no issue and hence Kumarpal was to succeed him to the throne. However Siddharaj did not want Kumarpal to inherit the throne of Gujarat. He wished that Kumarpal died and then was reborn as his son to become the king of Gujarat. He, therefore, tried to kill Kumarpal but didn’t succeed. Hemchandracharya had been kind to him and helped him many a time. In A. D. 1143, at the age of fifty, Kumarpal ascended the throne of Gujarat. At the instance of kalikalsarvagna (all knowing) scholar Hemchandracharya, the new king banned gambling in the kingdom. He proclaimed : “The people at large are violent and are at one another’s throat. Lying is a sin and illicit relationship with a woman is a worse sin; but violence to living organism is the worst of all sins. I ordain that no one should profit from violence. Those who practise violence should give it up and they will be fed at the king’s kitchen for three years if they have no means of subsistence.” He instructed his officials to give severe punishment to those who indulged in violence. Kumarpal’s devotion to non violence inspired the kings in the neighbouring countries too to practise non-violence. They prohibited any form of violence committed for the sake of religion or livelihood. The offering of animals to goddess kantakeshwari was also prohibited. He closed down slaughter houses at the instance of Hemchandracharya. The compassion for all living organism that one finds in Gujarat is the result of sustained campaign launched by Kumarpal at the instance of Hemchandracharya. He was made to accept the twelve vows 9f samyaktva and grihastha and Hemchandracharya then conferred on him the title Rajshri (best among the kings). He also freed Kumarpal from divine curse. His routine included waking up to the chanting of devotional songs, recitation of Vitrag stotra and Yogshastra, partaking of food only after offering it to the gods, lighting of a lamp, singing of psalms and reflecting on the lives of great beings before going to bed. During the period of fourteen years of his rule he donated gold worth crores of rupees, commissoned writing of twenty-one volumes, effected friendship treaties with fourte~n countries, undertook seven pilgrimages, constructed 1444 shrines, and renovated 1600 shrines. He is remembered in the history as an ideal king of exceptional talents. In A. D. 1173, Hemchandracharya, aged eighty-four, breathed his last and Kumarpal the disciple of the great master, died at the age of eighty in A. D. 1174.

MAHANSINH

The life of Mahansinh of Delhi symbolised staunch adherence to vows and the power of pratikraman (ritualized confession). His fame asa truthful person and pious devout had spread beyond the frontiers of Delhi. He was a devotee of Acharya Devsundersuri and Acharya Somsundersuri. Once he honoured a large contingent of Sadhw-Sanyasi Gain and Hindu monks) at considerable expense, which was a gesture symbolising the esteem in

which he held them. Philanthropic Mahansinh’s act of charity aroused jealousy in others. Somebody poisoned the ears of Delhi’s emperor Firozshah Tugl1laq againstMahansinh. This fabulously rich man’s wealth must be seized, thought the king.

Mahansinh was summoned by the emperor. He appeared before the emperor who sternly said, “How much wealth do you have ?” Mahansinh replied politely that he would have to estimate first and would let the king know the next day. The next day Mahansinh informed the emperor, very honestly, of the wealth he possessed. He did not hide even a penny. His honesty pleased the emperor so much that he offered him some money from his own coffers to make him a millionaire. Firozshah felt proud of having a person like Mahansinh in his kingdom. He also honoured the . monks and their families, an act which reflected his love for religion and. respect for the religious leaders. The emperor once set out on a journey and he included Mahansinh in his retinue. A few minutes before sun-set, Mahansinh stopped by the wayside since it was time for his daily pratikraman. He performed pratikraman with full devotion in· his heart and asked for forgiveness for the sinful acts. He, then, proceeded to catch up with the retinue. Not finding Mahansinh the emperor had become worried. He sent his soldiers in different directions to search for him. Suddenly, then, Mahansinh waS seen approaching andthe emperor heaved a sigh of , relief. He said, “Where have you been, Mahansinh ?” Mahansinh said, “My lord, it was the evening and as usual I had to perform my pratikraman. I have been doing it for years and would not have liked to miss it even for a day.” Thereupon the emperor said, “But you know we are surrounded by enemies. It is not safe for you to sit alone in a forest to perform any religious act. It is risky.” Mahansinh, in utter humility, replied, “I appreciate your concern for me but I hold religion dear to my heart. I will prefer to die-than to abandon doing my religious chores. Whatever the place I invariably perform pratikraman when the time is due. I am not afraid of death.” Mahansinh’s devotion to religion so pleased the emperor that he ordered that a hundred soldiers should stand in guard when he performed his pratikraman. Once the emperor decided to test Mahansinh’s steadfastness. He chained his hands and feet and imprisoned him. When it was time for pratikraman Mahansinh said to the Jail warder, “I will give you two gold coins if you remove my chains so as to enable me to perform pratikraman.” The warder removed his chains and Mahansinh performed pratikraman. The emperor was so much pleased by Mahansinh’s utter devotion to religion that he made him his treasurer, the highest honour he could confer !

MANORAMA
Sudarshan Sheth was a man of sterling character and was put to test very often. Queen Abhaya was the consort of king Dadhivahan of Champapuri city of a country called Ang. She was proud of her beauty and believed that she could ensnare any man. If apsaras (nymphs) could ensnare rishis (sages) who practised severe penance, it was easier for her to make an ordinary man like Sudarshan deviate from his righteous path. Kapila, wife of

the purohit, had also made overtures to Sheth Sudarshan but he did not fall into the trap,

and she also wanted to avenge her defeat. Once Sudarshan had just finished his meditation, when he saw servants of queen Abhaya approaching him. He was bound and brought to her court. She tried different tricks to bewitch him but failed. She even tried to caress his body but Sudarshan was determined to protect his character. He decided to be in a state of Kayotsarg (meditation posture) and not to eat anything till the ordeal was over. Abhaya had not been successful in leading him astray and her pride was wounded. She caused bruises over her body with her nails and alleged that Sudarshan had tried to violate her chastity. He was produced before the king. King Dadhivahan knew that Sudarshan had a spotless character. When asked about the queen’s allegation of rape, he chose not to open his mouth. He knew that if he told the

truth, the queen would be in trouble. It was better, he thought, not to say anything and suffer the consequences himself. The king ordered Sudarshan to be hanged. His face was smeared with black and the body was coloured red. He was seated on a donkey with garlands of exotic flowers. With the beating of broken drums, he was taken round the village. Sudarshan was deep in meditation. The people’s faith in his spotless character had been rudely shaken but his wife was unperturbed having unshakeable faith in his incorruptible character. She thought that the cause of her husband’s predicament was some evil deeds committed in the previous birth. The only way out of an adverse situation was prayer, she thought, and began to pray. Sudarshan too was deep in meditation. The courtiers were busy announcing the impending death of Sudarshan for his alleged misdeed. He was to be publicly executed. Manorama prayed and vowed to observe fasts till Sudarshan’s innocence was proved. Shasandevi was pleased by her sincere prayer, devotion and faith in her husband’s character. She blessed her and said that Sudharshan’s life would be spared. Sudarshan was taken to the gallows but the rope broke and in its place people saw a thrQne. People burst into applause and queen Abhaya stood exposed. She and the king asked for forgiveness and mahasati Manorama and Sheth Sudarshan stood vindicated. It was the triumph of their righteousness. Virtuous people, almost as a rule, have to suffer, have to face ordeals. The same held’ true for Sudarshan and Manorama. Sudarshan’s character and Manorama’s religious faith were tested. Manorama never doubted Sudharshan’s character and she thought that the allegation against him was the result of past karma. The only course open to her was to pray to tide over the crisis. At last both, Sudarshan and Manorama, came through the ordeal unscathed.

Mallavadisuri

This episode dates back to the golden period of Vallabhi in Saurashtra with the unusual prosperity of Jain Sangh. In a holy town like this, Durlabhdevi gave birth to three sons Ajityash, Yaksha and Malla. Ideal mother as she was, she had inculcated religious culture in accordance with the Jain religion in her sons and had accepted initiation alongwith her

three sons from Acharya Jinanandsuri, her brother. At that time, a great ideological debate was going on between Jainism and Buddhism. Acharya Jinanandsuri participated in this debate wherein it was laid down that the defeated participant would have to face exile from Gujarat. The Buddha king declared Acharya Jinanandsuri a defeated participant. So Acharyashri had to leave Gujarat and he came to Vallabhi. While Acharyashri was in agony, his sister Durlabhdevi told him she would give him one of her three sons and he would be able to remove Acharya’s agony and anxiety. Durlabhdevi talked to her three sons and all of them were ready to take up

this task. They vied with each other to go for initiation. With tears of joy in her eyes, the mother consented to their initiation. The youngest son of Durlabhdevi, child Malla, was determined that he would acquire thorough knowledge of the religious books and would be victorious in the debate assembly. Muni Malla invoked goddess Sarasvati. To fulfill his aim, the young Mallamuni resorted to severe penance on a mountain and on conclusion of his fast he would sustain his body by accepting whatever little was offered to him in a nearby village. Pleased by his penance, Goddess Saraswati granted him a boon in the form of his excellent ability in the exposition of a gatha (verses). Gifted thus by the Goddess, he composed a unique book entitled Dwadashar Nayachakra. As a wheel has twelve spokes, this classical darshanik (philosophical) volume contains twelve chapters. Previously Acharya Siddhasen Diwakar had written a great book on Nyayshastra (science of logic) entitled Sanmati Tarka. Acharya Shri Mallasuri composed this book elucidating the principles of Nyaya (science of logic) and Anekant Darshan (the doctrine of manifold aspects) in Sanskrit. The young Muni conveyed to the king Shiladitya that he was prepared to face a theological debate in his court. It was an amazing challenge as it was offered by a young Monk to the versatile and mature scholars. To the surprise of everybody king Shiladitya’s court became a debating forum for as many as six months. Ultimately Acharya Mallasuri won this theological battle and greatly impressed by his performance the king honoured him with the title of ‘vadi’ (great debater). Consequently he became famous as Shri Mallavadisuri Kshamashraman. He wrote a commentary entitled ‘Sanmati Tarka’ and ‘Padmacharitra’ (Jain Ramayan) containing 24 thousand shlokas (verses). Shri Mallavadisuri was proficient in debate and discussion; hence he was called ‘the best logician’ by Shri Hemchandracharya. His book entitled Dwadashar Naychakra is regarded the best book on the philosophical system called Nyay (logic). It was written in Sanskrit and it reviews the various systems of contemporary philosophy.His elder brother Muni Ajityash wrote a book entitled Praman (valid cognition) and his other brother Yaksh Muni composed a samhita called ‘Ashtang Nimitt Bodhini’. Thus all the three sons of the great mother served the Jain religion in a unique way by means of sainthood, literary contribution and theological philosophy.

Mantungsuri
Bhaktamar stotra composed by Acharyashri Mantangsuriji, is the most beautiful high peak of stotra literature of India. Composed with intense devotion and spiritual approach, it is being popularly sung for more than 1300 years.

Composed in Vasanttilaka meter in melodious and moving tunes, this stotra (devotional

song) is being recited daily by thousand of devotees with great devotion. Many stories that relate to its genesis are indicative of its impact. Its yantras (mystical diagrams) explain the method of its aradhana (religious rituals). Moreover the annotations, commentaries and prose renderings that are available provide a deep insight into its purport. One gets lost and a quiet mood of devotion pervades while reading this stotra. Mantungsuriji was born in a deeply religious family and having accepted initiation, he did intensive study of agam shastra. In view of his knowledge and felicity in meditation, his guru installed him as an ‘acharya’. Once king Bhoj extended to him the most respectful invitation to visit Dharanagari. At the gate a number of scholars and men of learning came to welcome him. Right at the

gate the scholars of the town welcomed him in a meaningful way by presenting him a pot filled with ghee to the brim. Suriji picked a piece of straw from the ground and thrust it into the pot quietly. By presenting the pot filled with ghee the scholars of the town had tried to convey to the incoming scholar that the town was already crowded with scholars. Where was the space for him ? By thrusting the piece of straw in the pot Suriji answered them that he would be able to create his space in his unique way. There were two scholars in Varanasi, named Ban and Mayur who were jealous of each other. Mayur was capable of miracles. Hence antagonists of Jain religion spread the rumour that there was almost no scholar in Jain religion capable of working miracles by means of poetic composition; and that’s why they had to rely on such miracles of Mayur. On hearing such allegation, Shri Mantungacharya took up the challenge just to prove the power of religion. He was locked in a room and all over his body an iron-chain was fastened with as many as 44 locks. In such a state of imprisonment, Acharya Mantungsuriji became deeply engrossed in the prayer of Tirthankara and began to compose shloka (verse) after shloka full of devotion and as he began to sing the shloka with deep yearning, the locks and chains began to break one after the other. This was achieved with the divine help of Goddess Chakreshwari, the presiding deity of Bhagwan Rushabhdev. Thus freed by the Goddess herself, Acharyashri Mantungsuri came to the royal court and announced dharmalabha (increase in righteousness) to Harshadev, king of Varanasi. Extremely impressed by the miracle,king Harshadev willingly listened to the sermons on Jain religion with great devotion. The king later on carried out many noble tasks and he himself accepted the fold of Jain religion. The 44 verses thus composed by Acharyashri Mantungsuriji are now known as Bhaktamar Stotra (In the Digambar and Sthanakvasi tradition the full text consists of 48 ‘gathas’). This stotra is so named because it starts with the word Bhaktamar and it contains the prayer to first Tirthankar Rushabhdev. Because of the melody of its words, deep meaning, sublimity of feelings and sincerity of experience, it has occupied a unique place among all other ‘stotras’ addressed to Jineshwar Bhagwan (venerable Jina).

MODI’S CONSORT
There are some outstanding women whose names are written in letters of gold _
Chandanbala, Rajimati, Brahmi and Sundari, to name a few. They are remembered for their sterling character and for their piety and devoutness. Their spotless character and innate qualities would deter even the wicked and the evil-minded. It is rightly said:

“To one, whose soul is pure and is adorned with sheel (spotless character), even gods

become slaves, and Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, pays obeisance.” In the history of Jain order; the wife of Modi is such a character. The king was hypnotised by her matchless beauty and thought of ways to possess her. Lust made him blind and he lost his reason. He sent her husband, Modi, away on some mission and sent a word to his wife that he would like to be her guest on a particular day. Modi’s wife was shrewd enough to know the king’s designs. She acceded to the king’s request and made preparations for his welcome. The king arrived and she extended a cordial welcome. She, then, brought the plate in which were placed glasses of different

shapes and colours with dudhpak (sweet, boiled milk with spices) in them. The king thought that the content would taste differently, and so he began to taste from each glass, one after the other. But, to his surprise, he discovered that the dudhpak tasted alike. He said, “Why have you served the dudhpak in different containers when there is no difference in taste ?” Modi’s wife replied, “O king! You are our protector and we are your children. We look upon you as our father. You must have noticed that though the glasses are different in shapes and colours the content is the same. Similarly, though all women may be different essentially they are all women.” The king was listening with rapt attention. She continued: “One whose mind is fickle will entertain dirty thoughts of possessing another woman. You know that this woman, whom you crave for, is constituted as other women are.” The king was lost in deep thought. Modi’s wife continued: “O king! Man is born of a woman and therefore any other woman should be treated as mother by him. A son sacrifices his life to protect his mother and a man’s prime concern should be a woman’s protection. One who persecutes her or exploits her does not deserve to be called god’s creation.” The words of Modi’s wife had a salutary effect on the king. He was purged of his evil thoughts and repentance could be read on his face. Modi’s wife further said, “You are like my father as you are the king. For a man every other woman should be treated as mother and therefore I look upon you as my son. I urge you to protect my chastity and give up the evil path.” Hearing these words, the king’s lust melted away and his heart was purified. He asked for her forgiveness and felt a sense of reverence towards Modi’s wife for her innate qualities.

NAGILA

Bhavdev, the younger brother, also joined his elder brother Bhavdatta on the path of penance. At that time, the newly married Nagila was richly decorated with clothes and ornaments. Bhavdev told her, “My elder brother’s desire is the last word for me. So henceforth I shall live a saintly life

rather than of a worldly one.” So saying Bhavdev became a disciple of Susthit Acharya along with his elder brother. Bhavdev spent some of his days in renunciation but when he happened to be lonely he used to remember his bride Nagila’s loving face. In fact, he felt her presence in everything around him. In course of time, Mahamuni Bhavdatta passed away. Now Bhavdev thought that only Nagila could console- his heart that had been weeping all these days in loneliness. When Bhavdev was alive he could not go to Nagila. But with the death of his elder brother there was no restraining influence on him.

After as mahy as twelve years, Muni Bhavdev came to his village Sugram and he stayed there in a temple. Nagila came to know about Muni Bhavdev’s arrival. She ca-me to know that the Muni was anxious to abdicate his renunciation. Soon she was engrossed in deep serious thoughts. He that escapes from his own religion shall be regarded a coward. Nagila did not want to that to happen and hence she called an old shravika and explained her the entire plan. A child was also trained with some prompting. Early in the morning Nagila came to the temple where Bhavdev was putting up. She had the aged Shravika with her. Anxious to meet Nagila, Bhavdev asked that woman, where Nagila way staying in the village. As was pre-arranged a boy came there just at that time and addressed Nagila, “O mother ! I have received an invitation for a meal in the village. There would be some dakshina (money) also after the meal. So I want to vomit out the milk that I have drunk. Later on, after eating and getting my dakshina, I shall lick back the milk that I have vomited.” As he heard this, Muni Bhavdev burst into laughter and said, “0 dear child! What a silly talk? Would you lick back the milk that you have vomited ? It is very disgusting.” To this remark of Bhavdev, Nagila said, “Muniraj ! Nagila is myself. Are you again anxious and willing to accept the worldly life that you have already renounced? One rarely gets a horse for riding as you have got; yet why do you want to ride a donkey? Why do you want to abdicate the path of renunciation that you have been following. It is the path that led Shalibhadra, Meghkumar and Dhanna Sheth to the ultimate salvation? Why can’t you control your mind which behaves like a mad elephant? You know very well that this is the only way to ensure liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Moreover I am glad to let you know that I have also accepted shilvrat from my guru. I earnestly request you kindly to go back to your ‘guru’ and stick to your path of renunciation.” Having listened to such a sincere and appealing sermon from Nagila, Muni Bhavdev went to his guru. In course of time, he became the last Jambuswami having achieved absolute knowledge in avsarpini era.

Padliptasuri

Acharyashri Padliptasuriji’s life is an illustrious example of rare combination of miracles achieved through unusual power and books composed with the sheer strength of imagination. He was born in Ayodhya situated on the banks of Saryu and Ganga. Fullachandra, his father was a rich businessman of the town and Pratima, his mother was a beautiful and virtuous woman. It was because of Pratima’s penance and worship that she had

acquired the gem of a son. The boy was named Nagendra, since at the time of his birth the mother had a dream of nag, the serpant. From the very childhood Nagendra was brought up in a religious family. Moreover, he was fortunate enough to have guidance and patronage of efficient guru like Naghasti. At a very young age of eight he had his initiation under Acharya Naghasti and he came to be known as Muni Nagendra. Once he had gone for collecting alms (gochari). Having performed the usual rituals on returning to upashraya (a place for the stay of Jain monks and nuns) he told his Guru, in a shloka composed by him, how a young, newly married beautiful woman had offered alms to

him. On listening to such amorous description of a woman, the Guru was enraged at the disciple and said, “You are burning with the fire of passion - 5L,tm’L; “ (you have fallen). Muni Nagendra was quick-witted and he requested the Guru in a polite tone, “Be kind enough to add one more ‘v’ (a) sound and make me ‘paalit’ S5fL,tF from ‘palit’ S5L,tF. It meant ‘kindly initiate me into the padlipt knowledge so that I shall be able to fly in the sky and be known as padlipta.” Greatly impressed by the unusual intelligence of Muni Nagendra, the Guru blessed him - 5fnL,Itmej - May you be pidlipta ! Since then Muni Nagendra is known as 5fnL,It. He also acquired the miraculous power of flying by applying ointment at the bottom of his feet. By the strength of this power, everyday he used to make a pilgrimage to the five tirth Shatrunjay, Girnar, Ashtapada, Sametshikhar and Mathura and only then would he accept water and food. He had also acquired four other siddha vidyas (firmly acquired supernatural power), namely Jivajivotpati Prabhrut, Vidya Prabhrut, Siddha Prabhrut and Nimit Prabhrut. Once a siddha yogi named Nagarjun sent him a vessel containing Kotived ras which could make gold out of stone or iron. Acharya Padliptasuri said, “For a sadhu gold and stone are of equal worth. I don’t need this Ras.” Thereupon Nagarjun became angry; however Padliptasuri turned things into gold by touching and by urinating. Consequently Nagarjun’s pride dissipated and he came to stay with Padliptasuri from whom he acquired the akashgamini (flying in the sky) knowledge. Nagarjun requested Acharyashri to ask him to do something. Thereupon Padliptacharya said, “You strive for the wellbeing of your soul by following Jain religion for the rest of your life.” Nagarjun obeyed him. He established a town named Padliptapur at the foot of Shri Shatrunjay Mahatirtha. Now it is known as Palitana. This is an unique example of a town being named after any Jain Acharya. Nagarjun constructed a temple on the hill and besides installing many Jain idols at the hands of Acharyashri Padliptasuriji, he installed an idol of Acharyashri himself. Acharyashri wrote an epic in Prakrit named ‘Tarangvati’ which holds a unique place in the fiction of the world. He also composed books like ‘Nirvankalika’, ‘Prashnaprakh’, ‘Kalgyan’, commentary on ‘Jyotish Karandak’, ‘Taranglila-katha’ and ‘Virstuti’. He resorted to fasting for 32 days on Shri Shatrunjay Tirtha and died a glorious death.

PANCHAKHYA BHARVAHAK

Out of the five hundred labourers, who transported heavy loads, the most strongest was Panchakhya. He was also the leader of the group of labourers. A man of extraordinary strength, he could carry huge load on his head. The king was proud of him. He called him once and said, “When you lead the team of your labourers and walk along the road, you must not move aside and give way to others; be it an army, elephant, horse, chariots or

carts. Even when you face me on the path, you must continue to walk along without moving aside and making way for me. I hold you in the highest esteem as you symbolise dignity of labour.” The king also said that anyone violating his order would be severely punished. Labourer Panchakhya was highly pleased at the honour done to him. Panchakhya always walked along the road holding his head high, followed by his troupe of five hundred labourers. Nobody dared to cross his path; everyone would move aside

making way for him and his companions. Not only nobody ever thought of violating the king’s order, but all bore great respect for him. Once Panchakhya and the five hundred labourers were entering the town heavily loaded. He himself had five heavy pots on his head. It so happened that some monks were coming his way. He said to himself, “The load on my head is physical, but what about the load of these Jain monks. They observe the vows of non-violence, truth, non-stealing, non-possession, celibacy and the accumulated load of these five vows is far greater than the load I carry. I must, therefore, bow to them and give way to them.” He, then, moved aside and so did his five hundred laborers. Some of them did not approve· of Panchakhya’s gesture and said, “Why did you do it? You have violated the king’s command.” The king came to know about it and Panchakhya was summoned to appear before him and explain his conduct. Panchakhya said, “0 king! these monks carry far more greater load than I do, and therefore I gave them way.” The king was astounded to hear this and said, “Very strange! These people do not carry the kind of load you carry.” Panchakhya replied, “On the contrary they· carry far greater load than I do. They observe the five difficult vows and observe them scrupulously. I am a sinner. I commit violence and my sins accumulate and from which I see no liberation. Once I did try for diksha (renunciation) but the load of five vows was difficult for me to carry. I find it easier to carry the load of five pots on my head but not that of five vows. Since the monks’ load was heavier than mine, I gave way to them.” Panchakhya Bharvahak said that the monkobserved five mahavrat (the five great vows of a mendicant) and each one of the vratas served to purify life continuously. Not only that each vrat was accompanied by five bhavana (five deep reflection) and thus the monks carried the load of twenty five bhavana. To carry such a heavy load was really difficult. The king asked Panchakhya : “Why did you give up the five mahavrat - non-violence, truth, celibacy, non-stealing and non-possession? These can be easily observed.” In response Panchakhya said, “It is difficult to give up love of gold, women and throne and lead a life of restraint and self-denia1.” The king, -on hearing these words, decided to renounce the world to observe the five mahavrat. Panchakhya, thus, himself did not become a Jain monk but succeeded in making others, including the king, to follow the path of renunciation. By following an ethical code, Panchakhya himself earned for himself a great reputation.

