JAIN STORIES (Parshvanath to Rupo & Muni..)














Abhaykumar and Rohinia

RATNASAR JATAKA - His Previous Birth





About 3000 years ago king Ashvasen was ruling over Varanasi which is also known as Banaras.  It is situated on the bank of holy river Ganga.  He was a benevolent and popular ruler.  He had a queen named Vamadevi.  She gave birth to a son.  During her pregnancy she had once observed a snake passing by her side.  In memory of that incident the boy was named as Parshvakumar, because Parshva in Sanskrit language, means beside.  He was dark complexioned but very handsome like Lord Neminath.

Parshvakumar started growing up in the midst of wealth and happiness.  In due course he grew up to be a very attractive young man known for his courtesy, bravery and valor.  His reputation spread all round and many rulers were eager to get their daughters married to him.  He however did not develop much attachment for the worldly life and showed no eagerness for getting married.

During that time there was another well known city named Kushasthal and king Prasenjit was ruling there.  He had a very beautiful and talented daughter named Prabhavati.  As she became young, her parents started looking for a suitable match for her.

Once while Prabhavati was playing in a garden with her girl- friends, she heard a song to the effect that prince of Varanasi is very handsome and brave and that the girl who marries him would be a very lucky girl.  Prabhavati was impressed by that.  She obtained all possible information about Parshvakumar and got enamored of him.  As her friends came to know of her attachment for Parshvakumar, they gave hints to her parents.  Thereupon Prasenjit decided to convey her wishes to the king of Varanasi.

At that time another powerful ruler named Yavan was ruling over Kaling.  He knew about Prabhavati and wanted to marry her.  When he heard about the plan of Prasenjit to offer Prabhavati to the prince of Varanasi, Yavan decided to get her by force.  Accordingly, he took a large army with him and surrounded Kushasthal.  Prasenjit was no match for him.  He therefore secretly sent a messenger to king Ashvasen with a request for help.

When Ashvasen heard the messenger, he got ready with his army.  Parshvakumar however did not like that his father should take that trouble.  He therefore volunteered to go in his place and proceeded towards Kushasthal with a large force.  For a while, Yavan tried to belittle the force of Varanasi.  Ultimately however he heeded to saner advice and agreed to retreat from Kushasthal.

Prasenjit then welcomed Parshvakumar with valuable presents and due respect.  He then put forth his proposal for marrying his daughter.  Parshvakumar was however not inclined to get married and indicated his intention to go back to Varanasi.  Prasenjit then decided to use the good offices of king Ashvasen for that purpose.  Accordingly, he decided to go with Parshvakumar to Varanasi along with his daughter.

King Ashvasen was very impressed by the beauty, grace and talents of Prabhavati.  He and Vamadevi therefore prevailed upon their son to marry Prabhavati.  The wedding ceremony was performed with all the pomp and splendor and Parshvakumar started passing happy days with Prabhavati.

At that time there was a Tapas (penancing monk) named Kamath.  He had lost his parents in childhood and was raised as an orphan.  Being disgusted of his miserable life, he had become a monk and was undergoing severe penance.  He came to Varanasi for performing a Panch Agni (five fires) penance.  Many people were impressed by his penance and were going to that place for worship.

When Parshvakumar came to know of that, he realized the violence of live beings involved in the fire.  He came there and tried to dissuade Kamath from the sacrificial fire.  Kamath did not agree that life of any being was at stake on account of his performance.  By his extra sensory perception, Parshvakumar could observe that there were snakes in the wood that was put in the sacrificial fire.  He asked his men to take out that wood and to shear it carefully.  To the amazement of the onlookers a half burnt snake came out.  It had too severe burns to survive.  Parshvakumar recited the Navakar Mantra for benevolence of the dying snake, who died and was reborn as Dharanendra Dev.

Kamath was too much annoyed by this interference but was unable to do anything at that time.  He started observing more severe penance and at the end of his life was reborn as Meghmali Dev.

Observing the miseries that living beings had to experience, Parshvakumar developed a high degree of detachment.  At the age of 30 he renounced everything in the world and became a possessionless Muni.  He spent most of his time meditating in search of ultimate bliss for all.