PATPADE
In the history of Rajasthan, there are many examples of illustrious, powerful Jains who had earned reputation as dewan (prime minister of the king) of the state by their integrity, valour and truthfulness. In the company of the Jain dewans, the rulers of Rajasthan also

respected the practice of the Jain religion to show mercy and kindness towards the animals they also used to undertake renovation of Jain temples and attend to the religious

discourses of the Jain monk. Rana Jagatsinh had banned animal killing in the month of Bhadrapad, i.e. the month covering his birthdate. Rana Kumbha had carried out renovation of a Jain temple and had banned fishing in Pichhola lake and Uday Sagar of Udaipur. During the times of Rajsinh, son of Rana Jagatsinh, Dayalshah was the state ‘dewan’. He constructed a temple having nine floors and 52 deris (small temple) at a cost of Rs. 1 crore. But this grand fort-like jinprasad (temple of Jina) was an eye-sore for the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb. His bigotry became all the more pronounced. Suspicious as he was, he thought under the pretext of this jinprasad, some enemy might be constructing a huge fort. By constructing a grand fort, the Rana might be planning to defy him and become independent.

In A. D. 1674, Aurangzeb undertook an invasion with a huge army. Dewan Dindayal led the army on behalf of the Rana. Dewan also explained to the emperor Aurangzeb that the Jain temple had only two floors but as it was having a very high peak, it seemed to him that the temple was unusually high. Because of the tact of Dewan Dayalshah the temple could be saved but that episode made Rana very uneasy. He was not in the least prepared to invite the wrath of the Emperor. He thought that in his keenness to save the jinprasad, he might have to lose the kingdom. The Rana himself did not grant permission for installing image of a Jina in the temple. Just at that time the Rana was engaged in constructing the wall surrounding the lake Raj Sagar. The lake used to be flooded with monsoon waters and as a result of which it used to overflow and the nearby houses etc. were submerged under the water. Every time, as soon as the new walls surrounding the lake were constructed, water rushed into the lake from somewhere breaking the walls. Dewan Dayalshah’s wife Patpade was extremely religious and chaste. She was extremely happy as the Jain temple was saved but she was greatly unhappy at the fact that the auspicious occasion of the installation of idol in the temple was delayed. Rana Rajsinh thought that if a religious and pious woman like Patpade would lay the foundation of the construction work of the surrounding walls, it might work. Patpade laid the foundation of the walls and the construction was over within a short time. The subsequent monsoon was very heavy one but the walls of the lake were not damaged. Rana was extremely happy; he was convinced that truly religious person can have a great impact. As the Rana was extremely happy at the event, Patpade requested him to grant them the permission to construct achaturmukh jinprasad (a Jain temple with fourface Jina) as also to install therein the idol of the god. The Rana could not disregard or reject the feelings of such a religious-minded woman. At last Dewan Dayashah and his wife Patpade could witness the most auspicious day of their life. The Jain idols were installed on the seventh day of Vaishakh Sud in V. S. 1675 at the hands of Acharya Vinaysagarsuri.

PETHADSHA

Pethadsha was very devout and built eighty-four temples, many upashrayas, a library· and undertook extensive construction· activity; but after the death of his father Dedasha, Pethadsha was reduced to poverty and his prosperous life came to an end. He approached Acharya Dharmaghoshsuri and expressed a desire for parigraha - pariman vrat (vow of limiting one’s possessions). The guru foresaw a bright future for Pethadsha and granted

what he desired. Pethadsha engaged himself in. the business of selling ghee and his financial condition slowly improved. Sanghpati Bhimji of Cambay (Khambhat) used to distribute clothes to those taking the vow of celibacy. He sent one pair to Pethadsha also. Pethadsha and his wife wore the clothes sent by Bhimji and took the vow of celibacy.

The vow proved to be a great source of power and energy for the couple. It is said that once the queen, who was suffering from some poisonious fever, wore the clothes worn by Pethadsha and the fever disappeared in no time. The king’s mad elephant quietened the . moment the clothes were thrown on him. At- the instance of Pethadsha, the king had also vowed to observe non-violence. Pethadsha also took out a sanghyatra (a congregation on pilgrimage) of about seven lakh people to spread the message of non-violence. Pethadsha was a man of foresight. At the end of the thirteenth century and the beginning of the fourteenth century ofVikram Samvat, Allauddin Khilji was the ruler and his oppressive rule caused untold suffering to the people. Temples and shrines were demolished. Scriptures and a host of religious literature and books were destroyed in a devastating fire. Idols of gods were intentionally and systematically destroyed. At that time Pethadsha, a minister of Mandavgadh, constructed forts and protective walls and kept the granaries full. Mandavgadh was considered to be powerful, prosperous and safe. Pethadsha enjoyed undisputed power, enormous wealth, and had earned fame as a highly devout and religious person. It was believed that his religious fervour and devotion had protected him and his people against the external threats. His wealth was spent on religious activities which were dearer to his heart. Devgiri (Dolatabad) in south India was a well-known city at that time, but it was also a seat of religious discords. Jainism had failed to take roots in the soil. Pethadsha saw the need of at least one Jain temple in the city. It was his sacred duty, he thought, to construct one but it was not easy. Foresighted that he was, he setup a donation camp in Omkarpur near Devgiri in the name of Hem, a minister in Devgiri administration. People received charities at the camp and the news spread far and wide. Minister Hem learnt that itwas Pethadsha who was spending large sums of money from his· own resources but the fame accrued to him. This, he thought, was something rare. Hem sent a word to Pethadsha to come and meef him. Pethadsha met Hem and convinced him of the need of building a shrine of the presiding deity in Devgiri. He said he had money but wanted a piece of land in Devgiri. Hem promised to help him and persuaded king Ramdev to donate a piece ofland. A magnificient shrine came up inpevgiri which was unique in its architectural beauty and beautiful carvings. The idol of Bhagwan Mahavir was installed in A. D.1279. “Amulikvihar” stands today in Devgiri, a symbol of Pethadsha’s devoutness and piety.

PRABHAVATI

Once in Vitbhay city of Sindh a mysterious box was kept in the plaza, brought by a sailor. The sailor said, “The box contains an idol of Bhagwan. He who would be able to open it, would be a very fortunate man. He would get all happiness desired by one and all.” Many saints, businessmen, artisans and others tried to open it but without any success. King

Udayan was worried as did not know how to open the box. Queen Prabhavati could read the anxiety written on his face and said, “What’s the matter? You seem to have lost your interest in food and are always lost in thought.” King Udayan said, “In the entire kingdom there is hardly a person who can open the box. Is my kingdom devoid of good and pious people? Are there only sinners? I am eager to have a glimpse of the idol kept in the box.” Queen Prabhavati decide to try to open the box. She offered milk and water and performed the pooja (worship) with full devotion. She remembered Arihant (destroyers of

karma) and said, “O Arihant ! I am eager to have a glimpse of you. Do not disappoint me.” She then tried to open the box and, 10 and behold, the box opened. A miracle had happened and people were jubilant. And the king built a jinalay and the idol was installed in it. The fame of Prabhavati spread far and wide. Prabhavati, once, asked a maid to bring apiece of white cloth for pooja. She saw a blood stain on it and was furious. She, in a fit of anger, gave a blow to the maid and, ill-luck would have it, she instantly died of shock. Queen examined the cloth and discovered that it was no blood stain. She repented profusely and cursed herself for having killed the maid. Prabhavati was performing pooja and the king saw her headless shadow. It was an omen of approaching death. The queen was unperturbed on knowing the truth and continued her worship as if nothing was to happen. She expressed a desire to attain diksha (renunciation) and the king granted her wish. Prabhavati undertook severe penance and remained in the company of nuns. She, then, began to fast to exercise utmost control over body and attained the status of a sati (extremely pious women). She earned for herself a place in the pantheon of those who were a symbol of steadfast devotion and absolute piety. King Udayan and the people of the city of Vitbhay, taking a cue from her life, began to follow Jainism. It is customary to remember and chant the names of Tirthankars and Sadhus who enlighten the lives of the ordinary people. Similarly, sixteen satis are also remembered early in the morning and revered by one and all for their piety and devotion. Those who renounce the worldly pleasures and joys and become Sadhus and Sadhvis are naturally revered in Jain religion. But on the other hand, those Shravaks and Shravikas who, without renouncing the world, display qualities of Sadhu and Sadhvis are also revered. Religion has four pillars: Sadhu, Sadhvi, Shravak and Shravika and the religious edifice stands erect on these four pillars. The lives of some of the Shravikas reflect the best that is there in Jain religion and their lives and character have proved to be an inspirational force. Prabhavati was one such woman and is rightly revered as a Sati.

Prasannachandra Rajarshi
Once Lord Mahavir arrived in the city of Rajgruhi. He was accompained by the royal sage (Rajarshi) Prasannachandra. Rajarshi Muni used to perform severe penance by staring at the fire-emitting Sun, with his one leg up and both arms raised straight. Magadh king Shrenik was deeply impressed by such severe penance and politely asked Lord Mahavir, “O Lord, suppose this monk performing severe penance, dies this moment, what state would he achieve after his death ?”

Lord Mahavir said, “He is Prasannachandra Rajarshi. In case he dies at this very moment, he would have the state of the seventh hell (narak).” The gathering was shocked to hear this. King Shrenik was puzzled; he thought that a saint’s soul could never go to hell. How was it then that Lord Mahavir forecast such a ‘narak’ for Muni Prasannachandra ? Thinking that perhaps he had not listened to the Lord’s utterance properly, king Shrenik asked again, “O Lord ! In case this sage Prasannachandra dies at this moment, what state his soul would attain ?” Lord Mahavir said, “He would attain the liberation.” Equally puzzled by these utterances of Lord Mahavir, king Shrenik said, “Lord, in the first instance you said that he would attain the state of narak and now within just a few

seconds you say that he would attain the moksha state - the ultimate liberation. Why such contradictory statements?” Lord said, “When you asked the first time, the monk had just heard Durmukh saying that king Dadhivahan of Champanagari had attacked and had laid a siege to the city of king Prasannachandra. His ministers had betrayed Prasannachandra and had conspired to deprive him of the kingdom by killing the child-king. On listening this Monk Prasannachandra’s mind was occupied by the thought of his kingdom and child and soon his mind had become a battlefield of violent and aggressive thoughts. As a result, he was entangled in such namkarma (karma that determines destinies and body type) like gatijati etc. which would have sent him to seventh hell. Had he died in such a violent state of mind, he would surely have gone to hell. Prasannachandra, fighting a battle in his mind, touched his head to ensure that he had his helmet on before making a fatal attack on the enemy king. As he touched his completely shaven head, he was awakened to the reality. Soon he began to think, “Though I am engaged in saintly penance, I did indulge in violent thoughts. I almost performed cruel sinful deeds. Awakened to such a realization, monk Prasannachandra felt repentent. Having critically reviewed his serious lapse, the monk once again concentrated on quiet meditation. Hence when king Shrenik asked Lord Mahavir the second time, the monk had already become worthy of the state of liberation. By this time divine music surrounded Prasannachandra Muni. Lord Mahavir said, “He has attained ‘kevalgyan’ - pure and absolute knowledge. Gods rejoice at this moment of his attaining pure knowledge.” Monk Prasannachandra’s character-sketch acquaints us with a self-vigilant monk. What a wonderfully vigilant soul ! One who would be awakened to self-realization by just touching the shaven head ! His repentence being that of an awakened soul, he attained pure and absolute knowledge.

PUNIY SHRAVAK

Puniya Shravak symbolised ideal worship and devotion. He was a devotee whose devotion was praised by Bhagwan Mahavir himself. A resident of Rajgruhi, he came under the spell of Mahavir’s discourses and began to practise aparigraha (abandonment of worldly possessions). He embraced poverty willingly and gave away all the wealth he had inherited from his father. He would be happy and contented with what he earned from making cotton threads. He believed that contentment had nothing to do with

possessions, with wealth or acquisitiveness. It is simply a state of mind. Being a truly devoted soul, he held co-religionists in high esteem and would invite, everyday, one of them and feed him with love and affection. He practised samayik (maintaining equinimity for a set period of time) with a heart full of devotion.

Once he could not worship with his usual concentration and was disturbed. He asked his wife to find out the reason. This set her thinking. After a long pause, she said, “1 found in my way a few cakes of dung and since they belonged to no one, 1 brought them home.” Puniya shravak said, “You did not do the right thing. If no one had claimed those cakes, they must belong to the state. Go and deposit them back where you found them.” It was then that his conscience stopped pricking him. A slight aberration, and he would be disturbed. Once king Shrenik asked Tirthankar Bhagwan Mahavir about the state of his soul after death -where would it go ? Thereupon Mahavir replied, “To hell.” The king wanted to know what he should do to avoid such a fate. Mahavir replied, “You can avoid going to hell provided you get the punya (good deeds) acquiring from one samayik of Puniya Shravak.” The king approached him with the request. Shravak asked him to find out from Mahavir the real worth (value) of a samayik. Bhagwan said that it was difficult to set any value to his samayik as it was invaluable. Meru is the tallest mountain. The value of one Samayik of Puniya Shravak was worth the value of piles of money as tall as the Meru. Bhagwan Mahavir explained it differently. He said, “One goes to buy a horse and the price of a leash for the horse will be equal to the total value of money in king Shrenik’s coffers. But the price of the horse will be worth the value of one samayik.” Shrenik realised that his entire wealth would not be able to buy even one samayik of Puniya. He felt the highest reverence for his devotion. Puniya’s life was a life of renunciation, self-denial and non-possessiveness, the life of a true shravak. How great must be the one who was praised by Bhagwan Mahavir himself ! The importance of samayik manifested itself in the life of Puniya. Only one samayik performed with a pure heart and devotion can put one on the path of liberation and help to ward off evils. Scriptures say that if one donates gold everyday and the other performs samayik, the one who donates gold cannot stand in comparison to the other who performs samavik.

REVATI

Bhagwan Mahavir, once, arrived in sakoshtak park on the outskirts of village Medhiya in Shravasti. Goshalak, once Mahavir’s disciple, had turned his rival. He tried
to set him afire and shot tejoleshya (beam of fire) at him but it could do no great harm to Bhagwan. After seven days, Goshalak died, but Bhagwan suffered from some aftereffects of

tejoleshya and had bouts of dysentery. He lost weight and looked emaciated.

The disciples were, naturally worried, though Bhagwan himself was indifferent to pain. The news of his suffering spread far and wide. Another of his disciple ‘ sinh’ Anagar of Kutch had undertaken severe penance and was greatly disturbed when he heard about Bhagwan’s suffering. He was so moved that he began to weep. Omniscient Mahavir asked another disciple to bring Anagar to him. When he arrived, Bhagwan said, “Do not worry and do not dread the worst. Nothing will happen to me and I will live on this planet for fifteen years.” Sinh Anagar said, “I see your body getting weaker. Is there any cure or

not ?” Bhagwan replied, “In Medhipangev village, Revati, an expert in making herbal medicines, has been preparing two types of jelly-from pumpkin and bijora (a type of vegetable). I do not need the one made of pumpkin but the other made of bijora can cure me of my ailment.” Anagar, then, set out to the village to get the special preparation made by Revati. Revati used to keep a variety of herbal medicines for the use of the villagers. Many sadhus and parivrajaks (mendicant monks) had used her medicines and were cured of their ailments. Anagar came to Revati and, with tears in the eyes, said, “Bhagwan is in agony. He doesn’t need the jelly made of pumpkin but the one made of bijora will cure him of his burning sensation.” Revati was surprised to know that Bhagwan knew all about her ,medicines. Sinh Anagar, then, told her all about the omniscient Bhagwan. Revati gave bijorapaak (jelly made of birjora) to Anagar. Anagar returned with the medicine and gave it to Mahavir. He was cured of his ailment. He was his radiant self. Everyone felt relieved and praised Revati. Hers was an act of great charity! Charity, they say, begets fame; turns an enemy into a friend. Revati got herself freed from the cycle of birth and death and secured for herself the status of a tirthankar. According to the Jain belief Revati would be the seventeenth tirthankar in the next’ chovisi’. Revati’s is an outstanding figure. Jain religion shows utter reverence to women. Brahmi and Sundari, the two daughters of the first Tirthankar Bhagwan Rishabhdev, occupy an important place in the history of humankind. Brahmi was a great scholar and therefore the script used in those days came to be known as Brahmi Script. Sundari was supposed to be accomplished in eighty four arts. Similarly, Revati was adept at preparing a variety of herbal medicines which would cure even intractable diseases. She always kept the medicines ready and this helped her to cure disease-stricken people at once and therefore her fame had spread far and wide. She would feel very happy if her medicines were used to cure a monk or a nun. A special quality of Revati’s character was the fact that she never thought of making a living out of serving the sick and the diseased for she always thought of alleviating the suffering of people and never of her personal gains. Such was the selfless character of Revati, a character worth emulating, and which shone like the brightest star in the firmament.

ROHINIYA

Bhagwan Mahavir would cast a magic spell on whoever heard his sermon. His words would dispel darkness from the hearts of people and show them the true
path. Such was the power of his words that they brought about change of heartofa thief,

Rohiniya. Lohkhur was a hardened thief who lived in a cave in.Vaibhargiri on theotltskirts of Rajgruhi. He had bequeathed the art of stealing and robbing to his son Rohiniya. He became a bandit and was a synonym for terror. Lohkhur was· now about to die. He called his son and said, “I want one promise from you. Nevel’ go to listel1to the discourses of Bhagwan Mahavir. See that not a word should fall onyour ears,espically when he is discoursing sitting in samavasaran (holy assembly of the Jina).”

Lohkhur believed that Bhagwan Mahavir would convert the whole race of Shudras (low caste ) and thereby they would lose their means. of livelihood: Mahavir’ s message of love was anathema to him. Lohkhur died and his son would be always on guard not to cross Mahavir’ s path. But very often, when he had to go to Rajgruhiforrobbery,he. had to pass by Mahavir’s Samavasaran. At that time he would plug his ears with his hands soasnotto hear Mahavir’s words. Once he was on his way to Rajgruhi and a thorI} got stuck into his foot. He sat down and tried to pluck the thorn out. He had taken his fingures off the ears and the words of Mahavir fell on them. Mahavir was discoursing on devyoni(a class of celestial being). He said, “One whose feet do not touch the earth, whose eyes do not wink, whose ga’rland of flowers does not wither and one whose body neither perspires nor is dusty, is God.” Rohiniya heard these words and was greatly upset for the promise he had given to his father had broken. He did not know what to do. He said to himself, “What if Iheard Mahavir’s words? dismiss them from my mind soon and forget all about it.”

I

will

Rohiniya was a terror and was proving to be a great nuisance. King Shrenik wanted him to be arrested and put behind bars but his chief of the protection force failed to nab him. He then asked Abhaykumar,.hisson and minister, to arrest Rohiniya. Abhaykumar succeeded in nabbing him but no stolen goods could be recovered from him and consequently he had to be set free. Abhaykumar then set a trap. The thief wasagaill arrested and was. drugged. Then, in a state of drunkenness, he was put ina • palace which resembled heaven. Dancing-girls performed dances and when Rohiniyawoke up, he was astounded at what he saw. He was told thathe was in the devlok (land of gods) and would be able to live there permanently if he confessed his sins. At that time he remembered the words of Bhagwan Mahavir that God’s eyes would never wink and that they did not cast shadows. Here he found that the god’s eyes were winking and he could see their shadows too. He realised that he was in no devlok. He ran away from there but then he thought, “I had heard the words of Mahavir by chance and they helped me to set myself free from the trap. Certainly Mahavir must be a great lord.” He, then, wenLto Mahavir and fell at his feet. He confessed his sins and returned the stolen goods. He attained his diksha(initiation) and spent the rest of his life seeking spiritual upliftment.

SADHVI BANSALA
The ruler of Pruthvipur Jaisinh and his consort maharani Jaysena, though extremely rich were not happy as they were childless. The citizens were also worried as to who would inherit the throne. But, as good luck would have it, after thirty-five years of married life, Jaysena conceived and a prince was born to her. The entire kingdom went delirious and king Jaisinh’s joy knew no bounds. The prince was named as Mukansinh. The court

astrologer Pandit Vishnu Bhatt was summoned to read his horoscope. He said, “Mukansinh will survive for not more than six months. He may fall off the peak of a mountain and die.” The king was shocked to hear the prophecy. He wanted the astrologer to alter Mukansinh’s life-line. Vishnu Bhatt said, “Only his marriage with a twelve-year old girl and her piety alone can prolong his life.” But who would be ready to marry his daughter to an infant? The king very cleverly contrived Mukunsinh’s marriage with Bansala, the daughter of king Makardhwaj of Karnavati. Bansala married Makansinh. At night Bansala discovered the truth when she read the letter tied to the child’s neck. The king had asked for forgiveness and had stated his compulsions for such a marriage between the two. Bansala was a sensible girl. She thought that what had happened was the result of her previous karma and it was of no use blaming anyone. Bansala’s father king Makardhwaj

was very angry when he learnt about the deception. Bansala calmed him and cursed her fate. She then started for her groom’s house. The child suddenly began to cry and Bansala was confused. She began reciting navkar mantra. A goddess heard her prayer. She appeared before her and said, “I will give you a female-deer that has just become a mother. She will suckle the child Mukansinh.” Bansala felt relieved. She began to live in a hut under a tree in the forest with the deer. She would bathe the child and perform all other tasks expected of a mother. After a fortnight, the younger queen of king Manichud of Kanchanpur happened to see the child. She was childless and liked the child. She stole the child and brought him to the court. The news spread that a child was born to the younger queen and a grand celebration took place. The child was called Ranjitsinh. Bansala learnt that Ranjitsinh was her husband Mukansinh. The elder queen of Manichud leaked the news that Ranjitsinh was the stolen child. King Manichud, thereupon, put the child in a wooden box and the box was placed in the water of the Ganga to be carried away. It was found by Nand, a childless but rich shepherd. Since the child was found from the river Ganga, it was christened Gangasinh. Gangasinh grew into an impressive boy. Bansala kept herself informed about his progress. The young Gangasinh married nine women at different times. His first and tenth wife, was Bansala but he had no knowledge of it. Bansala, then, appeared before him and told him the truth. Gangasinh, Nand and his wife, dismissed it as absolute nonsense. Bansala remained firm and with the help of a goddess, she explained the $equence of events and the goddess bore testimony to what Bansala had said. Gangasinh ‘was wonderstruck. He felt proud of Bansala and her chastity and piety. Mukansinh ruled for a long time, then. Once Bansala told him of her desire to obtain initiation (diksha). ~ukansinh and Bansala both renounced the world, followed by the other nine queens who also obtained diksha.

SADHVI BHADRAMA
Having listened to the inspiring spiritual discourse of Bhagwan Mahavir, Arnik’s
parent accepted initiation and afterwards the father gave initiation to the son Arnik. Though the child Arnik became a monk, his daily functions like making a grass-bed and bringing alms were performed by the father himself. Despite the fact that the father had renounced the worldly life, he could not help loving the son. With the death of his father after some time, monk Arnik was required to perform all the routine functions like bringing alms etc. by himself and he realized the hardships of a Muni’s way of life.

Once during a summer-day, monk Arnik was walking bare-foot in excessive heat. He wanted to have some rest, so the monk stood under a balcony of a haveli (mansion) and he was thinking about the ordeal of a monk’s life. He also doubted his ability to live such a difficult life of a monk. Meanwhile, a woman from the house of a great and rich merchant came and stood in the balcony. As she saw the monk, she was infatuated by his attractive body, lustrous face and his well-built physique. Her young age prompted her to enjoy the company of the young monk. She called her maid-servant and conveyed her request to him to purify her residence by his presence and accepting some food like modak (sweet ball). Monk Arnik was very tired and severe heat of the sun was burning his body. He was thinking that he would not be able to bear the burden of austere way of life that he had chosen. It seemed that the invitation was just timely. He accepted the invitation from that beautiful lady. She

offered him the sweet dish made with plenty of ghee, viz. ‘modak’. The monk was enslaved; and trapped thus he preferred to stay in her residence only. He gave up the path of renunciation and became a worldly man. Now there was pleasure and enjoyment all around and Arnik was totally engrossed in his new life-style and enjoyment of sensual pleasure. As Sadhvi Bhadra, Arnik’s mother came to know about this news, she was extremely shocked. She went from place to place in search of her son. She, an old nun, crying loudly for her son and blaming the woman who had tempted her, was regarded as a mad woman by people who never missed to tease her. Once when Arnik was standing in the balcony, he heard the appealing and loud voice and utterances of her mother; he came rushing down in the street and bowed to her mother’s feet. She asked him as to who had tempted him to the worldly way of life. Arnik said that the path of strict penance was too difficult for him and added that he was unable to stick to disciplined and devoted way of life.
Sadhvi Bhadra explained to him that it was the only way to get rid of the cycle of births

and she urged him to accept initiation once again and live happily through a saintly way of life. Arnik was prepared to accept initiation but he laid down one condition that after accepting initiation he would prefer to die by abjuring food and water. For a mother, this was a painful thought. However a willing sacrifice of life was less harmful than deliberate abjuring of initiation, she thought, and she agreed to the son’s condition. Arnik behaved according to the promise given to the mother. He accepted initiation once again and finally gave up his life by renouncing food and water. Finally he attained pure absolute knowledge (kevalajnana) and the ultimate salvation (moksha).