Once while he was in meditation, Meghmali saw him.  He remembered how Parshvanath had interfered in his penance in earlier life.  He saw this opportunity to take revenge.  By his supernatural power, he brought forth all kinds of fierce and harmful animals like elephants, lions, leopards, snakes etc.  As Muni Parshvanath stayed in the meditation unperturbed, Meghmali brought forth heavy rains.  It started raining like cats and dogs.  The rain water touched the feet of Parshvanath and started rising.  It came up to his knees, then to waist and in no time it came up to his neck.

At that time Dharanendra noticed the plight of his benefactor.  He immediately came there and raised a quick growing lotus below the feet of the Muni so that he could stay above water.  Then he spread his fangs all around the head and sides of the Muni so as to protect him from the rains.  All efforts of Meghmali to harass the Muni thus came to nothing.  He was disappointed and did not know what to do.

Dharanendra then severely reproached him and asked him to understand that he was unnecessarily creating trouble to the graceful, merciful Muni.  Meghmali realized the futility of his efforts.  He withdrew all his supernatural power and fell at the feet of the Muni with sense of heavy remorse.  He sincerely begged the Muni to forgive him for his evil acts.

During the period of that distress, the Muni was deep in meditation.  He had attained a high level of ecstasy and had developed perfect equanimity.  As such, he did not have any affection for Dharanendra for the protection that he had extended nor any hatred for Meghmali for the distress caused.

Developing higher and higher purity of consciousness, he ultimately attained Kevalgnan (omniscience) on the 84th day of his renunciation.  Then he started preaching the true religion.  He set up the Tirtha or religious order afresh and became 23rd Tirthankar.  He had many followers.

The principal disciples of Tirthankars are known as Gandhars.  Lord Parshvanath had ten such Gandhars.  His parents and Prabhavati too renounced and became his disciples.  Thereafter he lived long life spreading the true religion and left his mortal body at the age of 100 years and attained Nirvana on Samet Shikhar Mountain.  This is located in the state of Bihar and is the most famous place of pilgrimage for Jains.


In India, about 250 years prior to the birth of Mahavir, the Jain king Ashvasen ruled Varanasi along with his wife Vamadevi.  Their extraordinary son was prince Parshvakumar.

One day, when Parshvakumar was seated in his palace, he heard a loud and boisterous noise in the street.  He looked out of his window and saw a great parade underway.  A large number of people were carrying sweets, garments and precious jewelry.  He asked his mother what the parade was about.  Queen Vamadevi found out that the Brahmin hermit Kamath, who was renowned for his five-fire penance (Pancha Agni Tap) had arrived in their city, and the people were all going to the hermitage to greet him.  The queen had a strong desire to meet with Kamath, and asked the prince to accompany her.

Parshvakumar had heard of the hermit and had mixed feelings about him.  He knew something did not sound right about Kamath and his penance.  Nevertheless, Parshvakumar understood his mother’s feelings and agreed to accompany her to Kamath’s hermitage.

When they arrived at their destination, they saw Kamath performing the difficult penance of all five fires. It was quite an impressive show.  Huge logs were burning on all four sides of Kamath and the summer sun was shining from above.  The hermit was seemingly meditating about God, soul, and worldly delusions (Maya).  People were bowing to him with deep respect.

On seeing the hermit in meditation, the great many thoughts came to Parshvakumar.  Through his intellectual knowledge and experience, he knew that Kamath’s penance was to no avail.  He said to himself, “What kind of meditation is this ?  It is wrong, meaningless.  Many living beings including humans are suffering in the heat.  Many lives are being lost in the fire.  There are living creatures in the logs of wood.  It appears as if this entire show is being put on to charm the people.  This indiscriminate act of punishing the body is not a religious or spiritual practice and should be initiated only after a careful study.”  Parshvakumar was in a dilemma, because he did not want to hurt the feelings of the hermit and his followers, but then he also strongly felt as if is was his duty to try to distinguish right from wrong.

Finally, Parshvakumar stepped forward and said to Kamath, “Oh respected hermit, have you ever thought that by destroying these logs, you are destroying the homes of many creatures ?  Have you ever thought of the millions of creatures you are killing in the fire ?  What good is this type of meditation ?  How can this give you any peace and spiritual experience ?”

The hermit became very angry.  He was burning with rage, and replied, “Parshvakumar, you are a prince belonging to the caste of warriors.  You are not a Brahmin or a scholar.  How do you know what is meditation ?  A prince should not interfere in religious matters.  You should look after the kingdom, play sports and enjoy yourself.”

Parshvakumar stayed calm.  However, he wanted to prove his point.  A wood cutter was called and asked to chop the burning logs as carefully as possible.  Inside one of the logs was a pair of half-burned snakes.  All the people in the crowd saw it.  Hermit was bewildered and had no way to express himself.  Ashamed and fallen from grace, he asked the prince for forgiveness.

Parshvakumar saw that the snakes were near death, so he recited the Navakar Mantra.  The snakes then had good thoughts at the time of their deaths and consequently were born as a Dev and Devi.  This incidence shows us that listening to Navakar Mantra can lead to understanding the principles of religion and thus improve our lives.  Parshvakumar eventually became the 23rd Tirthankar.


Pethad Shah was the minister of the Mandavgadh ruler.  Though he was a busy minister, he never once missed the worship of his Lord.  Once, the king sent for him, but the minister was busy worshipping and hastily sent the messenger away.  The king understood and sent the messenger ten minutes later.  Not surprisingly, the messenger returned empty-handed again.  So the king went to inquire into the matter and found the minister deeply engrossed in worship.

The king then decided to test the religiousness of his minister.  He saw that the servant of the temple was giving flowers to the minister for adoration of the idol.  Then the king took the place of the servant and began to offer flowers.  But he did not give the flowers in the usual (proper) order.  That is when the minister looked up and saw the king instead of the servant.  The king was deeply impressed by the devotional concentration of his minister.  The king asked him to worship the idol and to also carry out the administrative matters of the kingdom.

Only by true worship and devotion can we hope to reach the end of the cycle of birth and death.  We should, indeed, strive to reach the pinnacle of human worship of the Gods, that is, pray with undying devotion.  Nothing should bother us while praying.  Only then can we attain happiness and ultimately Mokhsha.


There was a Muni named Keshikumar in the succession of Lord Parshvanath’s (23rd Tirthankar) ascetic order.  He was calm, self-restrained, practicing penance of high order and possessed Avadhignan and Manah-paryava-gnan.  Preaching to the blessed mass he once arrived at the city named Sharavasti.  Moving throughout the country and preaching the path of bliss are the duties of the selfless saints.

The fame of Muni Keshikumar was widespread and large audiences attended his lectures.  Chitra, the trustworthy chariot driver of the king of Shvetambik had also joined the audience.

Having listened to the discourses of Acharya Keshikumar attentively, numerous persons were enlightened and the chariot driver Chitra initiated himself into twelve vows of a Jain householder, Shravak, which form the very basis of right knowledge.  While seeking permission to leave, he requested the Acharya, “Oh, Lord, our city Shvetambik is very pleasant, charming and beautiful.  Please pay a visit and oblige.”

Chitra, the chariot driver requested twice or thrice and the Acharya replied, “Oh Chitra, it is not safe to stay in a forest haunted by fierce animals.  Similarly it is not advisable to visit a city governed by a cruel monarch.”

Chitra said, “Oh master, the beloved of God, do not be concerned with the king Pardeshi.  Many wealthy and rich people stay in the capital.  They will pay you their homage and will serve you by offering abundant provisions and such other means.   Your visit shall mean great obligation.  Please do pay a visit.”

On realizing the persistency and the politeness of Chitra’s invitation, the Acharya replied, “As the circumstances shall permit.”  On such occasions holy Munis do not use decisive expressions as it is difficult to know where and when the force of circumstances shall lead them.  If they affirm and cannot go, they will be guilty of telling lies; and the rumors might prevail that even such great men tell lies.  This is not desirable under any circumstance.

But Chitra could realize at least from Acharya’s gesture that some day he would certainly visit Shvetambik.  So he reached Shvetambik and called the officers in-charge of parks said, “Oh good fellows, Acharya Keshikumar of Parshvanath succession, moving from place to place is likely to arrive here.  When he arrives, you must pay homage, bow down to him.  Permit him to stay, offer him a place and make him comfortable.  Thereafter, immediately inform me about his arrival.”

After a few days, the officer of the park delivered good news to Chitra, “Oh, the fountain-head of intelligence, Shri Keshi, the leader of the Munis, patient, heroic, unrivaled, liberal, unattached, passive and the master of fourfold knowledge has arrived in the park along with the group of his disciples.”