SADHVI BHADRAMATA
Bhadra was the wife of a rich merchant of Rajgruhi named Gobhadra and she had a son named Shalibhadra and a daughter named Subhadra. With the combination of business acumen of his mother and divine assistanc~ of his father, Shalibhadra enjoyed abundant riches.

He was married to 32 young girls, all having the qualities of beauty, virtue and chastity. Once a merchant from Nepal had come to Rajgruhi to sell jewel-studded blankets but king Shrenik could not buy even one of those precious blankets. In order to save the pride and prestige of Rajgruhi, Bhadramata purchased sixteen such jewel-studded blankets and made two pieces of each of the valuable blankets and gave those pieces to 32 daughtersin law. The blankets were so made that they would provide warmth in winter :and coolness in summer but as the daughters-in-law found them very rough and uneven, they used them as doormats. King Shrenik came to the residence of Bhadramata in search of the jewel-studded blankets. It was then that Shalibhadra realized that Shrenik was regarded as their master (nath). This moment of realisation was a moment of total helplessness for Shalibhadra because till then he had thought that he was the sale master.

Thus the arrival of the king convinced Shalibhadra of his utter dependance and he decided to take the path of renunciation all alone. When Bhagwan Mahavir arrived at Rajgruhi, Shalibhadra and his brother-in-law Dhanya Sheth accepted initiation. Bhadramata and Shalibhadra’s wives used to live a disciplined life devoted to religion. The news about Bhagwan Mahavir’s arrival had made the entire city extremely eager to have his darshan. Bhadramata too was very eager to have darshan. She was in such a haste that in the hurry to get Bhagwan Mahavir’ s darshan,she could not recognise the lean and lanky Shalibhadra who had come to her doors for alms. Without paying any heed to the Muni’s, Bhadramata went away hurriedly, with the result that Shalibhadra had to go away without having any food. While they were returning, a milk-:maid offered some curd to Shalibhadra and thereby he was made to break his fast. Muni Shalibhadra came to Bhagwan Mahavir and having obtained his permission, he went to a huge mountain near Rajgruhi and resorted to sallekhanavrat (ritual death by fasting). Bhagwan Mahavir narrated all the incidents relating to Shalibhadra’s alms to his sallekhana (ritual death by fasting) to Bhadramata and her family that had come to his holy assembly. Bhadramata was extremely shocked at what she learnt from Bhagwan Mahavir. It was as if she was struck by lightening. She realized the great mistake she had committed in ignoring the monks she had seen at her door - the more tragic it was because they were none else but her own son Shalibhadra and son-in-law Dhanya Sheth. Her motherly love felt unbearable remorse and instantly she ran towards the mountain for her son’s darshan. On seeing that due to severe penance and exclusive meditation, her son had become extremely weak, she was so moved that she became unconscious. King Shrenik who happened to be there at that time consoled her. B~adramata had a look at her own life and having renounced everything, she alongwithher daughters-in-law, accepted the path of penance.

SADHVI DHARMALAXMI
Cambay (Khambhat), once upon a time, used to be a renowned port, having trade links with a number of cities and towns in the country and outside. It is said that in those days of prosperity, there were about one hundred millionaires in that town. The inhabitants were all devout and the town could boast of 85 temples and 45 upashraya (home for monks and nuns).

It

was in Cambay tl)at omniscient Hemchandracharya, a truly enlightened soul, had been initiated into the religious order (diksha). Hemchandracharya had helped king Kumarpal to hide himself among the piles of books in an upashraya and saved his life. It was in Cambay that the poet Rishabhdas had composed his volume on raas (a popular folk form) and businessmen Rajiya-Vajiya, Tejpal Sanghavi and others had earned fame as philanthropists. Numerous religious and charitable activities were undertaken under the guidance of]agadguru (title of universal preceptor) Shri Hirvijaysuriji, Shri Somsundarsuriji and other acharyas (head of a medicant group). Acharya Dharmamurti stayed in Cambay and a millionaire Jain layman (Shravak) used to visit him daily for his darshan. He would first go to jinalaya (temple of jina) and then pay his respects to the Acharya. Though a millionaire, he had no false pride and his heart was full of devotion.

One day, as was his routine, he went to the Acharya to pay his respects. He was accompanied by his grand daughter Dharmalaxmi. Eight-year-old Dharmalaxmi bowed to the Acharya. The Acharya looked at her and felt that she was no ordinary girl. He said to the rich shravak, “This little girl, your grand-daughter, is no ordinary girl. She will hold aloft the banner of]inshashan (Jain order). I ask you to give her to me to be a nun.]inshashan will be proud to have her as a sadhvi.” The grandfather was stunned to hear the words of the Acharya. “How would an eightyear old girl withstand the rigours of the life of a sadhvi?”, he thought. The Acharya saw that the grandfather was a worried man. He said, “Don’t worry. Such an extraordinary being is born after long, long years. Let her grow into a pillar of religion.” The Shravak felt relieved at the Acharya’s words and his misgivings were dispelled. Dharmalaxmi (Padmalaxmi) was given to the Acharya to be a sadhvi par excellence. True to her name, she became an ornament of her religion. Dharmalaxmi began her austere life as a sadhvi at the age of eight. She was endowed with an acute mind and began the study of scriptures. In a short time, she mastered them all. At the age of eleven, she was appointed pravartini of seven hundred sadhvis, and became sadhvi mahattara. She continued her pursuit of knowledge and practised severe penance. At the age of twenty eight Dharmalaxmi left for heavenly abode. The idol of Dharmalaxmi is found in the jinalaya in Matar in Gujarat. This is the only instance of an idol of a sadhvi and of one who attained a very high status at such a young age. Bhagwan Mahavir had said: “True devotion is very rare.” It is only true devotion and faith that leads to attainment of spiritual heights. Spirituality is beyond age, gender or caste. Sadhvi Dharmlaxmi was, in the true, sense, a pillar of religion and spirituality, a devotee par excellence. Her Sadhana (sustained devotion to a cause) ensured for her an important place in the history of Jainism.

SADHVI DURGANDHARINI

Lie-sketch of Sadhvi Durgandharani reveals the transience of worldly pleasures and the glory of life dedicated to penance. Once king Shrenik and his minister Abhaykumar were enjoying the gaiety ofa fair in disguise, while they were also trying to assess opinion of the people .. At that time a girl was also engrossed in watching the fair and unwittingly she put her hand on the king’s hand. King Shrenik was attracted towards that beautiful girl and promised her to make her his queen. In memory of his promise the king gave her

his ring as a token. With the power of his sharp intelligence, Abhaykumar, the minister, could read through the meaning of this episode and in accordance with the desire of the king, Abhaykumar arranged their wedding ceremony. The prediction made by Bhagwan Mahavir regarding king Shrenik thus came to be true.

It so happened that once king Shrenik was going to attend the holy assembly of Bhagwan Mahavir and he was told by the soldiers that a young girl ~as lying under a nearby tree and her body was stinking so badly that the passers-by usecl to turn their back upon her. At the holy assembly of Bhagwan Mahavir, king Shrenik expressed his desire to know about the past and the present of that young girl. Bhagwan said that in her previous birth the young girl was the daughter of Dhanmitra of Shaligram and her name was Dhanshri. At the time of her marriage, being celebrated like a festival, a possessionless monk came there for alms. Dhanmitra welcomed him with utmost respect and asked his daughter Dhanshri to offer him the alms. She did it accordingly. Then she thought that all the tenets of the Jain religion were of high category but it would have been yet better if only it would have permitted the monks to have a bath ! Because of having expressed disgust at the stinking clothes of the monk, she incurred the karmic bondage and it was because of that bondage that she became the daughter of a courtesan in her present birth. She was named Durgandha as bad odour emanated from her body. The courtesan had deserted her in the forest. Predicting her future, Bhagwan Mahavir told king Shrenik that with the mitigation of her evil karmas, the king would accept her as his chief queen. She would be Durgandha of her previous birth and her only identity would be that he would be defeated by her in a game of shatranj (chess) and she would ride on his back, while other queens would be merely watching with the ends of their’ saris’ in their hands. The things happened exactly as predicted by Bhagwan Mahavir. King Shrenik was defeated by her in the game of shatranj and the queen that he had met in the fair mounted on his back. With the passage of time, Durgandha came to realize about her karmic bondage of the previous birth and with a view to ensuring liberation therefrom, she accepted initiation with the concurrence of king Shrenik. Queen Durgandha became a nun and joined the congregation (sangh) of Acharya Chandana. Sadhvi Durgandha’s life reveals that even a single evil thought can entangle a person in strange karmic bondage. Queen Durgandha thought seriously over the happenings of her previous birth and made a firm determination to go the righteous way. Taking a lesson from the previous birth she made good of her present life and preferred the difficult path of spiritual growth.

SADHVI ISHVARI
Once there was severe famine not for a year or two but successively for twelve years. The family of Jindatt Sheth (a wealthy merchant) of Soparak was also caught in the grip of severe drought. It was very difficult to get even a mouthful of food. Finally it was decided that Jindatt, his wife Ishvari and the entire family should die together by taking poisonous food. Even to mix poison with the food, some food was required. At last Jindatt could procure two fistful of rice by paying one lakh gold-coins. Ishvari cooked the food and just as she was going to mix the lethal poison in the food, she heard the sweet

and soothing voice of Acharya Vajrasensuri who said aloud ‘dharmalabh’ (increase in

righteousness). On hearing this Ishvari thought that eventhough life had been as bitter as poison, it was a great blessing that at the time of their taking poison the great Acharya had given them darshan. She regarded such a darshan of a sadhu at the critical moment of death as a great reward of her meritorious deeds. Overwhelmed and choked by emotions, Ishvari bowed to the Acharya respectfully. As Acharyashri saw the poison in the hands of Ishvari, he asked her the reason. Ishvari narrated the fact and having heard Ishvari’s statement, Acharya Vajrasen was reminded of his guru’s forecast. The guru had told him that when he would find a Jain laywoman of a house ready to mix poison in the food bought at a cost of one lac gold coins, it would mean that the scarcity of food consequent upon the drought would disappear the very next day.

Acharya Vajrasen told Ishvari that there was no need to mix poison in the food and eat it and that by the next day, everyone would get the food they needed. Ishvari knew full well that Acharyashri spoke nothing but the truth and that his utterances would never fail. That night ships full of foodgrains landed at the port of Soparak and from early morning all the people received the foodgrains they needed. The shadows of terrible crisis were dispelled. Jindatt also got the foodgrains and the family satiated their hunger. Jindatt’s wife Ishvari was engaged in deep reflection regarding this incident. She thought that had Acharyashri been a little late, there would have been a very unfortunate tragedy. As they would have died unnatural death, their souls would have gone to hell. Acharya Maharaj had arrived in the nick of time and saved them all from miserable and sinful death. Ishvari told her husband and all the four sons that Muniraj had gifted them each with a new life (‘jivandan’). Now they should secure from him the gift of restraint (‘sanyamdan’) so as to get rid of the miseries of the cycle of births. All the members of the family felt that Ishvari was right. Alongwith Ishvari, Jindatt and their four sons named Nagendra, Chandra, Nivrutti and Vidyadhar accepted initiation from Acharya Vajrasen by rejecting infinite wealth and all the worldly pleasures and happiness. Thus the episode relating to poisonous food turned out to be a blessing. The four sons of Sadhvi Ishvari are now regarded and respected as great saints. In the swetambara tradition four gachchha (a chapter of monk) became famous, namely, Chandragachchha, Nagendrakul, Nivrutikul and Vidyadharkul after the names of the four sons. The life of Ishvari provides inspiration to all those who intend to follow the path of spiritual welfare.

SADHVI KALAVATI
Kalavali was the queen of Shankhraja, the king of Ujjain. The story of queen Kalavali’s life is an illustration of a life lived with chaste character. Once as part of rejoicing over her being pregnant, great festivity took place in the palace. On this happy occasion, her brother sent a boxful of ornaments. Kalavati put on jewel-studded bangles which used to

give out light in the dark. This made other queens envious of her. They instigated the king and said that the king had discriminated against all other queens. Even the king himself was puzzled as from to where had Kalavati obtained her bangles. He doubted the chastity of Kalavati. He thought that the bangles might have been sent by her previous lover. Suspicion and fear know no limits. He thought that it would be better to arrange to cut off her hands wearing those shining bangles. The king lied to pregnant Kalavati that she was being sent to her parental home. Innocent Kalavati rode the chariot; next to her sat the

butcher. When the butcher stopped the chariot in a desolate place, she told him that it was not the way to her parental home: Thereupon the butcher revealed the truth to her. Kalavati was deeply shocked on learning the truth. She herself cut off her right hand. And her left hand was cut off by the butcher on her request who ultimately presented himself before the king and produced both the hands of the queen, alongwith the bangles. On reading the name of Kalavati’s brother on the bangles, the king realized the grave sin he had committed and he became unconscious. He was stung by remorse that he had doubted her chastity. How heartless was he in ordering the butcher to cut off her hands! So deep and moving was his remorse that the king decided to die on a pyre of sandalwood. His subjects made many efforts to prevent the king from taking such an extreme step. On the other hand, at the time Kalavati’s hand was cut off by the butcher, she delivered a baby-boy. Thinking that there was nobody to take care of the child in that desolate place, Kalavati began to weep loudly. All of a sudden, a thick, green forest bloomed in that desolate place; the dry river began to flow with plenty of water in it. Kalavati’s hands were restored with her bangles as they used to be previously. At that time an ascetic came there and he saw that Kalavati was alone without any companion there. Incidentally the ascetic happened to be a friend of Kalavati’s father. Having heard about her sufferings, the ascetic became extremely furious and for once he thought of creating great calamity in the reign of Shankhraja who had proved to be a tyrant. But Kalavati requested the ascetic not to be so furious; after all the ascetic was as good as her own father. Ultimately, with the sheer power of his learning, the ascetic created a residence for Kalavati and her child right there. A wood-cutter who happened to pass through the forest had seen this and he rushed to the king to narrate the episode. Back there in the kingdom the minister had succeeded in persuading the king to postpone for a month is self-immolation. The minister had promised the king to bring back the queen within that period. As the king now came to know the whereabouts of the queen, he went there to bring Kalavati back. Once a learned sadhu came to Kalavati and she told him about all her sufferings. The sadhu explained that in the previous birth Kalavati was a princess and she had cut off the wings of a bird with one of her arrows. That bird was the king in the present birth. Having known about their previous births and the pattern of their karma (action) the king and the queen both wholeheartedly accepted the path of penance and followed spiritual path.

SADHVI MADANREKHA

Yugbahu was the younger brother of king Manirath of Sudarshanpur. His wife
Madanrekha was extremely beautiful. Manirath was infatuated by Madanrekha’s beauty and by sending to her some precious ornaments, clothes and fragrant flowers he conveyed his desire for copulation with her. Madanrekha explicitly told him that it did not befit him to think of his younger brother’s wife thus. But Manirath’s infatuation became more and more intense. Infatuation of a lustful man destroys his sense of discretion. King Manirath decided to get Madanrekha by any means and he planned to kill his younger brother

Yugbahu. Once Yugbahu was fast asleep in the Kadaligruha near Vasantpur and all of a sudden Manirath came there and attacked him with a sword. On listening the screams of frightened Madanrekha, brave warriors arrived there and caught hold of the king Manirath. However Yugbahu was forebearing and asked his warriors not to kill his elder

brother because whatever happened was the result of his previous birth. Thus Manirath escaped his death, but thinking that he had been successful in killing his brother, he was in a happy mood. Yet strange are the ways of fate and karma. While he was passing through the forest, the king Manirath had a snake-bite and he died. While Yugbahu was breathing his last, his son Chandrayatha came there. Madanrekha chanted to her dying husband prayers. Listening to an inspiring and spiritual discourse Yugbahu passed away and ultimately took birth in the Brahry.adevlok as a god. On the other hand, Madanrekha became extremely distressed as she felt that she had been the cause of her husband’s death, and suffered self-mortification. She preferred to stay in a lonesome place in a forest with concealed identity. There she gave birth to her second son. She put a ring, marked with Yugbahu’s name, on the young child’s finger and having placed the new-born child under a tree, in a jewel-studded blanket, she went for a bath in a pond. Calamity never comes alone; they come in a battalion. While Madanrekha was having her bath in the pond, a water-elephant rolled her up in his trunk and waved her vigorously in the air. Vidyadhar whQ happened to pass through the sky protected her. Her saviour Vidyadhar, too, was also infatuated by her beauty. While as a mother Madanrekha was extremely anxious about her new-born child. Hence she requested Vidyadhar to bring her child to her or to take her to the place where the child was. She felt that her child would die crying in her absence. As Vidyadhar was infatuated by Madanrekha’s beauty, he asked her to accept him as a husband first of all and then he would do everything as per her desire. They both met muniraj Manchur while on a pilgrimage to Nandishvar Dwipa. His discourse made Vidyadhar accept her as his sister. When Madanrekha arrived at Mithila she came to know that king Chandrayatha of Sudarshanpur and King Namikumar of Mithila were engaged in a war. Having accepted initiation Madanrekha was known as Suvrata Sadhvi. She secured the permission of her guruni (female spiritual teacher) and went to the battle-field to prevent the large-scale destuction and loss resulting from a war. The reason for the war was only this that a white elephant that had escaped from king Namiraj was forcibly detained by king Chandrayatha. On the battle-field Madanrekha delivered a spiritual discourse and she led both the kings aside and told them details about their previous life and both of them embraced each other as they happened to be brothers. Instead of heavy destruction of a war, the battle field became a joyous meetingplace of two brothers.

SADHVI MALAYSUNDARI
It was love at first sight between Malaysundari and Mahabalkumar. It was so steadfast a bond between the two that they could weather many a storm before and after

their marriage. Malaysundari was the daughter of king Virdhaval and queen Champakmala of Prithvisthanpur. Mahabalkumar was the son of king Surpal. Malaysundari’s step-mother Kanakvati had tried to create a rift between the two for Mahabal had spurned her amorous advances. Mahabal with the help of some secret

formula, assumed female form and frustrated Kanakvati’s designs. Kanakvati instigated the king against Malaysundari and he, at once ordered that she should be thrown into a well. She fell into the mouth of a python. The python half swallowed her and slowly came out of the well. It was about to girdle round a huge tree, when Bahubal, chasing a demon, happened to see the python and saw a human being in its mouth. He got hold ofthe python and tore it from its mouth into two. A woman, in the semiconscious state, stumbled out of the python’s mouth and she uttered the word ‘Mahabalkumar’. He, then, recognised her as Malaysundari. He also saw a man

menacingly advancing towards them. He took out from his hair a magic tablet, applied a tilak (dot) on her forehead and she turned into a man. He said, “You will assume your original form only when the dot is erased by me.” The king learnt about his second wife’s design to deprive him of his daughter. He and his first queen i.e. Kanakvati’s mother, decided to end their lives. Mahabal then appeared there and informed them that Malaysundari was alive. He also asked them to organise swayamvar (assembly of prospective grooms), and prophesied that she would materialise from a wooden pillar. King Virdhaval organised the swayamvar as bid by Mahabal. He appeared at the spot as a veena (musical instrument) player. Malaysundari appeared there and garlanded him to indicate that she had chosen him as her husband. The frustrated princes drew their swords and attacked Mahabal who showed extraordinary courage and subdued them. Then Mahahal and Malaysundari tied the nuptial knot and went to a temple to offer prayers. It was a deserted place and Mahabal, therefore, changed Malaysundari into a man. Suddenly he heard a woman crying and went to her rescue. A day passed but he did not return. Malaysundari, disguised as man, returned to Prithvisthanpur. The news about the disappearance of Mahabal had reached Prithvisthanpur and a hunt was launched to find him. Malaysundari, in the garb of a man, was discovered and earings and turban of Mahabal were found on her person. Malaysundari pleaded innocence and the king decided to find out the truth. She was taken to a temple of a Yaksha (a celestial being) called Dhananjay. A poisonous snake was kept in a pot. She was asked to take it out with her hand. If innocent, the snake would not harm her. Malaysundari prayed and put her hand into the pot and took the three feet long, black snake out. She was unscathed. The snake put round her neck a garland and wiped out the tilak from her forehead. Malaysundari soon assumed her original form. The king and the people were surprised at the turn of ev:mts. Many such miraculous events took place in the life of Malaysundari. She suffered too for having slighted a jain muni, but then she and Mahabal decided to exercise restraint and wore white clothes. In no time sadhvi Malaysundari became mahattara.

SADHVI MANORAMA

Princess Manorama was young and wallowing in luxuries. She enjoyed all conceivable material comforts. To top it all, she was alluringly lovely. She thought: “I am beautiful, rich and happy. I want my husband also to be equally rich and handsome. I will get

betrothed to such a man.” Manorama enjoyed life to the hilt. Cupid, the love-god, had struck his arrows and she became love-lorn. Many a prince had expressed a desire to tie the nuptial knot with her but Manorama found them all uninteresting and all the proposals were spurned. Once Manorama was being carried in a palanquin and she heard a youth’s sweet, mellifluous voice. It struck a responsive chord in her heart and she felt happy. She stopped to listen to the narration of love-sports in spring and of intoxicating tales of love full of shringar rasa (amorous).

She exclaimed, “Ah, I’ve found someone interesting.” Her amorous passions were aroused and felt an instant desire to see him and accept him as her mate. She ordered the palanquin bearers to go in search of that man who had caused such a commotion in her heart. She herself arrived at an upashraya in search of the man whose voice had hypnotised her. At that time Acharya Abhaydevsuriji was preaching his disciples. The disciples were absorbed in listening to what the guru was saying. Princess Manorama, hypnotised as she was, lost herself in the Acharya’s eloquence. She approached the Acharya and said, “O prince! Accept me. You and I would make a unique blend and it would be heaven on earth.” The Acharya knew what she meant. He read her mind and knew what her feelings were. He lovingly said, “0 princess! the song that you heard and in whose trail you came here is not yet complete. Listen to it and you will experience bliss. Then act the way you want to.” Acharya’s voice rang out shringar rasa (sentiment of am or) slowly turned into shanta rasa (sentiment of quietism), making everyone feel inner peace and harmony. The feeling of physical attraction and of physical love melted away giving way to the feeling ofvairagya (renunciation). The Acharya, then, narrated how even goddesses made their way to the supreme god. And then he also gave a description of the Supreme Being. He expounded on the significance of the beauty of soul which is far superior to the physical one. Self-abnegation and sacrifice are far more important than accumulation of wealth or possessions. Princess Manorama was now a transformed Manorama. Her passions and desires were completely purged, attachment turned into detachment and she accepted the robes of a nun. Life-sketch of Sadhvi Manorama reveals the fact that unlike the body, the spirit or the Atma (soul) is of utmost significance. Indeed human beings chase the corporeal joys and pleasures but such joys are finite. A beautiful and young looking body is subjected to old age and death; passions, desires and attachments that are associated with the body are as well destructible. Only the determined souls can attain the ultimate vairagya or freedom from passion and attachment. Thereby one can genuinely devote one’s self to the pursuit of Tirthankar, the incarnate vitrag. The remarkable change in the life of Manorama is illustrative of a great phenomenon of transformation of life-style.

SADHVI MRUGAVATI
Mrugavati was the daughter of Vaishali’s king Chetak and the queen of Kaushambi’s king Shatanik; she used to have family relations with prince Vardhaman. Besides having all the virtues, she happened to possess immense skill in state affairs and administration, brought up as she was in the palatial atmosphere.