On hearing this good news the chief secretary’s heart overflowed with joy and he rewarded the officer of the park with affectionate gifts sufficient for life maintenance.  Thereafter, he took bath, dressed himself with clean garments and decorated himself for the holy sight of the Acharya.

Having listened to his preaching he said, “Oh, blessed one, our king Pardeshi is not religious and does not govern the country properly.  Moreover, he does not respond to any Muni, Brahmin or a beggar.  He harasses all.  It would be beneficial if you preach religion to him and thereby the Munis, the Brahmins and the beggars, the men, animals and birds will be highly obliged.”

The Acharya replied, “Oh Chitra, how should I preach religion to your king Pardeshi unless he comes here.”  Chitra said, “By any means I shall bring him here, you must preach religion profusely to him.  Do not be reluctant at all.”

One day in the morning Chitra approached the king and having hailed him said, “Oh Lord, I have sent to you four horses as a present, kindly inspect them.  Today is a fine day for that sort of work.”  The king said, “Tie all the four horses to the chariot and we will go for a ride.  I shall get ready in the meanwhile.”

Chitra under the instructions brought the chariot.  King Pardeshi took his seat in the chariot and set out of Shvetambik city.  Chitra drove the chariot very far away.  Then the king tired of heat, thirsty and blowing dust said, “Chitra, now turn back the chariot.”  Chitra did accordingly and halted it near the park where the Muni Keshikumar was staying along with his disciples.  Chitra said, “Your honor, this is Mrigavan park.  Let the horses rest.  We shall rest here for a while.”

The king consented and Chitra having taken the horses near resting place of Keshikumar, started minding the horses.  The king descended from the chariot and started patting the horses.  While doing so, he saw Muni Keshikumar, preaching the audience.

On seeing the Muni, king Pardeshi asked, “Who is this rustic Muni ?  What does he eat ?  What does he drink ?  How does he appear so robust and handsome physically ?  And what does he preach to people to attract such a large audience here ?”

He added, “Chitra, just see, what is all this going on ?  Who is that dunce preaching to the stupid fellows here ?  Due to these people, we cannot move at ease in this garden.  When we are here for rest and peace, with all these loud cries, he creates a headache.”

Chitra said, “Your honor !  He is Muni Keshikumar in the lineage of Lord Parshvanath.  He is noble by birth and possessed of fourfold lore.  He possesses Avadhignan (limited range of knowledge) and he lives on food grains.”

The king said, “Chitra, what do you say ?  This fellow possesses Avadhignan ?  Does he live on food grains ?”  Chitra said, “Yes, your honor, it is so.”  The king said, “Is he worth approaching ?”  Chitra said, “Certainly, your honor.”  Then the king and Chitra approached Muni Keshikumar.

The king asked, “Oh Lord, do you possess Param Avadhignan ?  Do you live on food grains only ?”  The Acharya replied, “The smugglers are not anxious to know the right course in order to escape from the customs-duty; they prefer to follow the crooked ways, therefore, Oh king, as you have fallen from the path of courteousness; you do not know the way of asking a question.  All right, on seeing me you entertain such thought, “What is this dunce preaching to the people, crying so aloud, and he does not allow us any rest or peace ?”

The king said, “This is true.  But how could you know this ?  What knowledge do you possess which enables you to read my thoughts ?”  The Acharya replied, “Oh king, our scriptures, laid down by the unattached Munis declare knowledge as fivefold:  Mati, Shruta, Avadhi, Manah-paryav and Keval.  To me, the first four are revealed and so I can read your mental operations.”

The king asked, “Oh Lord, shall I sit here ?”   Acharya said, “This is your own park and it is up to you.” Then the King and Chitra sat near the Acharya.

The king asked Acharya, “Oh Lord, you, the Munis hold that both body and soul, are distinct entities.  Is it true ?”  Keshikumar replied, “Yes, we hold that way.”