Once an artist came to the court of Kaushambi. He had the divine blessing of painting a full human figure only by seeing one of the limbs of the person. By chance, the artist happened to have a look at the royal palace; there he saw a toe of a female figure. On the basis of these details, this skilled artist prepared a full-fledged painting of the female figure. While he was painting, a drop of soot fell on the thigh of the painted young lady. The artist wiped it off immediately but it happened again while he was applying the colours. When it happened the third time, the artist thought that there might be a blot on her thigh and he allowed it to be there. This painting happened to be that of queen Mrugavati and as the king saw the blot on the thigh, he became furious. Thinking that the artist might have abused her chastity, the king

imprisoned the artist immediately. Other artists told the king that the artist had a divine skill to draw a full-fledged painting of a human figure on the basis of a glimpse of one limb only. To test his skill, the king arranged to show him a face of an ugly maid-servant and asked him to paint a full figure and the artist did it successfully. The king realized the skill of the artist; however he ordered that the artist’s right thumb should be cut off. The artist was greatly shocked and he decided to avenge it; so he drew a very tempting painting of Mrugavati who was the most beautiful woman of the time. He sent the painting to Ujjain’s king Chandapradyot who had fatal attraction for women. Chandrapradyot tried to possess Mrugavati but ultimately under the impact of Mahavir’ s sermon, she accepted initiation and Chandapradyot promised to look after Mrugavati’s son and her kingdom. Once Sadhvi Mrugavati had gone to attend a gathering of Bhagwan Mahavir and she was engrossed in listening to his sermon so much that she hardly realised that it was almost evening time. Consequently she became late in returning to the upashraya (a place for the stay of Jain monks & nuns), whereupon Acharya Chandana reprimanded her. Mrugavati begged to be forgiven but Acharya Chandana felt great remorse and this expiation led to lofty spiritual feelings in Mrugavati. With the annihilation of harmful karmas (actions), she acquired absolute knowledge. Once a poisonous serpent was passing by the santhara (bed of sacred grass darbh) of Sadhvi Chandana. With the power of her divine sight, she could see the poisonous serpent and immediately lifted Chandana’s hand lying in its way. As a result of touching of somebody’s hand, Acharya Chandana awoke all of a sudden and on being asked, Mrugavati pointed to the serpent hidden in a dark corner. Thereupon Acharya Chandana asked her, “While it is impossible to see even the palm of a hand in this thick darkness of the night, how could you detect the serpent ?” Mrugavati said, “Because of your kind blessings, I have acquired divine knowledge.” Sadhvi Chandana bowed before Mrugavati with utmost respect and as there was manifestation of lofty feelings in the heart of Chandana, she too acquired divine knowledge. Mrugavati occupies a special place among 16 distinguistedsatis of Jain reli~on, ones who are considered worth worshipping early in the morning (Pratahsmaraniya). One finds her story in the literature of all the three religions - Hindu, Bauddha and Jain.

SADHVI NARMADASUNDARI
Narmadasundari, holder of 64 feminine arts, was married to Maheshvardalta. After
her marriage, she greatly impressed her in-laws by her strict pursuit of Jain religion. Once upon a time, Narmadasundari was standing in a balcony and she spat the chewed betel leaf which fell on the head of a monk who happened to pass along the street. The monk looked up and told her that for having shown disrespect to a monk, she would suffer separation from her husband. Having realized her mistake, she came running down she bowed to the monk and earnestly requested the saint not to curse her.

The monk said, “A Jain monk would never curse. It is only the karma that make you suffer.” For some business, Maheshvardatta was going to a foreign land and along with his wife he went for a cruise. One night, melodious music was heard from an island whereupon Maheshvardatta said that the singer must be very expert in the art of music. Besides the art of music, Narmadasundari had also studied the science of voice. Just by listening to the voice, she could make a lifelike description of the singer. Hence Narmadasundari said, “Indeed the singer is expert in singing, but he is black, his hands are muscular and hair rough. He is a young man of thirty-two with a broad chaste.” Narmadasundari’s detailed description of the singer raised many doubts in the mind of her husband. He wondered as to how could she have such a detailed information about a

third person. In anger he decided to abdicate her. The ship made a halt at Rakshasa Dwipa; while Narmadasundari was sleeping under the shade of a tree, Maheshvardatta left her asleep and returned to the ship and told others that his wife was killedby a monster in the form of a tiger. Thereafter, Maheshvardatta earned a lot of money in Yavan Dwipa. On returning to the home-town, Maheshvardatta informed Narmadasundari’s parents about the death of Narmadasundari and performed all the obsequial rites. When she was awakened, Narmadasundari had to face many difficulties and began to weep loudly; she began to pass her days taking recourse to religion. Her uncle Virdas came there and accompanied her back but on the way, she fell prey to a courtesan. There she was tortured and beaten heavily but she did not budge a little. When the courtesan died, the king called her to the court to take the place of the dead courtesan. In order to protect and save her character, she jumped into a ditch and behaved like a mad woman. People thought that she was either a mad woman or a witch and let her go. Finally Narmadasundari arrived at her parents’ home and passed her days peacefully. Once when she asked Suhastisuriji about her previous birth, he said that as a ruling goddess of the river Narmada in the previous birth, she had harassed the monks residing on the bank. Having known about her previous birth, she accepted initiation and after severe penance she acquired clairvoyance. Once she was on a tour when Maheshvardatta came to Sadhvi Narmadasundari to offer his respects. This was the time when everything was explained and Maheshvardatta repented greatly for his behaviour. Sadhviji told him, “You are not at fault in this matter. Every soul has to suffer according to the karmas that it has performed.” Maheshvardatta also accepted initiation and both attained salvation on the banks of the Narmada.

SADHVI PADMAVATI (CHITRASEN)
Prince Chitrasen was attracted by the statue of a very beautiful woman and decided to find that woman at any cost.

Ratnasar, the Prince’s friend, met Kevali Muni and said, “With the immense power of your knowledge, kindly let us know if there is such a princess like the one in a statue.” Muni said, “This stone statue is a copy of princess Padmavati, the daughter of Queen

Padmashri and king Padmarath of Padmapur. Her beauty is carved by a sculptor named Sagar but since Padmavati hates men, she has remained unmarried so far.” This disappointed Chitrasen but the monk consoled him. He also told the prince that a tragic event of Padmavati’s earlier birth had made her hate manfolk. In the previous birth, a pair of swans together with their little ones, lived happily. Once there was a wild fire in the forest and the male swan went to fetch water. As the lake was far away, he was delayed in returning. The female swan was unable to flyaway together with her little ones. As the swan did not return, the female swan thought that males are faithless and heartless and they betray the females. If ever she knew that males to be so selfish she would not have lived with her mate at all. This male-hating female swan, together with her little ones,

died in the fire. As the male-swan returned he saw that his mate and little ones had died in the fire and under the impact of the severe shock he too jumped into the fire and was burnt alive. The monk told the tale of the couple’s previous birth and then he suggested a remedy. If Chitrasen would show Padmavati the pictures of the previous birth, her hatred for manfolk would disappear as the ice gets melted in heat and she would be ready for the marriage. Indeed it happened likewise. Padmavati, daughter of king Padmarath, did get married to Chitrasen. As time passed, Chitrasen became uneasy with all the memories of Vasantpur. Alongwith Padmavati and Ratnasar he left for Vasantpur. There king Virsen and Chitrasen’s step mother tried to kill Chitrasen three times but both failed in their efforts. Ratnasar once heard the prediction from the Yaksha that one night a cobra would bite the prince and if saved from, he would rule Kalinga for years to corne. That night Ratnasar killed the cobra with a sword in the bed-room of Chitrasen but the drops of blood fell on the thigh of queen Padmavati. Thinking that the blood-stains of the poisonous serpant would be fatal to the queen, Ratnasar tried to wipe those blood-stains with his scarf. Just at that moment, the king awoke all of a sudden and having seen the sight, he doubted the integrity of Ratnasar. Ratnasar was in a dilemma. If he told everything that had happened he would be transformed into a black stone as per the forecast by the Yaksha and if he did not tell the truth, Chitrasen’s doubts would be confirmed. At last Ratnasar told the truth and he was transformed into a stone. Chitrasen seriously considered the doubts he entertained about Ratnasar and the sacrifice latter had made for him and he decided to die with such a loyal friend on his funeral pyre. Having been pleased with such a friendship, the Yaksha manifested himself and said, “If an absolutely chaste woman, along with his newly born son, would touch Ratnasar he would corne alive.” In due course a son was born to queen Padmavati and she being a chaste woman, Ratnasar carne to life again at her touch. Later they all renounced the world and attained salvation.

SADHVI PAHINIMATA
Pahini was the wife of Sheth Sachig of Dhandhuka and was a sister of the renowned merchant Neminath. One night Pahini dreamt that somebody was prompting her to accept the divine jewel named Chintamani. She accepted the jewel in her dream and dedicated that jewel to her guru. She had tears of joy in her eyes and just at that time her eyes opened.

Pahini thought that as gurudev Devchandrasuriji was in the town at that time, it was better to consult him regarding the interpretation of her dream. Acharya Devchandrasuri told her that she would give birth to a child who would be a jewel among men and in his later age he shall become a great guru. The words of the guru gave her immense joy. In A. D. 1089, she gave birth to a baby-boy. The parents named him Changdevj ‘chang’ meaning the best. The little Changdev once sat on a pat (cot) of the Acharya. Pahini had immense faith in her guru. It was but natural for a mother to desire that her son should achieve the highest attainment in life, since she regarded sadhuta (the ascetic way of life) as the ultimate achievement in life. Changdev’s parents gave him permission for the initiation. The mother who had given birth to such a great personality had also followed in the footsteps of her son. His parents were present on the occasion and so greatly were

they inspired that together with the son the mother also accepted the path of penance and became a sadhvij Pahini was given the title of Pravartini (head of the order of nuns). Changdev was named Soma chandra and in course of time he was conferred the title of Acharya and was named Hemchandrasuri. ‘Kalikalsarvagna’ (omniscient in the Kali age) Hemchandracharya was a treasure-house of knowledge and he wrote many books on numerous and varied subjects. He provided guidance to the rulers of Gujarat like Jaysinha Siddharaj and Kumarpal. He enhanced the glory of the Jain religion. His impact was felt by the commonest man to the kings. He had undertaken five vows in his life and he had controlled his senses and it was exemplary for others. He was full of compassion and mercy. Sadhvi Pahini was constantly engrossed in the pursuit of knowledge and meditation. In the heart of her hearts, she felt extreme joy at the extraordinary knowledge and wisdom of her son Hemchandrasuri as also by his unusual yogsiddhi and great religious impact. Shri Hemchandracharya also took utmost care of his mother whom he greatly adored. Sadhviji was bed-ridden and the group of nuns around her was busy with the religious worship. Sadhvi Pahini now was engrossed in penance and meditation. In the course of his journey on foot, Acharya Hemchandracharya happened to arrive at Patan, the town in which lived Pravartini Pahini who had renounced food and water. Many devotees used to come for her darshan. All of them paid high respects to Sadhvi Pahini who as a mother had dedicated her young son to the cause of religion. When Pravartini Pahini passed away at last, the Jains spent rupees three crore for the philanthropic activities. The son who had renounced everything in the wprld had the unique contribution of three lakh shlokas (verses) in memory of her great mother who had firm faith in religion.

SADHVI POYANI

It is an outstanding feature of the Jain religion that alongwith the monks, it has also accorded a respectable place to nuns. A look at the order of Jain nuns would give an idea that women from all castes, creeds and classes have been admitted to it for spiritual pursuit, without any narrow minded considerations. It is not that only women from the royal families, having abundant wealth, have joined this fold but even maid-servants, courtesans and the down-trodden women have also accepted initiation for personal growth. They too have ultimately become respected personalities in the community and

the religious culture. All such women have become epitome of knowledge, exemplary character and severe penance. Even the mighty kings and the most leading citizens used to leave their seats and bow down before the sacred nuns. Sadhvi Poyani is one of the sixteensatis (chaste and virtuous wives) whom people bow down even today and whose names are remembered alongwith the names of the Tirthankars (builders of the ford).

These Jain nuns have made significant contribution as authors and have shown their power of memory. The Sanskrit version of ~he Prakrut word q1~uft is ‘Potini’, which means a woman having a fleet of ships. Arya Poyani had helped many religious people, for their safest voyage in the ocean of worldly life, with the help of her ship of jnana-marg - the path of learning and knowledge. Arya Poyani enjoys a unique place in the Jain religion because of her versatility, purity of conduct and quality of leadership. The life of Arya Poyani illustrates the fact that in the manner of Jain monks, the Jain nuns also awakened spiritual consciousness among the people at large by travelling on foot armed with utmost faith, devotion and a spirit of adventure. Arya Poyani was the head of the order of nuns (Sadhvi-Pramukha) in the times of preceptor (Vachanacharya) Balissahji. An eventful incident relating to jain history took place during the times of Kaling Chakravarti Mahameghvahan Kharvel. King Kharvel came to know that Pushyamitra, the king of Pataliputra was persecuting the Jains. Kharvel invaded Pataliputra; Pushyamitra surrendered himself and having pledged not to persecute the Jains in future, he signed a treaty. But in course of time, Pushyamitra again resorted to atrocities. Hence after four years, Kharvel invaded Pataliputra with a large army and he became victorious. In the annals of Indian history, king Kharvel enjoys a unique place as a Jain ruler having unparallel chivalry, extraordinary spirit of adventure, intense devotion to religion and matchless compassion for co-religionists. Thereafter he invited the four sects of the sangh on the Kumargiri mountain and organised the secondAgamvachana conference with a view to systematically compiling and thus protecting the Agam (Jain canonical literature) literature. 300 learned sadhvis participated in this conference under the leadership of Arya Poyani. As Arya Poyani was an authority on the Agam literature, she made a decisive contribution in determining the text of the Agams. Sadhvi Poyani was scholarly, devoted to sacred precepts and efficient in the management of the Sangh. By undertaking journey on foot, she used to create spiritual awakening among the people and she also assisted the sangh in propagating the religion.

SADHVI PUSHPACHULA

Sadvi Pushpachula’s life-sketch is a unique example of devotion to guru (spiritual teacher). Queen Pushpavati, the wife of Pushpaketu, the king of Pruthvipur, gave birth to twins - a baby-girl and a baby-boy. The boy was named Pushpachul and the girl was named Pushpachula. There was great love between the brother and the sister so much so

that they could not stay apart even for a second. As they grew, the king started thinking about their marriage. But he was worried as to how his twin children would bear their separation which was inevitable in the event of their marriage. After considering all the facts the king decided to get them married to each other with great hesitation. The King’s decision was based on his conviction that both of them were the best suitable partners for each other.

This incident caused a great commotion and pain in the mind of the queen Pushpavati. Such a life, full of attachment and affection, created a desire for renunciation. She devoted herself to severe penance and attained goddesshood of the divine world. In course of time, Pushpachul and Pushpachula became the king and the queen respectively of Pruthvipur. With her power of clairvoyance, their mother now as a goddess in the divine world, watched the heinous deeds of her daughter and the son. The goddess was greatly distressed and she so contrived the things that queen Pushpachula had the dreams of heaven and hell. There upon queen Pushpachula asked Acharya Arnikaputra about the meaning of those dreams. Unfolding the meaning of those dreams, Acharyashri said that the soul is friendly to a person who does good deeds, while it serves as an enemy to one who performs evil deeds. Soon queen Pushpachula felt immense repentence. The preachings of Acharya Arnikaputra dispelled and removed her ignorance and infatuation. She asked her husband’s permission for living an ascetic’s life. He granted the permission but he put the condition that after her initiation she would take alms only from his place. With his power of scriptural knowledge, Acharya Arnikaputra could foresee a severe famine, so he sent his disciples to far away regions. But because of his extreme old age, he was compelled to stay in the same place. With unfailing faith, Sadhvi Pushpachula concentrated all her efforts on the care and service of her guru. Consequently, she acquired kevalajnana (absolute knowledge). Once she returned with alms from outside in heavy rain. Acharya Arnikputra questioned her about it and she justified her action of bringing food in the rains. Thereupon theguru realized that Pushpachula had attained absolute knowledge. The guru therefore begged her apology for taking service from her though she was a kevali (the isolated one separated from karmas). Sadhvi Pushpachula thought that it was her great fortune that a saintly guru like him had shown a very noble gesture to her. Sadhvi Pushpachula lived during the time of Bhagwan Mahavir. Her life-sketch illustrates the fact that noble actions yield good rewards and evil actions yield bitter fruits. Her evil karmas led her to a wrong path, whereas her mother led her to a righteous path. Moreover, it was because of her devoted service to the guru that she acquired pure and absolute knowledge. Besides, the quality of humility inherelLt in the Jain religion is also reflected in the apologetic behaviour of Sadhu Aranikaputra. Such humility only makes one great and noble.

SADHVI RUDRASOMA
Somdev was a royal priest to the king of Dashpur. His wife Rudrasoma ;ave birth ;0 a brilliant child named Aryarakshit. An authority on Vedas (the oldest sacred books of
the Hindus) and a learned man, Somdev was immensely loved both by the king and the people. His wife Rudrasoma was held in high respect by the common people because of her intense love for the Jain religion. Somdev sent his son Aryarakshit to Pataliputra for further studies. In Patliputra he studied six angas (Jain canonical literature) and the vedas.

After being well-versed in all the branches of learning Rakshit returned from Pataliputra to Dashpur and his entry into the city was celebrated both by the king and the people with enthusiasm at a grand function, and was honoured too. Aryarakshit ran down to his mother to pay his respects and to bow down to her but he found that his mother was engaged in practising equanimity. As he found his mother practising equanimity, he was choked with emotions and bowed down. Then the mother merely cast a loving glance at her son who had anticipated that her mother would express boundless joy and love on his arrival. Rakshit, the scholar, was puzzled by the attitude of his mother. He knew too well that his mother was simplicity, love and affection incarnate anq. was never disturbed and yet she was not at all happy on such a glorious event. On being asked by Rakshit the reason for

her passivity, his mother said that as a result of the scholarship he had got, he would get great honour, fame and money but it would not serve any meaning as regards the spiritual well-being or uplift of his own self or that of others. Even the birds and animals were able to meet the needs of their belly. Such a learning had no meaning in her view. She added that her innermost desire was that her son should study Drashtivad (a title of twelfth anga work), and should acquaint himself with the spiritual path and acquire genuine self-realization. Rakshit determined to fulfill the desire of his mother. She told him that Acharya Toshaliputra was camping outside the town; only he could provide the desired learning. Aryarakshit passed the night in a disturbed state. Early in the morning he paid his respects to his mother and went to Acharya Toshaliputra and requested him to teach him Drashtivad. Acharyashri told him that Drashtivad could only be taught to a saint who had accepted initiation as a possessionless shraman (Jain ascetic). Having listened to this, Aryarakshit unhesitatingly accepted the initiation and immediately started the study of Ekadashangi (the eleven angas). So keen was his desire for the pursuit of knowledge that Aryarakshit approached Vajraswami, the greatest authority of his time and studied nine purvas (early canons) under him intensively. In view of the adequacy of his learning, Acharya Toshaliputra conferred upon him the title of Ganacharya (a leader of a group of monks). When Aryarakshit’s brother Falgurakshit came there to escort him back home, he too was inspired to accept initiation by the impact of the preachings of Aryarakshit. Both the brothers came to the town of Dashpur. Their mother had tears of joy in her eyes on seeing the spiritual awareness and keenness of her sons. Somdev, the royal priest, Rudrasoma, the mother and the entire family accepted initiation. In due course of time, sadhu Rakshit was known as Yugpradhan (the formost spiritual leader in the age) Acharya Rakshitsuriji. In view of the needs of the future generation, Acharya Rakshitsuriji compiled the agams in four anuyoga (a group of post canonical texts). Along with the name of Acharya Rakshitsuriji, Sadhvi Rudrasoma’s name also became immortal.

SADHVI RUKMINI

A great personality and a great saint Arya Vajra had arrived at Pataliputra and was staying near the garden outside the city. Almost the entire city had been out for his darshan. Rukmini, the only child of Pataliputra’s richest merchant, had also gone to the garden

with her friends. All of them - the young and the old - were engrossed in the heavenly delight of the religious discourse of Arya Vajra who was cool, calm and collected and was glowing with the lustre of celibacy. Unlike the multitude, Rukmini was attracted and infatuated by the physical beauty of Arya Vajra. Strange are the ways of the mind. Rukmini began to cherish sweet dreams of her future married life, thinking of Arya Vajra as her husband. In fact she was determined to marry him and she conveyed this to her parents also and added that if the marriage would not

take place, she would immolate herself on the pyre. It was unbearable for her to live without him in seperation - so intense was her infatuation! Rukmini’s father Dhan Shresthi (great merchant) was a money-minded man and considered everything in terms of money. He thought that if he gave inexhaustible wealth to Arya Vajra, he would surely marry Rukmini renouncing his saintliness instantly. Alongwith his daughter bedecked with costly clothes and valuable ornaments and 100 crore mudras (coins), Dhan Shreshti went to Arya Vajra and requested him to accept Rukmini as his wife since she had already regarded him as her husband. He also added that with the 100 crore mudras Arya Vajra would be able to enjoy all the worldly pleasures of life. Having made the tempting proposal of wife and wealth, Dhan bowed to Arya Vajra and looked expectantly for a suitable answer. But Arya Vajra was firm as regards his path of renunciation and he was not at all moved by the tempting offer. Unmoved as he was, he said very calmly, “0 Great merchant! By temperament you are very simple and innocent. You intend to entangle me in all the bondages that I have already renounced. Do you think one would let go the desire-fulfilling-tree (Kalpvruksha) for a small blade of grass ? Would one barter one’s swan for a crow ? You are trying to tempt me by worldly, sensual pleasures and enjoyment and thereby you intend to deprive me of my penance and renunciation that are worthy of ensuring me desired bliss. If your daughter really intends to follow me, she should accept and follow the great vows accepted by me, namely samyak jnana (enlightened knowledge), samyak darshan (enlightened world view) and samyak charitra (enlightened conduct). She should be prepared and get ready to tread the path of spiritual upliftment by accepting my way of life of austere discipline and devotion.” Such a sweetly convincing speech of Arya Vajra dispelled the infatuation of Rukmini. The more she listened to him, the more enlightened she felt and all her doubts, ignorance and attachment were dispelled. She was now inspired by the preachings of a person whom she had regarded as her husband; now he was a godly figure and Arya Vajra led her on to a righteous path of spiritual bliss.

SADHVI RUSHIDATTA

Dressed as a bride-groom, prince Kanak, alongwith his ministers, royal servants and guards, was passing throuli1jh the jungle. On his way he saw that an aged ascetic
was performing penance on a stone-seat and nearby him a beautiful girl was standing. Kanakkumar, son of king Hemrath, fell in love with the girl as soon as he saw her. Simultaneously he was surprised as to who would be that beautiful girl standing near a

rushi (saint with miraculous power) who was having on his body royal signs. Rushi

Harishen told him that once he was famous as king Harishen of Tambavati and he had with him a medicine to remove poison given to him by an ascetic. He used to remove poison of many persons with the help of that medicine. Pritimati, daughter of king Prithvipati of Manglavati, had a snake-bite and it was king Harishen who removed her poison. Since Harishen had given her new life, Prithvipati got princess Pritimati married to Harishen. Some years later king Harishen happened to listen

to the sermon of Maharshi Vishvabhuti and he decided to abdicate his kingdom and the world and to go for penance. Queen Pritimati also became a nun to achieve fulfilment in life. But, Pritimati was pregnant and she delivered a daughter after she became a nun. On the ninth day of the delivery, Pritimati passed away and Rushi Harishen acted as the bereaved girl’s father and named her as Rushidatta. Rushi Harishen put a proposal to prince Kanakkumar to accept Rushidatta in marriage. She was extremely happy to have a husband like Kanakkumar. He was betrothed to Rukimini who felt insulted and being enraged, she decided to have her revenge on Rushidatta and with the help of yogini (female meditator with black magic) Sulasa, she managed to place a piece of mutton in Rushidatta’s bedroom and also to apply blood on her lips. Yogini Sulasa was active in killing humans every night in the city but she told the king that Rushidatta was a witch and man-eater. King Hemrath ordered that since Rushidatta was a witch she should be taken to the forest and should be burnt alive on a pyre with wet woods, so that she may die with utmost pain. He added that those who kill others mercilessly should die like this. The pyre was lit in the forest but as there was heavy rain all around and total darkness in the forest, Rushidatta did not suffer any injury. Rushi Harishen had attained svargalok (heaven) by his death in deep meditation and with his divine knowledge he saw that Rushidattq, his daughter of his previous birth, was in great trouble. Hence he gave Rushidatta two types of knowledge with which she could change her form. With the aid of first type of knowledge she could have the desired form and with the power of the other form she could regain her original form. When the marriage of Kanakkumar was arranged with Rukmini, Rushidatta assumed a divine form of a young Rushi. As the forecasts of young Rushi came to be true, Kanakkumar insisted that the Rushi should stay with him. Intoxicated with pride, Rukmini told Kanakkumar that it was at her instance that Sulasa yogini had indulged in human killing and it was she who had proved Rushidatta as a man-eater. Prince Kanakkumar became so furious that he rushed to behead her but soon he was prevented by that young Rushi. The young Rushi then regained his original form and became Rushidatta. Later Rushidatta came to know from Muni Dharmavijayji, who was in the city at that time, that whatever she suffered was the result of actions of her earlier birth. Hence Rushidatta decided to accept initiation and with severe penance she attained absolute knowledge and ultimately, salvation.