The king said, “I believe that the soul and the body are not distinct but are identical and the same.  Listen to how I arrived at such a conclusion.  My grandfather was the king of this very city.  He was unrighteous and did not guard his subjects properly.  In your opinion he must have attained himself to some kind of hell.  I am the beloved grandson of my grandfather.  He loved me too much.  If the body and soul are distinct in your opinion, then he would at least come to this world from hell and advise me, “Child, do not commit any sin as the same leads to hell and the sinner has many terrible tortures to undergo.”  But he has never turned up to tell me till this day.  So body and soul are not distinct.  There is no other world and my this belief is quite proper.”

The Acharya said, “Oh king Pardeshi, your wife is queen Suryakanta; how would you punish some very handsome man who indulges passionately in sensual pleasures with that beautiful queen of yours ?”

The king said, “Oh Lord, I would chop his hands, legs, and hang him on the scaffold.”

The Acharya said, “Oh king, if that passionate fellow requests you, “Oh Lord, just wait a little, till I would go and inform my relatives that I am punished to death due to my sensual contact with Suryakanta out of passion.  You don’t indulge in any immoral act at any cost.”  Then would you wait for sometime on hearing the piteous words of that man ?”

The king said, “Oh Lord, that is never possible.  That passionate fellow for his offense would be hanged by me without any hesitation or delay.”

The Acharya said, “Oh king, your grandfather is also undergoing the similar condition helplessly.  So how would he come and tell you ?  The new comer there, the sinner, intends to return to this human world but he is not able to do so due to four reasons:

(1) the terrible tortures of hell make the sinner quite agitated and the sinner cannot think the proper                 course of action;

(2) the harsh guards of hell do not let him loose at all;

(3) his Vedniya Karmas are still not destroyed, so he has to continuously suffer.; and

(4) his longevity is not terminated and he can not leave before this.

He, therefore, cannot come back to the human world, because he cannot under his free will leave the hell, and therefore, you should not conclude that the hell does not exist.”

The king said, “Listen to one more anecdote which strengthens my conviction that there is no independent entity as soul.  In this very city lived my grandmother, who was very religious minded and highly devoted to the Jain Munis.  She was conversant with the elements like Jiv and Ajiv.  (soul, non-soul etc.).  She was sanctifying herself with restraint of senses and penance.  My grandmother died and in your opinion she must have gone to heaven.  I am her very grandson.  She used to love me extremely.  Now, she could have come from heaven and told me.  “Oh grandson, practice religion as I did; and you shall gain heavenly happiness.”  But till this day she has not turned up to tell me anything of the sort, and so I am not inclined to believe in heaven or hell.  Therefore, I hold that body and soul are not distinct but identical and this is my firm conviction.”

The Acharya replied: “Suppose you have bathed yourself clean and you are about to leave for temple to worship.  You are dressed in white clothes with fragrant-smoke pot in you hand and you are proceeding towards the temple.  Meanwhile, someone from the lavatory calls you to visit the lavatory and tells you to rest and stretch yourself there.  Oh king, would you attend to him ?”

The king responded: “Oh Lord, I would not attend to him at all.  Lavatory is very filthy and dirty.  How would I go to such a place ?”

The Acharya said: “Oh king in the same manner your grandmother elevated as angel in heaven would not be able to come and speak to you about her happiness.  As angel  newly born in heaven desires to come to the human world but cannot do so because of four reasons:

(1) such god is very much engrossed in celestial happiness and therefore, has no liking for human happiness;

(2) angel’s relation with human beings is cut off and new affectionate relation with gods and             goddesses is contracted;

(3) angel engrossed in divine happiness desires to go to the human world in just a little bit but in the meanwhile thousands of earth years pass by during this time and the short living human relatives die away and have taken birth in other lives, so he decides to forget them; and

(4) the human world smells very filthy.  This bad odor pervades there up to one hundred miles above the earth and angel is disgusted with it.  Due to these reasons angel from heaven does not like to come back to the human world.

From these you must have well judged that the cause of your grandmother not returning to the human world lies in her attachment for heavenly environments and not in the denial of the world like heaven.”

The king said, “The body and soul are not distinct.  Listen to one more evidence in this connection.  Once upon a time I was sitting on my throne.  My ministers and other courtiers were sitting just along with me.  In the meanwhile the police officer brought over to me a thief.  I packed the living thief in an iron box and closed the iron lid tight.  The gap was welded vigilantly.  After a few days that box was opened and it was found that the man was dead.  If soul and body are distinct then how did the soul escape from the box ?  The box had not even the smallest possible hole.  If there was such a hole I could have believed that the soul escaped through the hole.  Therefore, I contend, body and soul are one and my contention is proper that when body stops its activity the soul also loses all activity.”