SADHVI SHIYALVATI
Ajitsen, minister to the king of N andannagar, was highly intelligent. His wife Shiyalvati possessed profound knowledge of the science of omens (sukan-shastra) and as Ajitsen used to carry out his business at auspicious moment as per her advice, his wealth continued to increase constantly. Once the king of Nandannagar attacked some other kingdom; he ordered his minister Ajitsen to join him in the war. Shiyalvati thought that this would cause a very long separation; hence she garlanded him and added, “So long as

the flowers of the garland don’t wither you should be assured that my chastity is well-

protected and intact.” A few days later, the king saw a garland of fresh flowers around Ajitsen’s neck. Surprised as he was, he became anxious to know the secret behind such a garland in a battlefield. The royal courtiers told the king about Shiyalvati’s fidelity to her husband. Meanwhile a minister named Ashok made a mockery of chastity. The king gave the minister one and a half lakh dramm (kind of ancient coin) for putting her chastity to test. Minister Ashok went to the flower-girl (‘ malan’) and told her to go to Shiyalvati and tell her that some handsome person wanted to meet her. The flower-girl asked half a lakh coins for that task. The flower-girl went to Shiyalvati. Shiyalvati decided to teach a lesson to the capricious minister who had planned to mock and defile the chastity of somebody’ s wife. Shiyalvati told the flower-girl to give her half a lakh coins so as to execute the task.

Shiyalvati arranged to dig a very deep pit in her house and put upon it a cot without strings and covered it with a bed-spread. Ashok, the minister, came there in a jovial mood. According to Shiyalvati’s instructions, her maid-servant told the minister to give her the money he had brought and to wait and sit on the cot. The minister hurriedly rushed into the dark room and just as he went ahead to sit on the cot he fell in the pit. As the minister Ashok did not return, another minister named Kamankur came to her; he was followed by the third minister, Lalitang and the fourth one named Ratikeli - one after another they came at an interval of a month with malicious intention of defiling her chastity. Shiyalvati took money from all of them and threw them into the pit. In due course of time, having been victorious, Sinhraja returned to the city. On her husband’s return Shiyalvati presented four huge boxes to the king. When the boxes were opened by the king, four ghostly men came out of the boxes. Everyone had heavily grown bread, moustache and hair, looking horrible. Their eyes had sunk very deep and they had become lean and feeble. The king ultimately realized that the four ghostly persons were his own ministers. The ministers described the miserable plight they had to suffer and their utter failure in the mission. The king greatly respected Shiyalvati for her chastity and tactfulness. Shiyalvati knew the language of the birds and animals. Once on listening the barking of a jackal she left for the thick forest in the darkness of the night with a pitcher on her head. Her father-in-law doubted her chastity and with a view to sending her to her parent’s home, he followed her. On his way, he was surprised to see Shiyalvati talking to a crow. As conveyed by the crow, Shiyalvati told her father-in-law that there were pitchers containing money under the tree. On digging under the tree, they found four pitchers containing gold. Shiyalvati’s father-in-law begged her apology. Shiyalvati and her husband accepted initiation and after their death they attained the fifth devlok (celestial world) and ultimately attained salvation.

SADHVI SUKUMAUKA

Princess Sukumalika was extremely beautiful. Both her brothers had accepted initiation from the Jainacharya and their faces too glowed with the lustre of sainthood. The princess also desired to follow the path of her brothers. Great and glorious is the path of penance. It destroyes the karmic bondage and leads to the path of salvation. Leaving behind the

luxury and pleasures of royal life, princess Sukumalika preferred the path of renunciation. Princess Sukumalika became sadhvi (nun) Sukumalika. But even the white robe of a sadhvi could not disguise her alluring beauty. Her incomparable beauty attracted the sight of many lustful men. Sadhvi Sukumalika realised that the entire world was mad after outward physical beauty. Her own beauty caused infatuation and lust among men. She decided to transform her outward physical beauty to inner elegance by means of renunciation and penance.

Penance is like spring season wherein the inner elegance blooms at its best and is never followed by any autumn. Sadhvi Sukumalika abjured food and water and resorted to severe penance and both her brothers were guarding her constantly during the course of her penance. The incessant and unobstructed journey of penance came to its climax and consequent upon her penance, sadhvi Sukumalika fell on the earth. Both her brothers thought that their sister had died; hence they left her body behind and returned to the town. After some time, as the result of cool breeze in the forest, Sukumalika woke up and she had a new life. She looked all around but did not find her brothers and was terrified with the thought as to what would happen to her in the deep and dense forest. Meanwhile a Sarthvah (leader of a caravan) was passing through the forest with his goods-loaded caravan; he saw this sadhvi crying lonely in the forest. Impelled by compassion, he took her to his home and attended upon her with selfless love and innocence. Close acquaintance generated affection between them and Sukumalika became Sarthvah’s wife and started looking after the domestic affairs. The path of renunciation and penance is difficult like that of a high-rising mountain; whereas deterioration and downfall are easy and quick. Once two monks came to this city and by chance they happened to arrive at Sarthvah’s residence for alms. They could not recognise Sukumalika who was dressed like a worldly woman but Sukumalika immediately recognised her brothers both of whom had thought that their sister had died in the forest. After a while they too recognised their sister as a married woman. They came to know about everything that had happened. Both of them were shocked to see their sister, thus transformed into a worldly being. Sukumalika remembered her glorious past and the immense joy she had attained by severe penance. She then repented the change in her life. The monks preached her the worthlessness and vanity of worldly life and great significance of salvation. Sukumalika once again resorted to the strenous path of penance. She abjured food and water. Having attained spiritual growth, she made her present birth full of dignity and worthy.

SADHVI SUNANDA (RUPSEN)
The life-sketches of Sunanda and Rupsen show the unusual way in which the theory of karma operates.

Having been a Sadhvi, Sunanda had imbibed the virtue of renunciation. As a result of her penance, she had acquired clairvoyance. As she knew about her previous births, once she told her guruni (female spiritual teacher) that she wanted to give sermon to a person named Rupsen who was entangled in the cycle of births because of his infatuatiqn for her. Sadhvi Sunanda added that if guruni would permit her to go to Vidhya Dwip, she could emancipate Rupsen who was then born as an elephant. Having been permitted by guruni,

Sadhvi Sunanda, alongwith four other sadhvis, arrived at Sugram for a rainy residence. Sadhvi Sunanda came to know that having been born as an elephant Rupsen had become a threat to the civic life. Whoever happened to cross his way, was crushed to death under his feet. If people happened to see him from a far, they used to run helter-skelter. Because of his terror, people avoided to go to the outskirts of the town.

With a view to imparting sermon to this elephant, Sadhvi Sunanda boldly went near the elephant despite people’s warnings. As Sadhvi Sunanda dauntlessly went forward, the screaming elephant came rushing towards her but as his eyes met with those of the Sadhviji’s, he cooled down and stood quietly, as if remembering his love for her in the previous birth. Sadhvi Sunanda told him, “How long do you intend to suffer for your infatuation ? You have wasted as many as six births and you are just on the verge of wasting this seventh birth too.” Sadhvi Sunanda told the elephant about his previous births. She said, “0 Rupsen ! When you had a birth as a human being, you lost your senses out of your infatuation for me and instead of getting me, you were crushed to death under a wall. Your dreams remained unfulfilled. Driven by your attachment for me, you came to me as an embryo but at that time I was an unmarried woman, and the embryo was destroyed skillfully. In·your next birth, you were born to a female-serpent living in a garden of king Pruthvivallabha of Kshitipratishthit town. That time I happened to be the queen of king Pruthvivallabha and you chased me and finally my husband Pruthvivallabha killed you. In the fourth birth you were born a crow. While I was enjoying a music party, alongwith my husband king Pruthvivallabha, you created nuisance by your disturbing crowing. The king tried to drive you away, but as you happened to have great attachment for me, you did not go away; hence the king ordered his men to kill you. Your next and the fifth birth was that of a swan. Once I was sitting under a tree, with thick foliage, in the company of the king Pruthvivallabhai you were sitting nearby as a swan. Out of your sheer joy you were singing sweetly. Just at that time, a crow excreted and flew away. The excretion of the crow fell on the king and believing that it was the swan’s doing he became so angry that he killed the swan. In the subsequent sixth birth you were born a deer. The deer was killed and was cooked for our meali when I was having my meal with the king just at that time a muni told me the story of our previous births. Having come to know about the unfailing operation of karma, as also the results of infatuation, I accepted initiation for the redemption of my sins.” Having listened to the stories of his six previous births, the ascetic-like elephant died in deep meditation and acquired the status of a god of the eighth 10k. In course of time, he attained salvation. So also, with the redemption of her karmas, Sadhvi Sunanda acquired absolute knowledge and immortal status.

SADHVI TARANVATI

Sadhvi Tarangvali had gone to seek for alms in the region ruled by king Kunik. Having seen her peerless beauty, the wife of a rich merchant became curious to know as to what might have compelled this extremely beautiful woman to renounce the worldly life. As she repeatedly asked and requested her to let her know the secret of such a renunciation,

sadhvi Tarangvati ultimately told her about her previous life.

In her youthful days, Tarangvati and her friends had gone for an excursion in the forest; there she saw a sheldrake. As she saw the bird, she remembered her previous birth. In her previous birth, on the banks of the river Ganga, Tarangini had lived happily as a female-sheldrake in the company of a male sheldrake; both of them were happy enjoying their love-game. Then sheldrake that was moving joyously along the river-banks was killed by a hunter. As the separation became unbearable, the female-sheldrake also died.

But simultaneously with the remembrance of her previous life, Tarangavati became anxious to know about the lover of her previous birth. She thought that if some suggestion can be conveyed to the lover of her previous birth, their reunion might be possible. She painted the entire episode of her previous birth and placed it at the crossroad of Kaushambi during the Kaumudi festival. On viewing the painting Padmadev, son of a Jain merchant, was reminded of his previous birth. Consequently, the two lovers who were seperated in the previous birth found their re-union in the present birth; but they had yet to face a new problem. Padmadev’s economic condition being ordinary, Tarangvati’s father rejected the offer to get his daughter married to Padmadev. But Padmadev and Tarangvati’s love was too intense to be controlled by anybody. One night both of them eloped in a boat and wandered from place to place for many days. Once they were arrested by a gang of thieves and they decided to kill them for human sacrifice before the goddess Katyayani. Knowing this Tarangvati began to weep loudly and the gang-leader was deeply moved by her sobs and wails and set them free; and with that started their life of wandering again. After many years, they came to Kaushambi. Having come to know about the sufferings of his daughter and having realized the integrity of their love, Tarangini’s father arranged for their wedding in a grand manner. But strange are the ways of destiny and karma. With the marriage of Tarangvati and Padmadev, one chapter of their life was over. Their love found a sort of fulfillment. But their life had yet to seek its perfection. One evening they happened to meet a monk on the banks of the river Ganga. The monk happened to be the hunter who had killed the male sheldrake in the previous birth. He had realized his mistake when he had seen female sheldrake giving up her own life in the wake of sheldrake’s death. He had hated himself for his cruel action and had suffered immense repentance. Moreover he rectified the ‘karma’ of his previous life by setting Padmadev and Tarangini free as a leader of the gangsters in the present birth . As TarangVati came to know about the unending suffering of life, she accepted the path of discipline and penance. The episode regarding cycle of births relating to her life came to a close as she accepted initiation and became a nun. Tarangvati sadhvi became a disciple of sadhvi Chandanbala and devoted her life to spiritual attainment.

SADHVI YAKINI MAHA’ITARA

Two disciples of Acharya Haribhadrasuriji, namely, Hans and Paramhans were killed at the hands of followers of other religion. Acharyashri suffered great mental commotion. The shock of the killing of his loving disciples caused a sense of revenge in him. Acharyashri decided to kill 1444 students and lecturers of Bauddha Vihar by roasting

them alive in boiling oil. Anger and revenge leave no place for discretion. With a view to executing his malicious plan, Acharyashri closed the doors of the upashraya (a place for the stay of Jain monks & nuns) and boiled oil in a huge vessel on a furnace. With the sheer power of incantation, Acharyashri called all the students and lecturers and made them stand in the sky. Actually the infuriated Acharyashri planned and intended to call the students and the lecturers one by one and fry them alive in the boiling oil. Yakini Mahattara came to know about this malicious plan of the Acharya and soon she came rushing to the upashraya. The doors were closed and Acharya Haribhadrasuri told

Yakini Mahattara whom he regarded as his own mother, “I am engaged in some rites. Please come after some time.” In a firm voice she said, “I need you urgently. Kindly open the doors.” The doors were opened and Yakini Mahattara paid her respects to Acharyashri and then she said that she had come for atonement. Acharya Haribhadrasuri, the learned scholar introduced himself as the son of Yakini Mahattara because previously he had been uncl-ble to understand a shloka (verse) of Yakini Mahattara and his pride of scholarship had suffered a great set-back. Having been defeated in learning, he ultimately had accepted initiation from Jindattasuriji. As Yakini Mahattara had led the Acharya to the righteous path, he regarded her as his own mother. Hence Shri Haribhadrasuri became anxious as to what sin such a motherly nun would have done that necessiated atonement. Yakini Mahattara told that while she had been walking a frog was unknowingly crushed under her feet. Her soul was suffering great torment because of such violence committed by her. She wanted to have atonement because if her life were to end without the sin being duly atoned for, her life would be that of a violator. Acharya Haribhadrasuri raised his voice and said, “Oh ! You couldn’t care about a living being! You must make atonement for it.” Yakini Mahattara very respectfully accepted the atonement but politely added, “ I have secured atonement for a sub-human being like a frog unknowingly killed by me. But you are engaged in a deliberate violence by way of killing 1444 human beings. What would be the atonement for this killing?” These words of Yakini Mahattara dispelled the anger and fury of Acharyashri Haribhadra. The lecturers and students who were called by his sheer power of incantation were sent back. As an atonement for his malicious plan, he composed 1444 books elucidating human virtues like forebearance, tolerance etc. Animosity gave way to learning and scholarship. Acharya Haribhadrasuri always respected Sadhvi Yakini Mahattara and he used to accept the fact that thanks to Sadhviji, he had found the royal road of Jainism that liberated himself from the cycle of births.

SADHVI YAKSHA

In the annals of Indian history, during the times of the kings of Nand dynasty, the Jain religion had a widespread following and propagation. Pataliputra’s Nandraja Mahapadma’s chief minister Shaktal was an ascetic’s votary; his wife Lanchhandevi was a religious teacher. They had two sons Sthulbhadra and Shriyak and also seven daughters, namely Yaksha, Yakshdatta, Bhuta, Bhutdatta, Sena, Vena and Rena. All of them had inherited the religious qualities and virtues of their parents. All the seven daughters had

wonderful power of memory. In the court of Nandraja Mahapadma there was an arrogant poet named Vararuchi. But his arrogance melted before the power of memory of the seven sisters in the King’s court. Consequently, the poet Vararuchi plotted against Shaktal. With a view to proving the truth, Shaktal ordered his younger son to slay him in the presence of the king and his family. Shriyak slayed his own father in the royal court in accordance with his father’s

order. The daughters were immensely shocked and moved by the unparalleled sacrifice. They realized the transience of wealth, power and worldly happiness. Hence all the seven sisters decided to accept the path of renunciation. In the wake of Shaktal’s death, his son Sthulbhadra and the seven learned sisters accepted initiation from Acharya Shri Sambhutivijayji. Shriyak, the younger brother, also accepted sadhu’s way of life but he was unable to keep a fast. Once on the occasion of the paryushan holy festival, Sadhvi Yaksha explained to her brother Shriyak the significance of discipline and penance and added that it would only be by the fire of penance that his karmas would be destroyed. She also added that in case he could not observe a fast on such an auspicious day, he should perform atleast ekasanu (taking food only once a day). By means of such a small but sincere beginning he would be able to proceed on the path of penance. Inspired by his elder sister, muni Shriyak took an oath to observe ekasanu. Till mid-day he passed his time very easily, so Sadhvi Yaksha suggested him to observe fast. In sheer over-enthusiasm, Shriyak muni decided to keep fast for that day. But at night he was tortured by thirst and hunger. Perhaps because of excessive thirst, muni Shriyak lost his life. As Sadhvi Yaksha came to know about muni Shriyak’s death, she suffered extreme distress, intense repentance and excessive self-disgust. Shreesangh told her repeatedly that she was not at fault in this matter but for days together she did not take any food or water.
Shreesangh became extremely distressed. Sadhvi Yaksha said that she would accept food

and water only if some person with absolute and pure knowledge would say that she was innocent.
Shreesangh invoked the guardian goddess and with the help of that goddess, Sadhvi

Yaksha reached the holy assembly of Shri Simandharswami who knew everything by intuition. Shree Simandharswami said that Sadhvi Yaksha was innocent and by way of repentence for her, he addressed four adhyays (chapters) to her which Sadhvi Yaksha committed to her memory. Sadhvi Yaksha told the four C’dhyays verbatim before the Shreesangh and they were compiled as Acharang Sutra and Dashvaikalik Sutra by the Shreesangh. Then together with her sisters, she devoted herself to the cause of spiritual welfare and service of the Jain order (Jinshasan).

SADHVI CHANDANBALA

Mhasati (female ascetic) Chandanbala occupies a unique place among the leading 16 satis of Jain relegious history. Besides being learned, virtuous and devoted to penance, she became the first sadhvi (nun) of the sadhvi sangh (order of nuns) founded by Bhagwan Mahavir and thereafter she enjoyed the honour of being the first sadhvi-president (head of the order of nuns) of

35000sadhvis. Her life-sketch conveys the message that virtue is greater than caste or creed. She was the daughter of King Dadhivahan of Champa and queen Dharini and was also known as Vasumati. It was from her mother that she had imbibed the virtues of tolerance, renunciation and religious faith. As a result of such grooming, she desired spiritual growth and she decided not to marry. Knowing her mind and intentions full well, her parents allowed her very willingly to remain firm in her vow. Meanwhile, Shatanik, the king of Kaushambi attacked Champa and Chandanbala was sold as a dasi (a female slave). But Dhanvah Sheth paid adequate money and saved Chandanbala from becoming a courtesan.

Dhanvah Sheth had treated her as his own daughter. Once Dhanvah Sheth happened to return from a tour. and as usual she went to him to wash his feet; meanwhile, in order to save her loose hair from falling into the dirty water, Dhanvah Sheth lifted it up with the good intention. Mula Shethani, Dhanvah Sheth’s wife happened to see this sight and she became immensely jealous. Once when Dhanvah Sheth was away from the town, Mula Shethani took the opportunity and cut off Chandanbala’s hair; then her feet were chained and she was driven into a cellar. She had to go without food and water for three full days. When Dhanvah Sheth returned he sensed the situation and decided to call a blacksmith. Meanwhile he gave her some boiled unsplit black beans, kept there for the cattle, in a winnowing basket. It so happened that Bhagwan Mahavir arrived in this Kaushambi city. As per the Jain tradition, he had made secret resolutions regarding food-stuff i.e. to accept only boiled un split black beans and that too if they were lying at the corner of a winnowing basket. As regards the place, the resolution was to the effect that such black beans be accepted only from a person having one foot inside a threshold and the other one out of it. As regards the time, he had resolved that such food be accepted only if the time for accepting alms, that is the lunchtime, had already passed. As regards bhav (sentiment) element, it was so resolved that she should be a princess subjected to slavery, her feet should be chained, head be fully shaven, eyes be full of tears; she should have undertaken aththam (continuous three days fasting) penance and should be a holy sati. He had resolved that food be accepted only if such a woman offered alms: Bhagwan Mahavir, thus, accepted alms from Chandanbala after five months and twentyfive days. Everyone realized the truth. Her chains broke miraculously. She regained her beautiful hair. As soon as Bhagwan Mahavir accepted alms from her, there was divine shower of flowers. King Shatanik and Mula Shethani begged to be forgiven for all their misdeeds. Chandanbala became the first disciple of BhagwanMahavir and being a torchbearer for the mankind, she ultimately attained divine knowledge (kevaljnana).

SADHVI DEVANANDA
Bhagwan Mahavir had his fourteenth ‘rainy’ residence (Chaturmasa) in the Bahusa! garden near Brahman K~nd. Having heard the news of his arrival, Brahman Rishabhadatta and his wife Devanand~ arrived in a chariot to Bahusal garden. They paid their respects and bowed to him and thereafter they listened to his preaching. All the while, Devananda was incessantly staring at Bhagwan Mahavir. It was as if her body was unable to contain her immense joy. While looking at Bhagwan Mahavir, Devananda’s motherly love became so abundantthat it found its way by means of overflow of motherly milk.

Having witnessed this sight, Gautam, the intimate disciple, was extremely surprised. Anxiously he asked Bhagwan Mahavir, “Bhagwan ! How is it that this Brahmin woman Devananda has been so thrilled on seeing you? How is it that her eyes are filled with tears of joy and that she· has an overflow of motherly milk ?” Bhagwan Mahavir replied, “Gautam ! Devananda is my mother and I am her son. The feelings that her body has expressed is the result of her motherly love for her son.” What is the secret about Bhagwan Mahavir being the son of Trishala instead of. Devananda ? In the previous birth Devananda and Trishala were sisters-in-law. In that previous birth, Devananda had hidden a jewel-studded box of ornaments belonging to Trishala which caused Trishala great anguish. Devananda rejected all the requests of Trishala. Such a misdeed resulted in labhantray karma (gains obstructing karma). She had to pay the penalty of such an evil deed. Bya divine will and arrangement, the soul of

Bhagwan Mahavir became an embryo in the womb of Devananda on the sixth day of the first fortnight of the Month of Ashadh. Devananda saw the famous fourteen dreams. Her husband Rushabhdatta told her that her dream meant that an illustrious son, having all the virtues, was to be born to her. A strange incident took place whereby the embryo of Bhagwan Mahavir was lost after 82 days. She had the strange feeling that somebody was stealing away the embryo she had previously seen. In fact it was because of the family-pride in the third birth of Marichi that the embryo of Bhagwan Ma~avir had come to the womb of Devananda. Devraj (Lord of Gods) Indra happened to see this incident and he summoned God Harinegmaishi and told him to do an impossible task of transplanting the embryo from Devananda’s womb to that of Trishala and vice versa. This transplantation was to be done in such a manner that both the mothers need not feel any pain about it. As ordered by Devraj Indra, Harinegmaishi did exchange the embryo from one womb to the other. Having come to know about the tragic events of her previous birth, Devananda renounced the world. Though Rushabdatta and Devananda were Brahmins, they knew everything about good and sinful deeds as also about jeev (sentient) and ajeeva (insentient) and they had immense faith in Parshwanath tradition. Bhagwan Mahavir preached his parents, mother Devananda and father Rushabhdatta, and considering their keen desire for initiation, guided them to a saintly path. Under the guidance of Sadhvi Chandanbala, Devananda lived a life of great restraint and studied the eleven angas deeply. She performed penance and vows for many years and thereby she achieved mitigation of her karmas and ultimately she attained liberation.

SAMPRATI MAHARAJ
Emperor Samprati, the grandson of Emperor Ashok, occupied a place of pride among the contemporary emperors. Emperor Ashok and his grandson Samprati endeavoured to propagate Indian culture throughout the world. Known as Indrapalit, Sangat and Yigatashok, Emperor Samprati was enthroned in 230 B.C., but he had been handling the administrative duties long before.

King Samprati was once sitting in the balcony of his palace. He chanced to see Acharya Suhastisuri passing by and instinctively felt that he had known him for years. He began remembering his past and memories of his past life began to crowd his mind. He sent a word to the Acharya to come into the palace. On the Acharya’s arrival, Samprati said, “I feel that I have known you for a long time. I do not know why.” Acharya Suhastisuri replied, “You were my disciple. in the previous birth, and hen.ce this feeling of having known me.” Then the Acharya transported Samprati into past and narrated the sequence of events. Once the city of Kausambi was in the grip of a severe famine. The shravaks (a jain layman) offered whatever they had to the monks. Samprati at that time was a beggar but did not get even a piece of bread for he was not a monk. Samprati

got himself initiated, became a monk .and was, then offered food: When on death bed, his guru recited navkar mantra and then he breathed his last. Samprati, on hearing this account of his past life, offered his kingdom to Acharya Suhastisuri but the Acharya would not take it. Acharya taught him the basic tenets of Jainism and the king became a true follower and propagator of Jainism. He propagated it beyond the frontiers of India and sent Jain monks i1.1 non-Aryan countries to spread the message of Jainism. He built shelter-houses and eating-houses to feed the poor and the needy. Once the king returned home after a victory in a battle. There was an air of elation and joy but king Samprati’s mother appeared sad and dejected. WhenSamprati asked the reason, she said, “Your expansionist designs have resulted in the massacre of innocent lives. It would have pleased me if you had built jinalayas (Temple of Jina) or renovated the dilapidated ones.” The king, then, constructed about one lakh, twenty-five thousand jinalayas in deference to the wishes of his mother. Emperor Samprati, like his grandfather Ashok, waS. a peace-loving, affectionate and brave king, besides being a staunch votary of non-violence. He had inherited some outstanding qualities from father Kunal and mother Kanchanmala. He spent his life as a king. steeped in Jaini’sm and followed its principles as bid by Acharya Suhastisuri. The glorious saga of king Samprati’s life is to be found in ‘Sampratikatha’, ‘Parishistaparva’, and ‘Prabhavakcharita’. According to renowned historian Vincent Smith king Samprati had established centres of Jain culture in Iran and in Arab countries. Ancient inscriptions, prohibiting killing of living organisms, are found which bear testimony to Samrat Samprati’s love for all living organisms. There are descriptions of celebrations of religious festivals which again prove his love for religion. But his contribution consists in his efforts to make Jainism a world religion. According to available evidence Samprati ruled for a period of fifty years. In 190 B.C., the most able and powerful king died.

SAVA SOMA

Savachand Sheth of Saurashtra had a flourishing business. It transcended the limits of his own state and had spread overseas. In the business world in Delhi, Agra and Ahmedabad he had tremendous goodwill, and it was said that his promissory-note would never

bounce. Once he lost about twelve ships laden with precious goods, in the high seas. It was a grievous blow to Savchand. The loss was huge and in no time the rich businessman turned a pauper. The creditors demanded their money back and Savchand was in dire state. He did not know what to do. Like the proverbial rats leaving the sinking ship, all deserted him in his adverse condition.- But all is not lost for ever for good people. Every black cloud has a silvery lining. There is always a good Samaritan who comes to the rescue of one in distress.

The legend goes that saint Narsinh Mehta had written a promissory-note addressed to Sheth Shamalsha. Similarly, Sheth Savchand of Vanthali in Saurastra wrote a promissory note addressed to Sheth Somchand of Ahmedabad. It said, “give one lakh cash to Thakore (owner of village) Surajmalji on presenting this hundi (promissory-note).” Savchand had n.ever met Sheth Somchand and was skeptical about the acceptance of the note and getting the money. Two drops of tear fell on the note from Savchand’s eyes. He gave the note to Thakbre Surajmalji and bade him goodbye. He arrived in Ahmedabad and reached the house of Somchand. Somchand read the note but the name of Savchand did not sourtd familiar to him. He asked the secretary to inquire. The secretary looked, up all his accounts books but nowhere did he find the name of Savchand .. For three days Somchand and his staff searched in vain for Savchand’s name in their books. He again read the note minutely and saw two spots, caused by the tear drops, on the note. That explained the whole story. He said to himself, “These tears are of a man in distress. He has written his note with full trust in me and I must not betray that trust. Here is an opportunity for me to use my wealth for a right cause and I must not miss it.” He instructed his secretary to hand over the sum of rupees one lakh to the bearer of the note, though Savchand Sheth’s name was nowhere to be found in the accounts books. The secretary was surprised but obeyed the master’s order. Thakore Surajmalji returned with the money and Savchand’s joy knews no bounds. As good luck would have it, the ships, supposed to be lost, returned safely. Savchand, accompanied by Thakore Surajmalji, arrived at the house of Somchand to repay the amount. He handed a bag containing rupees three lakh to Somchand Sheth who refused to take it saying he had lent only one lakh and with interest it would corne to a little more, but not three lakh in any case. Savchand pleaded with him saying that it was he who had extended the helping hand when he was in dire strait. But Somchand did not budge and the debate continued. At last a solution was hammered out with the help of the wise people of the town. It was decided to undertake a pilgrimage and spend the money to help the poor and the needy. They all reached Shatrunjaya Mahatirth and began the project of temple - making and helping the poor. The temples bear the names ‘Sava-Soma’, a mute testimony to the charity, philanthropy and humanity of the two. Theirs is a story to inspire people to be good Samaritans, to be charitable and to extend the helping hand to one who needs help.

SENAPATI ABHU
The huge Muslim army invaded Anhilpur Patan, the capital of Gujarat. King Bhimdev II, the last king of the Solanki empire, was away and people were worried as to who would protect them. The chief of the army was Abhu, a Jain Rajput, who was recently appointed on the post. Being new to the post, he was not in a position to provide leadership to the army. Moreover the army personnel were not in adequate number nor were they fully

equipped to fight the invaders. The people and the administrators of the state were naturally worried.

The queen understood the problem and decided to act, as the Muslim army was advancing towards the capital. She called Abhu and commanded him to lead the army into war and fight the enemy. Abhu gathered his men and inspired them to fight. He planned out the strategy to checkmate the enemy. The next day morning the fight began. Abhu, the army chief, was deeply religious and performed pratikraman (ritualized confession) twice a day, once in the morning and then in the evening. It was evening and Abhu was worried. Where could he find a lonely spot for his Pratikraman ? It was not prudent to leave the field too. The army would be dispirited in the absence of its leader. Abhu was in a dilemma - on the one hand was the religious duty, on the other duty towards the people. He, then, sat on an elephant and began his pratikraman ceremony. He

spoke the words: “If I have done some violence to some living organism ..... “ and these words were heard by a soldier. He said to another soldier, “Look at our chief! What a non-violent act on the battlefield in the midst of killings! We fight and kill and he is busy muttering some words proclaiming non-violence. How can we expect such a weakling to show even an iota of bravery?” These words of the soldier reached the queen’s ears. She was worried too but was helpless. The next day in the morning, the battle began. Abhu, with renewed vigour, launched a fierce attack on the enemy formations. Heavy casualties were inflicted upon the enemy and finally it had to surrender. Abhu was victorious and the queen welcomed the victorious chief of the army. The queen, then, said to Abhu, “When the soldiers saw you performing pratikraman, they were disappointed and felt dispirited. I also was worried, but your unprecedented courage surprised us all” Abhu replied, “My vow of non-violence is a personal thing, a matter related to my soul. Protection of my state is my primary duty. For her (motherland’s) protection I would not hesitate to commit violence. My body belongs to the nation and it must be used for that purpose. But the soul within me belongs to me and I would try to keep my soul and mind away from violence. That is how I observe my vow of non-violence.” Everyone admired Abhu’s patriotism and deep devotion to religion. Devotion to religion and religious practices should go hand in hand. The same applies to knowledge and action. Success comes one’s way when both combine. Pratikraman is an important part of the life of a Jain layman. It is all about one’s behaviour in daily life. It shows the path of knowing one’s weaknesses or faults and getting rid of them. Pratikraman is a process of self-purification or purification of the soul. One whose soul is pure, untainted can only harbour true devotion and religious feelings. The rituals, if properly followed, are meant for self-purification, for purging one’self of undesirable elements. Senapati Abhu’s life reflects his strict observance of religion and pursuance of the path of true religion.

SHASANSAMRAT SHRI VIJAYNEMISURI

Aharyashri Vijaynemisurishwarji had earned the title of the most competent Suri Chakravarti of the twentieth century. Right at the beginning of his saintly life Acharyashri had identified aims of his life, first of which was enhancement of knowledge. Besides preservation of scriptures, book-writing and publishing, he also provided useful guidance regarding systematic maintenance of libraries with invaluable religious books. It was at his instance and inspiration that the publication of Jain literature was undertaken for the

first time by the Jain community. His other aim was to evolve a tradition of knowledgeable and virtuous disciples. Consequently, he could groom Acharya, Munivars and a trained and devoted band of learned scholars which was a remarkable contribution to the Jain order. He undertook a journey, bare-footed, of thousands of miles ignoring the hazards to his life and gave a very moving sermon to the violently tempered fishermen and people of other

communities. Once as a result of his touching sermon, fishermen of Datha village in Bhavnagar district set fire to thousands of fishing-nets and abandoned fishing for lifetime. He managed to get the cruel practice of animal-sacrifice, in front of gods and goddesses, discontinued and revived the scheme of the animal-shelter-house. His other aim was the amelioration of places of pilgrimage and he was greatly devoted to tirtha (holy place of pilgrimage). At Kadambgiri, Sherisa, Matar, Ranakpur, Cambay (Khambhat) and in many villages he managed to undertake and carry out repairs and renovations of very old Jain temples. Moreover, as regards the court case pertaining to Shri Girnar tirtha with the Nawab of Junagadh, he took extreme pains for the protection of the tirtha. With a view to solving the difficult problem pertaining to various tirthas like Shri Sametshikharji, Shri Taranga, Shri Antrikshji etc. he showed discretion, deep understanding and when necessary he infused spirit of daring in the community. Sir Prabhashanker Patni, the then political dewan (prime-minister to the king) of Bhavnagar had told Anantrai Patni, his son and the successor dewan, “When you feel that some particular work is complicated and difficult to be executed, you just approach my bearded guruji of Kadambgiri and seek his blessings.” The “bearded” guru meant Shasansamrat Shri Vijaynemisuriswarji. He had been a very respected personality among the Jains and non-Jains because of his deep knowledge of the scriptures, very impressive style of discourse, severe religious discipline and foresight. Shri Madanmohan Malviyaji, another reputed scholar of the country, felt fortunate in having an opportunity of religious discourse with him. Even kings, monarchs and leading merchants were greatly impressed by his style of discourse and his impressive personality. Despite such immense fame he was extremely modest and introvert. He was born in Mahuva on the 1st day of Kartak Sud in v: S. 1929 (A. D. 1873). He left for the heavenly abode at the same place - i.e. in Mahuva on the New Year day in v: S. 2006 (A. D. 1950); i.e. born and passed away on the same day and at the same time _ i.e. Saturday; 20 ‘ghadi’ and 12 ‘pal’. 77 years long spell of his career is full of such actions and achievements that the entire period is known as ‘Shashansamrat Nemisuri age’. His 8 chief disciples were versatile and learned scholars of various disciplines of knowledge. He holds a position in the first rank as an Acharya to have made invaluable contribution to the restoration of spiritual and moral values.

Shayyambhavacharya
Shri Prabhavswami, a great disciple of Jambuswami, was worried about his successor as he was getting old. Acharyashri Prabhavswami himself had taken over the Acharyapad (head of a medicant group) at a very old age of ninety four so he was anxiously looking for some deserving person to whom the responsibilities of Shrisangh (congregation) could be entrusted. Finally his search ended with the learned and devoted brahmin Shayyambhav Bhatt of Rajgruhi. But the main problem was how to initiate him into Jain religion.

At

that time, Shayyambhav Bhatt was engaged in performing the pasumegh yagna. Acharya Prabhavswami sent two of his munis to him. There was terrible violence of animal killing in the yagnamandap. The two munis shouted so loudly that it might be heard by Shayyambhav who was busy with the yagna (sacrificial rite). “Who would know about the tattva, the real and genuine truth in the midst of terrible violence being performed in the name of religion ?”, they shouted. Shocked as he was by the utterances of the monks, Shayyambhav got lost in thoughts. He knew too well that Jain monk would not utter falsehood. Consequently, Shayyambhav being truly desirous to know and learn everything, went out in search of those two monks. That ultimately led him to Acharya Prabhavswami who finally explained to him the original form of yagna as also the ultimate truth of darshan (philosophy) from a spiritual aspect. Finally Shayyambhav became a sadhu at the age of twenty eight by

renouncing everything - the yagna, social life and the pregnant wife. Under Prabhavswami he acquired the knowledge of fourteen purvas (early canons) and became the second Shrutkevali in the Shrutadhar (knower of all the canonical literature) tradition. Acharya Prabhavswami bestowed on him the seat of Acharya in B. C. 452. Shayyambhav’s son Manak, who was about eight years old, had a keen desire to see his father as he was constantly ridiculed by his fellow-students. Manak asked his mother about his father, whereupon his mother narrated the entire event as to how Shayyambhav became the Jain monk. Manak became more anxious to have a glimpse of his father. Shayyambhavsuri recognised him as soon as he saw Manak but the child asked him about the whereabouts of his father. Shayyambhav introduced himself as a close friend of the boy’s father and arranged for the child’s stay with him. Deeply impressed by his preachings, Manak accepted initiation. But Acharya Shayyambhav could foresee that the boy had a very short life-span of only six months. Consequently it was not possible for him to study all the scriptures. So he arranged for the consolidated study of Dashvaikalik sutras, which are supposed to have been compiled and composed by about B. C. 445. This composition of Acharya Shayyambhav aimed at the spiritual well-being of the son who had turned muni. This Dashvaikalik sutra has now been recognised for primary study for monks in all the sects of Jain religion. Acharya Shayyambhavsuri preached from yugpradhanpad (the foremost spiritual leader) for 23 years and died at the age of 62 years. He brought immense glory to the religion of enlightenment. Moreover he had the experience of Brahmin community in his previous birth. He realized that during the ritual of yajna of that community, they resorted to animal-sacrifice. Acharyashri Shayyambhavsuri explained to them the spiritual significance of yajna. Many of who believed in the Brahmin way of religion, became sympathetic to the principles of Jain religion.

SHETH JAGDUSHA
Jagdusha was a well-known philanthropist and was a staunch practitioner of non
violence. It so happened that once his ship got stuck in the sea near the Saurashtra coastline in the south. It was believed that if the eye of a particular goddess fell on the ship, it would be burnt to ashes. Apprehensive of the deity’s curse, Jagdusha went to the temple and observed fast for three days to propitiate the goddess. She was pleased and J agdusha implored her to stop the destruction of ships. As the legend goes, the deity ordered him to sacrifice a buffalo each on the 108 steps of the temple.

Jagadusha brought 106 buffaloes the next day and he himself stood on the first step and made his adopted son stand on the second. He was about to cut his head off with a sword when his hand was held back by some unseen power. Jagdusha’s love for living organisms and his courage pleased the goddess. She ordered that the face of the temple, which was towards the south, be turned to the north and the destruction would stop. Today, centuries after this incident, people still worship the goddess and Jagdusha and his son in the temple situated in the mountains in Koyala in Saurashtra. Jagdusha’s father Solshah migrated from Kutch and settled in Bhadreshwar. Once his father asked him to look after the shop as he had to go out for an important piece of work. It was winter and some monks came to the shop and asked for some blankets. Jagdusha

found some two hundred blankets in the god own and distributed them among the monks. The generosity of Jagdusha surprised everyone including his father. He said, “Jagdusha, your gesture has pleased me but I don’t think you did the right thing in distributing all the two hundred blankets.” Jagdusha, very politely said, “Father, you and I feel cold despite the three woollen clothings in which we have wrapped ourselves. Think of the monks, then, who were half clothed. And we have so much wealth in our coffers !” The father was very happy. After the death of his father, Jagdusha inherited the business. Bhadreshwar at the time was under the tutelage of Gujarat which was ruled over by Bhimdev. Bhimdev’s grip over the kingdom had loosened and king Pithadev of Tharparkar invaded Bhadreshwar. Jagdusha, for Bhadreshwar’ s protection, built a fort. He undertook pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya and Girnar Tirth. He also built many temples and a mosque for the visiting muslims. In A. D. 1255, Jagdusha once went to listen to a discourse by Acharya Paramdevsuri on charity. At the end of the discourse, the Acharya called Jagdusha aside and said, “You will face the true test of your philanthropy shortly. There is going to be famine for three successive years. Store as much grains as you can so that the lives of the populace be saved. Seize this opportunity to serve the people.” Jagdusha, as bid by the Acharya, began storing grains from all corners. The godowns were full with grains and the words inscribed pn them were: “These grains are for the poor - Jagdusha.” There were three successive famines in A. D. 1257, 1258 and 1259. Jagdusha despatched grains to the kings of Gujarat, Sindh, Mewad, Malwa, Kashi, Delhi and Kandhar. He opened 115 community kitchens to feed about five lakh people. Grains in huge quantities were distributed free and he spent about Rs. 4 crore. He was given the title of ‘Saviour of mankind’ by kings and emperors. Jagdusha is justly known as a great philanthropist. SHETH JAVADSHA

The ancient city Madhumati in Saurashtra is the present port Mahuva. Javadsha ruled over twelve villages of Mahuva. A gallant warrior he could, it was said, fight a tiger unarmed. Brave Javadsha’s wife was Sushiladevi. They were defeated, through

deception, by the Muslim soldiers ahd were taken to their country and treated as slaves. Javadsha and his wife were allowed all liberties except returning to their homeland. Javadsha, Sushiladevi and their son Jagnath were under house arrest on an alien soil. Though they were rolling in wealth and luxuries, they were unhappy for they were captives and had no freedom. Javadsha often remembered his homeland and felt sad, being’away from the motherland. He hankered to go back to Madhumati and smear his forehead with her dust.

Once a powerful enemy invaded the land where Javadsha was kept a prisoner. In order to avoid bloodshed, the invaders suggested a duel to decide the victorious side. Javadsha was chosen for the duel and he became victorious and thus saved the honour of the country. Javadsha was endowed with half the kingdom and a princess to marry; but the young wife of the old ruler took fancy to Javadsha. She felt infatuation for him and tried all the tricks to bewitch him but Javdasha could not be moved. He preached her the gospel of religion and her infatuation melted away. Then Javadsha won the heart of the ruler and was allowed to return to the motherland. Demon Kapardi, at that time, had terrorised the people of Shatrunjaya, a pilgrim centre. He had profaned it through meat-eating and consumption of liquor. His irreligious acts had caused immense pain to the inhabitants. WhenJavadsha came to know about the terrorism of Kapardi, he vowed to free Shatrunjaya Tirth from his clutches, and to reconstruct the whole town. After a prolonged war of attrition, Kapardi had to surrender and the people heaved a sigh of relief. Jawadsha’s bravery helped to get rid of the anti social and evil elements which had taken possession of Shatrunjaya Tirth. His valour inspired devotion in many a heart and for which he would be always remembered in the history of Jainism. Acharya Vajraswami had been trying for many years to salvage the glory of Shatrunjaya Tirth but the demon Kapardi was an obstacle. Now that he had been got rid of, Vajraswami felt relieved. The restoration of the pilgrim centre was accomplished and people from far off places gathered on the auspicious occasion. After years, pilgrims undertook a pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya, the chief of all pilgrim centres. Joys could be seen writ on the faces of Javadsha and Sushiladevi. They both went up the hill and stood, with heads bowed, in front of the Tirthankar. They continued to stand there for a long time while the other pilgrims began descending. It was quite some time when it was found that Javadsha and Sushiladevi had not returned. Some members of the Sangh (congregation on pilgrimage) went up to inquire and to their astonishment they found them immobile in standing postures of praying. After performing the pious act of restoring Shatrunjay to its pristine glory and eminence, their souls had left for the heavenly abode.

SHETH MOTISHA
Jain religion cares not only for human beings but also for mute animals, especially those which can not defend for themselves and have become useless for any work. Cattle homes are set up for such animals where they are provided fodder and are looked after. When one thinks of such cattle-homes, one inevitably remembers the name of Sheth Motisha.

Motichand, son of Sheth Amichand of Cambay, was born in A. O. 1782. A man of enterprise and business acumen, he had flourishing business. He repaid his father’s debts and within five years became a millionaire. He bought ships for overseas business and his business ventures spread far and wide. He acquired, slowly, a fleet of forty ships operating from China to Baherin. He, thus, broke the monopoly of the British and became a shipping magnate. His reputation spread to Arab countries, to Java-Sumatra, China and Sri Lanka. He spent, as much as he earned, on charities and on philanthropic activities. In.Mumbai, dogs were cruelly killed and the British Government would not heed the painful cries of the dying dogs. Motisha met the governor and persuaded him to put an end to cruelty to dogs. He, at the time, felt the need to provide protection homes for animals. He was supported in his mission by other communities too and the foundation

stone for such a cattle home was laid. He worked out the arrangements to provide shelter to cows, bullocks, sheep, pigeons and many other birds and animals. He, very often, undertook pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya Tirth. He bought land in Bhaikhalain Mumbai and, for the benefit of pilgrims from Mumbai, built a temple, of Bhagwan Rishabhdev. A huge ship, loaded with goods worth lakhs, was on its way to China. He was worried about its safe passage but then he stopped worrying, saying: “God’s will be done.” He prayed for the ship’s safe return and said, “From the profit that would accrue I will build a grand structure in Shatrunjaya Tirth.” Luckily the ship returned safely. Motisha called the renowned architect Ramji. He selected a site, a deep recess between two mountains. On seeing the site, Sheth Motisha realized that it was a difficult undertaking but he remained undeterred. White marble from Makrana in Rajasthan was brought and a lake within the site for the temple was filled to prepare even ground to lay the foundation. Water had to be brought from the far river Shatrunji as it did not rain. 1100 artisans and 3000 workers were employed in the construction work. Finally the imposing structure began to take shape and Sheth Motisha was highly pleased. Unfortunately, his health began to fail and Sheth Motisha started hurrying the construction of the temple. But before he could see his dream fulfilled, he breathed his last at the age of fifty four in A. 0.1836 during the days of holy festival paryushan. His wife Oiwaliben was equally devout and carried on Motisha’s unfinished task. A dharmashala (inn) was built at the cost of Rs. 86,000. Motisha’s popularity grew to such an extent that even today the leader of a Sangh, visiting Shatrunjaya Tirth, is applied a tilak (a forehead mark) in the name of Sheth Motisha. Motisha’s name has become a byword for philanthropy, charity, compassion, devotion and selfless service.

SHETH SHANTIDAS
Nagarheth (chief, respectable person in a city) Shantidas Jhaveri was a devout person who espoused many a social, religious and cultural causes. Kshatriya (warrior caste) by caste,

Shantidas was the son of Sahasrakiran and had forged close ties with Mugal emperors such as Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan, Muradbux and Aurangzeb. He enjoyed the trust of

the emperor and was allowed to enter the harems as the official jeweler. It was he who secured protection of the centres of pilgrimage from all the four powerful Mugal monarchs, a feat never achieved by any other person. Such was the influence he wielded over them! Once Aurangzeb had demolished a temple built by Shantidas Jhaveri but the same Aurangzab later chose him as his messenger of peace. He became the nagarsheth (an important person of the town), and endeavored to solve the problems, big and small, faced by the society. In A.D. 1680, he took out a sangh (a congregation on pilgrimage)

consisting of more than 15,000 Sadhus, Sadhvis and Shravak-Shravikas. He moved through the length and breadth of India to propagate the message of Jainism and worked tirelessly for the upliftment of Jain community. He used his good offices with the emperor Shah ] ehan to restore to Chintamani Parshvanath temple of Ahmedabad its pristine glory and dignity. Similarly, he helped in arranging a fun,ction at which Shri Muktisagarji, who had helped him in achieving the desired goal through chintamani mantra, was conferred the title of Acharya. He had traveled extensively for business but religion had remained an integral part of his life. Shantidas Jhaveri of Surat was also a very wealthy jeweler. He requested Nemsagargani and Muktisagargani to bless him with a child. Both began reciting Shri Chintamani mantra (hymn) in a cellar which would produce result after six months. At the end of six months, Dharanendra would appear in the form of a snake and the fearless devotee would have to make his tongue touch the snake’s. Then only Dharanendra would grant a boon to the devotee. Six months passed but Shantidas JhaveriofSurat did not come butShantidas Jhaveri of Ahmedabad came and paid his respects to the monks. He wastaken into the celler, thinking that he was from Surat. Dharanendra appeared as a snake but Shantidas was so frightened that he could not stick his tongue out. Dharanendra then disappeared without blessing him. The monks said that had he stuck his tongue out to touch the snake’s tongue, he would have become a king, but now he would only be a respectable citizen. At the age of twenty-five Sheth Shantidas Jhaveri was appointed a jeweller to emperor Akbar. To Jahangir he was an uncle and was given the title of nagarsheth of Ahmedabad and made asuba (administrator). He used to be a special invitee to the court on important occasions. He did everything for the protection of Shatrunjaya Tirth. With a serene demeanour, sweet tongue and courteous behaviour, Sheth Shantidas Jhaveri had endeared himself to one and alL Shantidas attributed his success in life to the following of religious path and the blessings of dev-guru (God and spiritual teacher). He, therefore, decided to devote his life to religion and to the service of dev-guru. He constructed a huge fort around the temples in Shatrunjaya Tirth and a step well at the foothill. He also contributed generously to the construction of Jain temples, in the renovation of those in dilapidated conditions and to other philanthropic activities such as distribution of grains, clothes etc. during famines. He donated grains and clothes during the year of famine and was a torch-bearer of mahajan tradition.

SHRI HIRVIJAY SURI
1!JLce Emperor Akbar was looking towards the main road from the balcony of his royal palace in Fatehpur Sikri. Meanwhile he saw a huge procession passing by, wherein at the centre a Jain laywoman (shravika) named Champa sat in splendour and attired in expensive clothes. On inquiry, the emperor came to know that the shravika had undertaken fast for 6 months during which she had taken only boiled water from sun-rise to sun-set and no other food. The Emperor was greatly surprised and on asking the shravika he ‘came to know that it was possible because of the blessings of religious saint like Guru Hirvijaysuri.

The subedar of Ahmedabad and other Jain laymen (shravaks) requested Shri Hirvijaysuri to pay a visit to Akbar in the interest of Jain religion. In A. D. 1582 Shri Hirvijaysuriji left the Gandhar port. In the course of his journey he gave religious discourses to an outlaw named Arjun Thakore and made him abjure his wicked ways. On the 13th day of Jyeshta month of A. D. 1583, Shri Hirvijaysuriji reached Fatehpur. On seeing the Suriji arriving, Akbar descended from the throne and went to him and bowed to him. His three princes also bowed and paid their respects. In ho~our of Suriji’s arrival, very costly carpets were laid inthe royal palace but Suriji refused to walk on them. Akbar was surprised. Hirvijaysuriji explained that Jain saints were forbidden to walk on land covered with cloth because that might kill the ants and other insects moving under the cloth. Akbar ordered the carpets to be removed and indeed there were many ants and insects underneath. As Akbar came to know that Suriji had made the journey of so many miles on foot, he was greatly surprised.

Akbar wanted to know about his horoscope and future life. Whereupon Suriji said that only householders would read horoscopes and make predictions as they were required to earn a livelihood. Saints like him simply aspired for knowledge and ultimate bliss. Akbar, by way of deference to Suriji, requested him to accept some gold and silver. Thereupon Suriji said that he would not accept anything. Suriji added that if he was keen to offer anything, he should order to set free the birds and animals kept in the cages. Suriji also added that he should prohibit largescale fishing in the huge pond named Dabar and should also issue a mandate to stop violence of any kind by anybody during the festivals of Paryushan. Akbar issued orders as was desired by Suriji. Moreover Akbar added 4 days on his own accord to the 8 days of Paryushan festival and ordered to stop the killing of animals for a total of 12 days. The mandate was also conveyed throughout his empire including Gujarat, Malwa, Ajmer, Delhi, Fatehpur, Lahore and far upto Multan. The Emperor also issued a mandate not to indulge in any sort of animal-killing in the vicinity of pilgrim places like Girnar, Taranga, Shatrunjaya, Kesariyaji, Abu, Rajgruhi and Sametshikharji. In Vikram Samvat 1640 Suriji was honoured with the title of ]agadguru (universal. preceptor). Subseque~tly, Suriji toured Agra, Gwalior and other places and propagated Jain religion. Asa re’sult of his efforts, thousands of Hindus and Muslims gave up nonvegetarianism and alcoholism. Born in A. D. 1527 in Oshwal family in Palanpur Shri Hirvijaysuriji became Acharya in A. D. 1554. After preaching Akbar, he began his journey (‘vihar’) at the age of 60. At that time there was a practice of charging toll-tax from every pilgrim at the Shatrunjaya Mahatirth. At the instance of Suriji, Emperor Akbar issued orders to abolish the tax. Suriji passed away in village Una (Saurashtra) in A. D. 1596. Akbar provided 100 bigha land for his funeral rites.

SHRI KUNDKUNDACHARYA

Kundkundacharya was born in Kondkunde village during the first half of the first century A.D. He is known by five other names i.e. Padmanandi, Kundkund, Vakragriva, Elacharya and Grudhrapichchha. However, there prevails a difference of opinion regarding the authenticity of these names. But this much is certain that his name was Padmanandi but true to the Dravid tradition, he came to be known as Kundkundacharya as he was the resident of Kondkundpur. His father’s name was Karmandu and his mother’s name was Shrimati. The couple did not have a child for a long time. Both of them were generous and

charitable. Once they gave alms to an ascetic, and as a result of his blessings they had a son. From the very early age, Kundkund was very brilliant. Endowed with sharp intelligence and unusual power of memory, he studied numerous books. From his early youth, he felt a

strong inclination for renunciation and finally he accepted initiation. It is said that many miraculous incidents happened during his life as a muni. Shri Kundkundacharya is very famous for his books relating to theology. He has written poetic compositions, mostly in Shaurseni Prakrut language. All his books are focused on the theme of the spirit and the soul. According to the tradition Shri Kundakundacharya had composed 84 pahud volumes. Some of the volumes contain a very few gathas. The reason is that the Jain community in the South India was isolated from its counterpart in Magadh and other parts where Jainism was more popular; hence the community in Southern India required its scriptures to be compiled systematically for observance of religious conduct. Of the 84 pahud volumes, very few have survived. His preaching are mainly addressed to Jain ascetic. Of all his volumes the best one is Samaysar. The treatment and elucidation of spiritualism is unique in the entire Jain literature. He has equated a pure or a holy soul with Time. His other volume is entitled ‘Pravachansar’. The third volume known as ‘Panchastikay’, essentially deals with the doctrines of Jainism. Far away in the South, this great Acharya provided immensely useful guidance by way of knowledge and philosophy which is a subject of eternal interest.
Samaysar, Pravachansar and Niyamsar enjoy popularity like Upnishad, Brahmasutra and Shrimad Bhagvad Gita amongst the Vaidic darshans. According to the Digambar opinion, these gathas containing his self-experiences were composed when he enjoyed the seventh gunasthanak position.

Along with Bhagwan Mahavir and Gautam Swami, the Digambar community reveres him greatly. He had devoted himself to meditation and penance in the caves in the mountain range in Karnatak. Mostly he used to stay in the caves of Nandi mountain. He had toured the whole of India for the purpose of propagating religion. It is popularly said about him that with the sheer strength of his ability, he had been able to reach Mahavidehkshetra once and had acquired the knowledge from Simandhar Swami. Scholars like Dr. Jyotiprasad Jain believes that he might have flourished between 8 B. C. to 44 A. D.

SHRIDEVI

Born in Kakar village, Shridevi blazed a trail and carved out a niche in the history of Gujarat. In her one finds a combination of insight and a streak of adventure. She would find a way out of a seemingly difficult situation and no adversity would scare her. King Bhuvad invaded Panchasar on the outskirts of the Ran of Kutch. King Jayshikhari of

Panchasar fought very bravely but died in the battle. His son Vanraj was given shelter by sadhu Sheelgunsuri and was brought up in an . upashraya. He resolved to get back the lost kingdom of his father. In the company of his uncle Surpal, Vanraj turned a robber. He robbed people and kings passing through the forest so as to buy arms and raise an army. Vanraj, once, went to Kakar to rob a rich businessman. He entered the house and peeped into the cellar to look for hidden treasures. His hand, instead of a pot of gold, fell into a

pot filled with curd. Vanraj thought for a while. What it signaled was that he was now a member of the family and how could he think of robbing the same family. He, therefore, returned empty handed. Next morning the businessman woke up to find that his house was in a disarray and things were lying scattered all over. The businessman called his sister Shridevi and said,” A thief must have entered the house at night. Let’s find out what things have been stolen”. They began to look for valuables and to their surprise they found that nothing was stolen. “How could this happen ?”, they wondered. It was a mystery unresolved when Shridevi’s eyes suddenly fell on the pot of curd. She discovered fingerprints and that set her thinking. From the fingerprints she inferred that they were those of a great and powerful personality. At the same time, she was puzzled that, a man who had come to rob the house, went away without stealing anything. How strange! Who that man could he? She was eager to find him and know from him his compulsions for indulging in stealing and robbing. Vanraj also came to know that Shridevi was eager to meet him. He came to her house at night in cognito. On seeing Shridevi, he felt brotherly affection towards her. He found peace and love in her house after wandering for days together. Shridevi fed him with sisterly affection and behaved as a sister would towards her brother. Vanraj said, “From today, you are my sister and if I became king, I would want you to apply rajtilak.” Years passed and Shridevi got married and settled in Patan. Once, while she was passing through the forest, she met Vanraj and her sisterly. love for him was aroused once more. Vanraj, in the meanwhile, had raised an army. He fought and defeated king Bhuvad and regained his lost kingdom. He founded Anhilpur Patan onthe banks of the river Saraswati on Monday in the month of Vaishakh in Vikram Samvat 802. Vanraj was installed as king and Shridevi was present to apply the rajtilak (anointing). The character ofShridevi is an inspiring one. She accepted Vanraj, a nomad, as her brother, who ultimately became a king, but she did not entertain any thought of getting any reward from him. Thus, she is a shining example of pure sisterly love and affection, devoid of any trace of selfishness.

Siddhasen Diwakarsuri

Highly learned scholar Siddhasen of the court of king Vikramaditya of Ujjayini was proud and arrogant about his being undefeated in scriptural discussion and debate everywhere with many a versatile scholar. Siddhasen used to say that he would be a lifelong disciple of any person who would defeat him in such a debate. Meanwhile he

happened to hear about a reputed logician Vruddhavadisuriji. He challenged the logician to a debate. In this debate against Vruddhavadisuriji, Siddhasen was defeated and as per the precondition he accepted initiation from Vruddhavadiji and was named Muni Kumudchandra. In course of time, he was designated as acharya (head of a mendicant group) and based on his original name he was renamed Siddhasensuri. He possessed the miraculous power of producing gold as also of raising an army of soldiers by means of spells; so he provided assistance to king Devpal of Karmar village and thereby frustrated king Vijayvarma’s agression. This won him immense praise both from the people and the king and he was called Diwakar - one that brings light in the darkness. The king never

allowed him to go on foot and he always insisted that he should ride an elephant or use the palanquin. His spiritual teacher (Guru) Acharya Vruddhavadisuriji came to know about this and thought that if other monks would follow the example of Siddhasen Diwakar, it would minimise the significance of restraint and renunciation. Moreover if monks would become acquisitive, it would lead to many evils. So with a view to making his disciple realize the truth, Vruddhavadisuriji came to Karmar village despite his old age. He saw that Siddhasensuri used to mount the palanquin and crowds of people followed him applauding his achievements and making a stampede to win his favour. Aged Vruddhavadisuriji also supported this palanquin but because of his old age he lost his balance. Whereupon Diwakarsuri uttered a sentence in Sanskrit. The Guru, who was lifting the palanquin, pointed to a verbal fallacy in the sentence. Hearing that there was somebody amongst the palanquin-raisers who could find fault with the language of a scholar like him, Diwakarsuri came down from the palanquin and found that it was Gurudev himself ! He felt terrible remorse and he asked for Guru’s appology. Once Diwakarsuri found some scholars ridiculing the sutras(the canonical scriptures) of Jain religion written in Prakrit language so he made up his mind to translate them in Sanskrit. He asked his Guru’s permission for this but the Guru advised him not to find faults with the language of the Tirthankars (builders of the ford) viz. the Prakrit language because that would amount to disrespect to the Tirthankars. Siddhasensuri realised his mistake and in order to repent he practised penance for 12 years in a secluded place. After a lapse of 12 years, a strange thing happened. The royal servants were whipping a yogi sleeping in the Shiv temple but it so happened that the whipping-marks were seen on the bodies of the queens in the palace. Greatly surprised by this miracle, king Vikramaditya came down to the Shiv temple and on his arrival the yogi stood up and composed the ‘Kalyan Mandir Stotra’ whose influence was so powerful that an idol of Avanti Parshwanath was manifested itself from right under the ‘shivling’. King Vikramaditya recognised Siddhasen Diwakar. Besides ‘Batris-Batrisi’ his lasting fame depends on his other books like ‘Nyayavtar’, ‘Sanmatitark’, etc. His ‘Nyayavtar’ laid the foundation of Nyayshastra (science of logic). His books reveal exhaustive analysis of Nayvad (theory of partial truth) for the first time.

SONAL

There are four steps to practise true religion: daan (charity), tap (penance), sheel (purity of character) and bhaav (good intention). Out of these, sheel is considered an ornament of soul. Jainism stresses the importance of sheel not only for Sadhus but even for the householders. It is said that Emperer Akbar was impressed by the impeccable character

(sheel) of Sonal, the wife of one of his courtiers.

Once in the court of Akbar the focus of discussion was on women’s dignity. Stories about women holding aloft the high ideals were narrated. After hearing these stories, Akbar said, “Times have changed. Such women, who can be called sati, who have purity of character and who have innate qualities, have become rare. Show me one such woman, if at all she exists. Hearing these words of Akbar, a courtier Champraj Handa stood up and said, “My wife Sonal is such a woman.” Akbar’s guard Sherkhan laughed derisively at this and Handa was furious. He thundered, “My wife Sonal is a sati, a woman of pure

character. If anyone can prove to the contrary, I will chop off my head.” Sherkhan accepted the challenge and said he would prove that Sonal was not what her husband claimed her to be. Sherkhan, then, tried various ways and means to make Sonal deviate from the virtuous path. Enticements and temptations proved futile. Sherkhan realised that Sonal was made of different stuff and so he decided to try devious means. He called a prostitute and asked her to impersonate as Sonal’s distant aunt. If she could, then, find a proof proving violation of Sonal’s chastity, he would reward her handsomely. The prostitute, disguised as an aunt, went to Sonal’s house and stayed there for some days. She, once noticed a mole on Sonal’s thigh while she was bathing. She was very happy. After few days, she took her leave with a heavy heart. While leaving Sonal’s house, she stole a handkerchief and a dagger. The prostitute gave these two things to Sherkhan and also told him about the mole on Sonal’s thigh. Next day Sherkhan was in Akbar’s court. He proudly said, “What I said has been proved right. I have in my possession proofs to prove that Sonal’ s chastity had been violated.” He, then, told Sonal’ s husband about the mole on Sonal’ s thigh and also showed him the handkerchief and the dagger. Champraj Handa, Sonal’s husband, was stunned and prepared to cut off his head. He went to Sonal, his wife, and said, “Sonal! you lost your chastity; now I will lose my head.” Sonal, at once, realised what had happened and set out for Akbar’s court in the guise of a dancer. She danced for awhile and Akbar was pleased. He wanted her to ask for a boon. Sonal said that she would like him to listen to her story. She, then, told him of Sherkhan’s deception and Sherkhan stood exposed. Champraj Handa, was very happy and Sherkhan was exiled. The names of men and women of sterling character and almost superhuman qualities are inscribed in the letters of gold. They represent the best that is there in Indian civilization. Seeta, Damyanti, Rajimati, Chandanbala and other women of outstanding qualities and impeccable character are the ones who are remembered by one and all. Sonal was also one such woman whose chastity was suspected but who, in the end, accepted the challenge and proved that she was a chaste woman, and a real sati.

SUBHADRA SATI
Subhadra was having deep and intense religious devotion and unfailing fidelity to her husband but suddenly there was an unexpected calamity in her life. An incident took
place which brought a blot on her pure virtuous name. When everyone deserted her, her innate honesty and virtuosity stood by her and saw her through the greatest test of life.

Subhadra was the daughter of Jindas, a minister of king Jitshatru of Vasantpur. She was wise, cultured and religious minded. Buddhadas, a non-Jain, was attracted by her beauty and desired to marry her. With a view to getting married to Subhadra, he studied Jain religion and he used to observe all the rituals and ceremonies of Jain religion. Subhadra was married to Buddhadas who had deceived her by pretending to be a Jain. Once one ascetic monk having performed a month’s fast, came to collect alms at Subhadra’s residence and she saw that there was a small blade of grass in his eye and if that was not removed, he might get blind; so she removed it from the monk’s eyes with her tongue. It so happened that in so doing the pigment mark (bindi) on her forehead got stuck on the monk’s forehead. The mother-in-law was always in search of something to defame her daughter in-law and now an opportunity on had come her way. She alleged

that Subhadra had an affair with the monk. Even her husband began to doubt her chastity and started neglecting Subhadra. Though innocent, Subhadra thus had a blot on her name. She made up her mind that unless the ruling goddess would manifest herself and remove the blot, she would live in a stage of kausagga (meditation in a standing posture). At this time a strange incident took place in the town of Champanagari. The gates of royal palace got closed and nobody could open the gates despite numerous efforts and contrivances. Then there was a divine oracle (in the sky) saying that if a chaste and virtuous woman would fetch water from a well with the help of an unprocessed yarn and if the same water was sprinkled on the gates, then only they would open. The queen herself and many other women sprinkled water and tried their utmost but of no avail. Subhadra told her mother-in-law, “If you permit me, I may try.” At this the mother-in law lost her temper and said, “You have already brought disgrace to the family by your infatuation for the monk. Aren’t you satisfied with that? Still you want to bring bad name to us publicly in the whole state? Shame on you !” Subhadra kept quiet, despite such heart-rending and bitter words of her mother-in-law. Politely she said, “O mother! You are right that if I failed I would be a disgraced daughter-in law of the family but I shall ask a question to the sky and if there be an answer ‘open the gates’ you would let me go.” Facing the sky Subhadra asked the same question and there was a divine utterance - ‘open the gates’. Now Subhadra felt reassured of all the protection and help from the ruling goddess. She fetched water from the well with the aid of unprocessed yarn and sprinkled it on the gates of the royal palace. Soon the three gates opened one after another but for the fourth gate the ruling goddess said that the fourth gate would open if there be any other chaste and virtuous woman. Many a woman tried but the gate did not open; till today it remains closed. The king and the people at large were greatly impressed by Subhadra’s religious devotion. People all around realized the greatness and impact of Jain religion. Subhadra’s mother-in-law and husband asked to be forgiven and adopted jain religion. In course of time Subhadra accepted initiation and having achieved absolute knowledge, attained liberation.

SUBHADRA SHETHANI

The leader of the Surat Mahajan (association of merchants) advised his son Pramodrai that he should stick to good moral conduct, should keep good company, should be sweet in his tongue and should carry out his trading within a limit of rupees twenty lac their assets being of that amount. This advice was recorded by the father on the first page of
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the book of accounts. Once Pramodrai happened to go out of the town. During that time one ship-owner came to his munim (chief accountant) and requested him to get his ship worth rupees thirty lac insured for that amount. The munim wrote the name of the ship-owner, assessed the goods therein and insured it for rupees thirty lac. Pramodrai Sheth returned on the third day. He was greatly distressed and disturbed on discovering that the munim had incurred a risk exceeding rupees twenty lac and the shock was so severe that he became unconscious.

Manilal, the experienced munim also realized his mistake. In case the ship drowned, they would have to pay a huge amount of rupees thirty lac which was a difficult task. Sheth’s wife Subhadra was extremely religious minded. Once Pramodrai was awakened by the heavy storm at midnight and he realized that he was sure to face a similar cyclone of calamity in his life now. The other day Pramodrai received a telegram that the sea-faring ship was not traceable. It was also stated to keep rupees thirty lac ready as the ship-owner was to came to collect the money the next morning. This was indeed a lightening-like calamity for Pramodrai. He thought that it would be better to face death than to lose his reputation in the market. Pramodrai and Subhadra kept two cups of opium ready for the morning. Being religious minded, Subhadra said, “For once let me pray and request ]ineshvar Bhagwan (venerable Jina) since in His regime no righteous person is subjected to suffering. If need be, we shall take the opium together. Then Subhadra Shethani made an earnest samayik (attaining equanimity) with complete devotion. Under the spell of the melodious stavan (devotional song) Pramodrai went to sleep. At very late in the night, somebody knocked at the door. Shethani opened the door and a person with a partially covered face entered the room with a bag in his hands. Subhadra Shethani asked the person to remove his cover on the face and be fearless. When he did so, she found that it was the prince of Bhavanipur and as his father had died he was worried that the Government agent might take over the property and had come with his share of the amount and ornaments to the Sheth. He said, “Kindly keep this amount, I don’t want any interest thereof. I am thoroughly aware of your righteousness. Please have some mercy on my innocent children and please keep this amount safely in the house.” So saying he left behind the bag containing gold and cash and soon went away. She counted the amount and threw away the opium. When it was morning Sheth asked her to have the dose of opium. Thereupon Subhadra Shethani told him everything that had happened during the night. When the Sheth went to his shop Manilal, the munlm, told him that because of the seastorm the ship had gone away towards a different port and now it was located as being safe and secure. Pramodrai Sheth was very happy and had all the praise for the insight, ability and religious devotion of Subhadra Shethani.

SULSA
Bhagwan Mahavir was once giving his discourses in Champanagari and he saw Ambad parivrajak (wandering monk) proceeding towards Rajgruhi. He stopped him
and said, “On reaching Rajgruhi, tell Shravika Sulsa that Mahavir has wished her dharmalabh” (increase in righteousness).

Ambad parivrajak started thinking about Sulsa and her piety and devoutness since Bhagwan Mahavir also held her in high esteem. He thought of testing her devoutness and assumed the from of Yati and asked for sachitta (living matter), but Sulsa remained uperturbed. Then he assumed the form of Brahma and the entire city gathered for his worship but Sulsa was her usual self, undisturbed. Next day parivrajak was Shiva incarnate, and on third and fourth day he was Vishnu and Tirthankar (builders of the ford) incarnate. Tirthankar is worshipped by sixty four Indras and the parivrajak assumed the form of twenty fifth tirthankar. He thought that Sulsa would at least come for the tirthankar’s darshan but she didn’t. The entire population of the city turned up for the darshan except Sulsa. Ambad, therefore, sent an invitation saying that it was strange that one who was so devout did not care to

come for tirthankar’s darshan! Sulsa replied to the messenger: “Gentleman! the man who claims to be twenty fifth tirthankar is no tirthankar but an impostor. When tirthankar arrives, the entire world comes to know about it. In the case of this impostor, nothing of the sort has happened. On the contrary it is he who has to invite people for his darshan.” Ambad, then, realised that Sulsa was no ordinary woman; He, at, once arrived at Sulsa’s house. He met her and said, “You are fortunate. Bhagwan himself remembers you and wishes you dharmalabh.” On hearing these words, Sulsa was thrilled and overjoyed. She lay prostrate on the ground in the direction of where Bhagwan was seated and began worshipping him. Sulsa’s devoutness and piety touched Ambad’s heart. Sulsa was a virtuous, peace-loving woman and her heart was filled with devotion. She could not beget a child and had asked her husband Nag to remarry but he declined to do so. Then she began severe penance and it pleased Indra so much that he praised her devotion before the assembly of gods; but Harinaigmeshi dev decided to test her steadfast devotion. He went to her, disguised as a monk, and asked for lakshapak oil. Sulsa brought a pot of oil but the God, deliberately, dropped the pot and the oil spilled over the ground. She brought four pots and each was broken by the god, but Sulsa was neither angry nor perturbed. She was calm and composed. The god was pleased with her behaviour, her composure and above all her devotion. He blessed her and she begot many sons. Salsa’s sons were well-versed in religion, scriptures, ethics and even arts. But, unfortunately, they all died fighting king Chetak. Sulsa was drowned in grief. Abhaykumar consoled her and her husband Nag, saying grief results in formation of karma. Sulsa spent the remaining years as a shravika and died while in meditation and went to heaven. She was to be born Nirmam, the fifteenth Tirthankar in next ‘chovisi’. Sulsa’s life is a shining example of steadfastness, utter devoutness, severe penance, nobility and equanimity - an example worth emulation!

Suracharya

Suracharya also occupies a position among the first rank of versatile Acharyas (head of a medicant group) of the Solanki period in Gujarat. His scholarship was profound while his poetic power was matchless. In his teaching he never allowed or tolerated any shortcoming or lethargy. In case any of his pupils made mistakes in his lesson, he was beaten with a wooden stick of the broom. However, as the stick would break because of frequent

beating he decided to have an iron-rod. As his Guru came to know about it, he restrained Suracharya from doing so and in a scolding tone he said, “If you are so much proud of your knowledge, it would be worthwhile to prove yourself victorious in the learned assembly of versatile scholars of king Bhoj of Malava. The iron-rod that you intend to have is like a weapon of Yamraj, the God of Death and a symbol of terror. It doesn’t befit a Sadhu who is committed to fearlessness.”

These utterances of the Guru removed Suracharya’s harshness. It was a strange coincidence that king Bhoj had sent a meaningful puzzle by way of a shloka (verse) that was meant to test the scholarship and knowledge of the learned assembly of king Bhimdev of Gujarat. Bhimdev was lost in deep thoughts and he informed the learned scholars of his court about the challenge by way of a puzzle and all the state ministers as also the scholars were of opinion that only Suracharya was competent for that task. King Bhoj respectfully invited Suracharya to the court and told him about the answer to be sent for the puzzle he had sent. Guru’s words, recently uttered, were still ringing in the ears of Suracharya. Just on arrival Suracharya composed a poetic message that contained a solution of the puzzle sent by king Bhoj. The entire court was extremely pleased by his learning and creativity. As the poetic message was read before king Bhoj’s court, the entire assembly was astonished more so because nobody had imagined that a man having such an unparallaled poetic creativity in Gujarat could be a sadhu ! This paved the way for exchange of poetic compositions between Gujarat and Malva. King Bhoj was extremely happy and satisfied by the unique poetic competence of Suracharya but the court pundits took another opportunity to test his capability. A child was trained, like a parrot, in matters of learning and court pundits of king Bhoj invited Suracharya to have a religious debate with the child - scholar. A great scholar as he was, Suracharya could easily make out that the child was not a learned person and exposed the trick perpetrated by the pundits. Thus the trick of the court pundits of king Bhoj was exposed. At last the pundits themselves arranged a debate with Suracharya who ultimately defeated all of them. Enraged by the defeat, the pundits planned to attack Suracharya but with the help of great poet Dhanpal, Suracharya could reach Gujarat. At the court of Malwa, Suracharya’s scholarship earned immense reputation. When Acharya Shri Suracharya reached Patan, the then capital of the Solanki period, king Bhimdev and the citizens of Patan honoured him in a grand manner; greatly delighted as he was by the poetic personality of his own disciple, the Guru himself came to honour him. He wrote a poetic compisition by the way of a biography of Bhagvan Rushabhdev and Bhagvan Neminath. He wrote an epic named Nemicharita in prose and in verse.

SUSHlLA
Subhadra, a leading merchant of Pruthvipur, was a Jain who observed twelve vows. Once upon a time he had to visit Rajpur for trading purpose and he happened to stay at Sheth Jindas’s home. Subhadraa, Jindas’s daughter was known as Sushila because of her good character. Considering Sushila’s religiousity, her father got her married to Subhadra.

One incident that took place in the beginning of their married life created a rift between them. Subhadra was fascinated by the beauty of one of Sushila’s friends. Being of a noble family, Subhadraa did not utter a word in this regard but his weak body betrayed the disturbed state of his mind. Sushila, clever woman as she was, told her husband, “Please leave all your worries and be assured that I shall fulfill your desires. Moreover my friend also would not ignore my proposal. My only condition is that when my friend, in her best dress, comes to your bedroom you shall put out the lamps so that she may not feel unduly shy.” Lustful as he was, Subhadra agreed to act accordingly. The only intention in Sushila’s mind was that she did not want her husband’s vow to be broken. It was strange and ironical that a man who was observing 12 vows should have a keen desire for a woman

other than his own wife. In the darkness of night Sushila called her friend under some pretext and both of them talked in a cheerful mood. This assured Subhadra that his keen desire would be fulfilled that night. Subhadra was sitting near the bed temptingly decorated with rich and scented materials. The entire bed-room was decorated with flowers. She entered with the same gait as that of her friend. Subhadra put out the lamp and having drawn her to the bed, he was engaged in amorous actions. Before the day dawned, the woman left the bed and went away, saying she wanted to go home. When it was morning, there was turmoil in Subhadra’s mind regarding his slavery to sexual enjoyment. He thought that he had totally ignored Jineshvar Bhagwan’s preaching about virtuous character. His heart was tormented by remorse. He began to hate himself for the sin that he had committed. Whenever he happened to face Sushila, Subhadra would not look into her eyes. He felt as if he was a criminal. Having observed the state of his mind, Sushila thought that still there was modesty and bashfulness in her husband; she hoped that since he was a god-fearing person, he could be led on the path of religion. While performing her samayika (practicing equanimity), Sushila read aloud the words regarding the damage and loss suffered by a person consequent upon his breach of a vow. She made sure that her husband overheard what she read. Subhadra was pleased with his wife’s religious devotion and was all praise for her good intention. But he constantly suffered pain and torture due to his breach of vow. Consequently, he looked gloomy and became lean day by day. Ultimately on the insistence of Sushila, Subhadra unburdened his heart by narrating the incident of that night. Sushila was prepared to accept her husband and she was very happy that all ended well as desired by her. Finally she told him everything and made him realize that it was not her friend but she herself who had spent the night with him. Subhadra thanked his wife whose extraordinary faith in religion had saved him. Having attained absolute knowledge, both of them attained salvation.

TlLAKMANJARI

The learned are worshipped everywhere. King Munj and king Bhoj of Dhara held
poet Dhanpal in high esteem for Dhanpal was a very learned man, and a poet of a high order. Munj considered him as his son and had conferred on him the title ‘kurchal Saraswati’ (goddess Saraswati with a beard and moustache). King Bhoj had conferred the

title kavishvar (best among the poets) and siddha Saraswati (an accomplished scholar). Dhanpal had, once, out of spite for the Jain religion, compelled the king to ban the Jains monks’ travel in Malwa. However his own younger brother had renounced the world and was known as Shobhanacharya. He explained to his elder brother the basic tenets of Jainism and their importance and converted him. Thus converted he, then, composed a work in praise of tirthankar Rishabhdev.

Once, on a wintry night, Dhanpal read out his work to king Bhoj. Bhoj suggested some alternations and said that he should add some words of praise about his love for religion. Dhanpal refused to do so saying, “It would mean I am not true to myself. I am sorry but I cannot act against my conscience.” The king, hearing these words was furious and threw the book into fire. Hot words were also exchanged between the two. Poet Dhanpal was sad when he returned home. He was restless. His daughter Tilakmanjari wanted to know the cause of his sadne.ss. Dhanpalloved her very much and she was equally accomplished. She would read the works of her father with great interest. Dhanpal informed her daughter that his labour of years had turned to ashes. . Tilakmanjari consoled her father and said, “Grieve not, father. I remember every word of what you had written in the volume.” These words of Tilakmanjari lifted his drooping spirit. He was proud of his daughter and her retentive memory. She began to dictate to him and Dhanpal began to write. And lo and behold! Within no time the book was ready. This happened in Vikram Samvat 1084 and the work, exemplifying the nine ras (sentiments) was, thus, recomposed. A true creator is always faithful to his/her vocation. His/Her creations are unforced, naturally born. He/She will never use the pen to indulge in false praise or ‘sell’ it to make a living out of it. Poet Dhanpal was one such poet. He chose to suffer humiliation than to bend his wishes to the king’s. Thanks to his daughter Tilakmanjari, the lost work of Dhanpal was salvaged and retrieved. “What would have happened to the work if Tilakmanjari was not there to help him ?”, wondered Dhanpal. He entitled the work Tilakmanjari in appreaciation of his daughter’s help - a tribute to her memory which made the impossible possible.

TRISHALAMATA

It was Trishalamata who gave birth to an illustrious son Vardhaman who turned out to be mankind’s saviour. She has, therefore, been a venerable lady. She was the queen of king Siddharth and the sister of king Chetak of Vaishali. Her motherhood has been a source of inspiration to millions throughout the world and writers have delineated her life very

vividly. The god Harinaigmeshi implanted eighty-two day embryo into Trishaladevi’s womb. One night, while in deep slumber, she saw fourteen dreams. She described these auspicious dreams to her husband Siddharth. The king summoned some scholars, well-versed in the interpretation of dreams, and asked them what the dreams stood for. Queen Trishala had, in her dreams, seen a white elephant resembling king Indra’s Airavat, Rishabh with white teeth, a lion, goddess Laxmi, a garland of fresh flowers, bright moon, fiery sun, a

fluttering flag, silver pot, lake padma, and kshirsagar (ocean), divine aircraft, precious jewels, and smokeless fire. The scholars interpreted the dreams and said, “0 King, a brave and fearless son, with divine powers, will be born to you. He will either be a .powerful king or a propagator and protector of religion.” The embryo in mother Trishala’s womb was worried about the pain its movements caused to the mother. It, therefore, became very quiet and stopped all movements. This made Trishala extremely unhappy. She became suspicious whether somebody had stolen the embryo or whether it had dissipated. Her condition made the king worried too. All entertainments in the place came to a standstill. Once Trishaladevi fainted and the foetus inside Trishaladevi’s womb blamed itself for causing pain to the mother rather than joy. The foetus, then, stirred in the womb and a smile flickered across Trishaladevi’s face. Vardhaman inside too felt happy thinking about the bond of love between the mother and the child. He thought, “I must not cause any pain to my loving parents and I will not.” He, then, decided not to renounce the world so long as the parents were living. Before his birth, Bhagwan Mahavir’s first sermon was on devotion to mother. On the thirteenth day of Chaitra Sud, in the year 543 before Vikram Samvat, at midnight, prince Vardhaman was born. There was brilliance all around, heralding the birth of a unique child. Fifty six virgins performed dances to welcome his birth. Young Vardhaman was engaged to Yashoda. Trishaladevi thought that marriage would definitely succeed in holding back prince Vardhaman from his desire to take renunciation. Vardhaman was a householder but he had lost interest in worldly affairs. He lived in a palace surrounded by comforts but he kept himself aloof from them. Love abounded in the family and king Siddharth, Trishaladevi, elder brother Nandivardhan, and his wife ]yestha, Vardhaman and Yashoda would exchange pleasantries when they got together. Vardhaman, then, would discuss religion and its different facets, followed by devotional music. The entire family, a well-knit unit, would partake of the devotional feast. There existed a strong bond of love between elder brother Nandivardhan and Siddharth. This made mother Trishala extremely happy. But destiny had some other designs in store. When she was in a state of bliss, Mother Trishala, realised that her end was approaching. She confessed her sins, gave up taking food and breathed her last. She was the mother not of an ordinary child but one who was a seer and one the last Tirthankar, Bhagwan Mahavir, whom even god Indra was always eager to propitiate.

UPADHYAY SHRI UDAYRATNAJI

There are numerous tales and anecdotes about the holy power of Shri Udayratnaji Maharaj. In V:S. 1750, the Chha’ri sangh (a congregation on pilgrimage practising six special vows) had undertaken a journey from Kheda to Shankheshwar at his inspiration and under his guidance. The ruling Thakor of Shankheshwar at that time used to collect tax of one guinea from the pilgrims and allow them to have a glimpse of the idol. The Kheda sangh was delayed in reaching Shankheshwar and as ordered by the Thakor the temple-in-charge refused to open the doors of the

temple. Shri Udayratnaji Maharaj and all the members of the sangh took an oath that they would not accept food and water without having a glimpse of Shankheshwar Parshwanath Bhagwan. Shri Udayratnaji Maharaj and the entire sangh stood near the door of the temple and soon a very moving prayer flowed out from his heart.

At the end of the prayer, he uttered a request to open the door with the words Pragat tha pasji. The ruling Nagraj was moved and pleased by the prayer and surprisingly the doors of the Jain temple opened automatically. As a result of this incident, the Thakor of the village came there and bowed to the Muniraj and handed over the idol of Shri Shankheshwar Parshwanath to the Shrisangh. It is also said that Shri Udayratnaji possessed some miraculous power and he could conjure up lifelike scenes which the holy assembly (samavasaran) and other people were able to see. As a result of his inspiration numerous people joined the fold of Jain religion. He practised severe penance and it is said that he stood in kausagga meditation for four months in three towns in Kheda near Ahmedabad in Gujarat; consequently the place resembled a small island. There were 500 houses of Bhavsar community in the village Kheda and all of them got the advantage of his preachings, as a result of which all the Bhavsar families of Kheda joined the fold of the Jain religion. So also many of the residents of the village Sojitra became the followers of the Jain religion under his inspiration. In 1739 A. D. a poet named Ratna had written a poetic composition in which he had addressed Upadhyay Shri Udayratnaji as his ‘guru’. In the tradition of Vijayrajsuri of Tapagachchha, Shri Udayratnaji was more famous for his rasa, chhanda, saloko, stavan, sajjhayo, stuti, barmasa, chovishi etc. He was a resident of Kheda. There are numerous compositions written by him from A. D. 1693 to 1743. His poetic creativity is unique both in short compositions like stuti or stavan as well as in long narratives like rasa. He will be remembered for his saintliness and religious service. Shri Udayratnaji was an author of wide and varied literature and he had co’mposed the ‘rasa’ having in view the lives of different personalities like Jambuswami, Sthulibhadra, Sudarshan, Malaysundari etc. His poetic ability is best expressed in ‘barmasa’ compositions based on the episode of Neminath and Rajimati; whereas his stavans and ‘sajjhays’ are remarkable for the depiction of different feelings and attitudes, preachings. and valuable documentary material. They contain thematic content relating to tirthankars like Sankheswar Parshwanath and Shri Neminath as also regarding the sons of Rushabhdev namely Bharat, Bahubali and minister like Vimalshah. In terms of literary forms, he has written ‘stavans’, ‘sajjhays’, ‘stutis’, ‘chovisi’, ‘barmasa’, ‘rasa’, ‘shaloko’ and ‘chhand’.

UPADHYAY SHRI YASHOVIJAYJI

Someone utters the word upadhyayji it would mean Shrimad Yashovijayji Upadhyay. ‘So says Upadhyayji’ is regarded as the final word and ultimate authority in scriptural matters. His contemporary monks regarded him as the sarvajna (omniscient) in matters of the scriptures and also as shrutkevali (scripture - omniscient). Author of more than 100 books in Sanskrit, Prakrut and Gujarati, he also earned the titles of Tattvavisharad and Kurchalsharda. Besides writing the books that were theoretical and academic, he

composed poems that were immensely popular. As Shri Bhadrabahuswami was known as antim shrutkevali so also Upadhyayji can be regarded as antim shrutpargami (last knower of all Jain canonical scriptures). Since his time, there has been no other scholar as learned and competent as him. He was born in a small village Kanoda in North Gujarat. Narayan was his father and Saubhagyadevi was his mother. Saubhagyadevi was so deeply religious that she would not have her food without listening to the recitation of Bhaktamar statra. Once, because of

heavy rains, she could not go to upashraya. Thus failing to listen to the recitation of the ‘stotra’ from the nun she had to do without food and water. Jashvant, the son, came to know about it and he told her mother that as he had been accompanying her to the upashraya and had been listening to the recitation of the statra he knew it verbatim. About five years of age, the boy recited the entire Bhaktamar statra. Thus Jashvant, the darling son of the mother, came to be loved by all in the village. Once Jashvant joined the monk in expiatory recitals (pratikraman-penitential retreat) and he had learnt all the sutras that he heard only once. The religious parents dedicated such a bright child to the service of the religion. The personality of Shri Yashovijayji had an aura about it. Pujya Shri Nayvijayji, the guru of Shri Yashovijayji, was also very happy with the pursuit of knowledge of his disciple. He thought that such a brilliant monk could achieve eminence if he could be sent to the learned scholars of Varanasi. At this juncture a Jain layman named Dhanji Sura requested the monk that in case Yashovijayji was allowed by the guru to go to Varanasi for further studies, he should be given the privilege of sharing the responsibility of looking after the arrangements for Yashovijayji’s stay at Varanasi. On the banks of river Ganga in Varanasi, Yashovijayji got the blessings of goddess Sarasvati. He studied the subject of Nyay (logic) and impressed by his deep knowledge even the non-Jain scholars conferred the titles of ‘Nyayacharya’ and ‘Nyayavisharad’ on Shri Yashovijayji. As he exhibited eighteen types of concentration (avadhan) before the suba (administrator) of Ahmedabad, the latter was surprised by Yashovijayji’s power of concentration and memory. In A. D. 1687 he had his last chaturmas (four months’ of stay during monsoon at one place) on the sacred land of Dabhoi. He passed away after a very devoted life of 55 years. Upadhyay Shri Yashovijayji, who had composed works on logic, grammar and meditation and spiritual philosophy in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Gujarati, is known as ‘Laghu Haribhadraji’ or dwitiya (the second) Hemchandracharya. Because of his rich and diverse literary creations, Upadhyay Yashovijayji can be recognised as ‘antim shrutpargami’ just as Shri Bhadrabahuswami is known as the ‘antim shrutkevali’ in]ainism.

Vajraswami
Life of Shri Vajraswami, born yogi and the tenth and the last purvadhar, was a unique combination of penance, accomplishment and religious pursuit. The most outstanding feature of his life is that he acquired the knowledge of jati-smaran (memory of past birth) as soon as he was born. From the day he was born, he went for renunciation of worldly life and he lived as a devoted ascetic upto the age of eighty.

Though Dhangiri and Sunanda of Tumbavan city were married, Sunanda was well aware about her husband’s keen yearning for spiritual advancement. As Sunanda had a felicitous garbhasuchak dream, Dhangiri told her that soon she will have a support in her new-born son, and if she would permit he would pursue spiritual well-being by accepting initiation. Being an ideal Indian woman, she let him go his way. Sunanda delivered a baby boy in B. C. 31 and there was great rejoicing in the family. As soon as the newly born child overheard this remark, he acquired jatismaran knowledge of his earlier birth. Instantly he started crying, lest he should get caught up in the worldly entanglement of motherly love. Sunanda was so harassed and tormented by the child’s crying day and night for over six months that out of sheer frustration she left the child in the sag of monk Dhangiri and surprisingly enough the child ceased crying as soon as he was put in the sag. Monk Dhangiri came to his Guru Aryasinhgiri carrying the

sag. The Guru, having looked at the heavy sag, said that it was heavy like a thunderbolt. As the Guru opened the sag, he found a child in it and he named him vajra who was ultimately brought up by nuns and a Jain laywoman (Shravika). After a lapse of three years, Sunanda was overcome by her motherly love and she asked for her son. The matter was ultimately referred to the king’s court and it was finally decided that the boy would belong to the person with whom he felt attached. Sunanda tried to win over the boy with toys, sweets and loving gestures but the boy did not budge an inch. Then the boy’s father Dhangiri lifted his rajoharan (a whiskbroom) and asked the child if he knew the ultimate truth and if he was anxious to go for life of restraint, he should accept the rajoharan so as to do away with the bondage of karma. Before Monk Dhavalgiri could complete his sentence, Vajra, the child, went to the Monk and sat in his lap and picking up the rajoharan began to fan him. The entire royal court was amazed and Sunanda was lost in deep thoughts - her husband, brother and son all had accepted initiation. Soon she decided to follow into their foot-steps. The gods tried twice to tempt the young Muni Vajraswami by offering him food by means of creating illusion in the forest but with the sheer power of his intelligence he could see through the divine illusion and refused the food. Thereupon, the gods granted him the vaikriya labdhi (supernatural power of assuming any bodily form) and the knowledge to fly in the sky. Once when there was very acute famine in Northern India, Vajraswami sent the entire sangh to Maheshwari Puri with the power of this ‘akashgamini’ knowledge. No flowers were available there so he managed to supply 20 lakh flowers by means of a viman (celestial ariel car). Thus he was a noble and worthy symbol of strength and sainthood. He passed away in A. D. 57. With a view to making his inspiring memory everlasting, the Vajjishakha was established after his death.

VANRAJ CHAVDA
Vanraj Chavda, the founder of the Chavda empire, was a powerful ruler of Gujarat. Many Jain saints, brave soldiers and a host of eminent personalities lived during his reign.

Jaishikhari, Vanaraj’s father, was defeated by king Bhuvad in a battle and his pregnant wife queen Roopsundari, accompanied by brother Surpal, hid herself in a forest. Vanraj was born and brought up in the forest. Once, while child Vanraj was sleeping in a cradle hung between trunks of two trees, Jain Acharya Sheelgunsuri happened to pass through

the forest. His gaze fell on the sleeping child and prophesied that the child would carve out a niche for himself as a powerful ruler. The kind-hearted Jain saint gave shelter to the queen and her child. Vanraj was looked after by the Jain monk and this helped in the inculcation of many virtues in the infant Vanraj. His innate bravery did not remain dormant and he became the king of the forest. He was a true Kshatriya (a warrior-caste) and while playing with children, he would assume the role of a king. With the passage of time, Vanraj grew into a brave man and showed his powers very often. A very determined man, he would never retrace a step once taken. He learnt the art

of warfare from his uncle Surpal and decided to take back the empire lost by his father. He began collecting wealth, soldiers and weapons to wq.ge a war against the enemy. Once Vanraj committed a theft at the house of a businessman in the neighbouring village. While stealing things from his house, his hand happened to fall into a pot of curd. He thought, “My hand is smeared with curd and it means I have eaten in the house of this man. So I am their guest. How can I steal things from his house ?” Vanraj left the place, leaving behind the stolen goods. Next day the villager’s sister Shridevi learnt, on inquiry, that it was Vanraj who had left behind the stolen goods. She invited him to her house for a meal. Vanraj promised her that she would be called to apply tilak (forehead Mark) on his installation as king. Vanraj waylaid Bhuvad and looted silver and one thousand horses. The king of Kanoj also did not offer any resistance to him and Vanraj thought the time had come for him to seize power. He founded his empire in a forest on land inhabited by a shepherd Anahill. It was a land supposed to harbour only the brave souls. It is said that it was on this land that once a rabbit attacked a fierce dog. The new capital was christened Anahillpur Patan in A.D. 745. True to his promise, he summoned Shridevi, on whom he had conferred sisterhood, to apply tilak on his forehead. At the age of fifty, he ascended the throne and, it is said, he offered his kingdom to Sheelgunsuri which he declined to accept, being an ascetic. On being advised by the Acharya, Vanraj brought from Panchasar the idol of Shri Parshwanath Bhagwan and got it installed in Vanraj-vihar. The temple of Shri Panchasara Parshwanath still exists in Patau in north Gujarat with the idols of King Vanraj and Acharya Sheelgunsuri too. Vanraj became the king of Gujarat and his subjects were all happy, but often he was referred to as a robber, and he tried to remove the blot. His son Yograj too was pained on being branded robbers and their kingdom as ‘Kingdom of robbers’. The three sons of Yograj looted the ships anchored in the sea near Somnath Patan. To atone for his sin, Yograj gave up taking food and water and committed self immolation by setting himself afire.

VlKAAMADITYA HEMU
Vikramaditya Hemu is renowned in history as a powerful warrior and an adept
strategist. For his matchless prowess, he earned the title of ‘God of war’. The story of his life is like an oasis in the Mugal history. Historians like Badauni and Abul Fazal have praised the reign of Vikramaditya Hemu who ruled Delhi for six months.

The son of a Jain layman of Mandovar, he started as an ordinary merchant but reached the pinnacle by dint of hard work and daring spirit. He became an ace jeweller and simultaneously reached the highest post in the army. He was a gallant fighter, adventurous and a fine strategist. His expertise in matters of military and his honesty. endeared him to emperor Mohmed Adilshah. He, then, became the dewan (Prime minister of the king) of Delhi. Adilshah was killed in an encounter with the Pathans.and the mantle to rule·fellon Hemu. In those days courtly patronage was sought after by religious leaders of alL denominations. They would all try to please the king and get afew concessionsin return. ButHemraj was made of different stuff. He expanded the state and suppressed the rebellion in Chunara and Bengal. He defeated all those who opposed him and was firmly in the saddle as the ruler of Delhi, and was known as Vikramaditya (one who was

triumphant). His experience in warfare, his mastery of statecraft and expertise in the art of

fighting earned for him great renown. His presence would send shivers down the spine of his opponents. He stood by Shershah who was his friend and who had undertaken many people-oriented projects. After king Prithviraj, Vikramaditya Hemu became the most famous Hindu ruler of Delhi. His enemies and opponents called him the wizard of the battlefield for the way he planned and executed his strategies to defeat the enemy. His elephant called hava would also strike terror in the hearts of enemies. Well-known historian Vincent Smith praised his competence as a ruler and his insight into administration. He writes: “Hemu a consummate general and statesman who displayed organizing capacity and valour of a high order. Originally a petty shopkeeper of Rewari of Mewat.. .. Even Abul Fazal admits that he managed the affairs of state with rare ability and success. He was one of the greatest men of his day and among Akbar’s opponent through out Hindustan there was none who could excel him in vaIour, enterprise and courage. He had earned himself unique military distinction by winning 22 pitched battles.” Vikramaditya Hemu nurtured many dreams but not all his dreams were realised.In A.D. 1556 a fierce battle broke out in Panipat between the Mugal Army and the army of Vikramaditya Hemu. Akbar had launched his expedition to capture Delhi and Agra. Akbar had never encountered such stiff resistance as he did from Hemu’s army. But an arrow pierced through Hemu’s eye and he lost the battle. Akbar refused to behead him but Behramkhan’s sword cut him into two; Hemu’s reign as anemperot of Delhi for six months forms a glorious chapter in the history of India. Not much literature is available about Vikramaditya Hemu, who belonged to the sixteenth century. There are stray references about him in the works of English, Arabic and Persian writers. Late Shri Jaybhikkhu, author of about 300 volumes, wrote a novel which vividly resuscitates the life and times of Vikramaditya Hemu, popularly known as God of war.

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