The Acharya replied,  “Oh king, suppose there is a big room with a circular dome, besmeared on all sides, with doors closed fast, and with no air penetrating through.  If a man with a bell and hammer enters such a room and having closed the doors he hammers the bell, would the sound not be heard outside ?”  The king said, “Yes Lord, it would be heard.”

The Acharya said: “But there is no hole in the room ?”  The king agreed: “Yes Lord, there is no hole at all.”

The Acharya said: “Oh king, just as the sound can escape from a room without a hole, the soul can escape from a box without a hole, i.e. the soul has capacity to pierce through metal, stone, wall, or mountain and escape.  So it can escape even if confined anywhere.”

The king said: “Oh Lord, Listen to one or more evidence, supporting my contention that the soul and body are not distinct.  I killed a thief arrested by my superintendent and I locked him up in an iron box.  Its lid was closed fast, welded and well guarded.  After some period when it was opened, innumerable vermin were found crawling.  There was no inlet to the box, and still how could the vermin enter ?  Thus I, for myself hold that body and soul are one and the same and those vermin must have been generated from the body.”

The Acharya replied: “Oh king, have you seen red hot iron ?  Have you personally heated it ?”  The king responded: “Yes, your honor, I have seen and heated the iron myself.”

The Acharya asked: “How could fire enter that solid iron ?  Fire could enter despite the iron not being porous and in the same manner soul is very swift in entering everywhere and anywhere.  So the souls which you saw in the box have crept in from without.”

The king said:  “Your honor, once I weighed a living thief, then I killed  him and weighed him again.  I found no difference in his weight at all.  If body and soul are distinct entities, there should have been at least some decrease in weight; but there was no decrease and therefore, body and soul are one and the same.”

The Acharya asked: “Oh king, have you ever filled a leather bag with air or do you get it filled ?  Is there any difference in an empty bag or a bag filled with air ?”  The king replied: “No, your honor, there is no difference.”

The Acharya asked: “Oh king, there is no difference in weight of an empty bag and that of an air-filled bag.   Does it therefore, mean that the bag did not contain air ?  Such a statement, being contrary to reality is not authentic.  Oh king, weight or gravity is an attribute of a lifeless matter and touch is necessary for its cognizance; i.e. a matter cannot be weighed until it is touched and caught.  So how can an entity quite distinct from matter, which cannot be touched and caught, be weighed ?”

The king said: “Oh Lord, once a thief sentenced to death was cut to pieces by me and I tried to search out soul therein.  But in none of the pieces was the soul found and so my contention that body and soul are not distinct entities is justified.”

The Acharya replied: “Oh king, it is well-known in the world that fire resides in Arni sticks.  Can fire be found if every peace of stick is cut into small pieces and searched into ?  If fire does not reside therein, such a statement would be unreliable.  Similarly, if soul is not found in a piece of body it is absurd to believe that the soul does not exist.”

The king asked: “Oh Lord, the belief that the body and soul are one was held by my grandfather and father, and had been passed on to me.  This is my hereditary belief, how can I disown this belief ?”

The Acharya responded: “Oh king, if you do not disown this conviction, then you will have to repent like one obstinate fellow who did not disown a load of iron bars.”

The king asked: “Who was that obstinate fellow and why he repented ?”

The Acharya said: “Oh king, some people desirous of wealth went to a forest, with provisions.  They found a mine with abundant iron.  They mutually talked about the usefulness of iron and so they thought it advisable to carry the iron with them in heaps.

With the heaps of iron, they proceeded further in the forest where again they found a mine of lead.  Lead being more useful than iron, all of them left off iron and prepared heaps of lead to carry along.  But one fellow did not like to leave the iron bundle.  His companions tried to persuade him but he replied, “This bundle I have carried for a long distance.  It is well tied up, so I do not want to leave it and take to the bundle of lead bars.”

Now the group of travelers proceeded further to find mines of copper, silver, gold, jewels and diamonds one after the other.  They left off less valuable and picked up more valuable things.  Later on, they arrived in a city where they sold very precious diamonds.  This made them very rich and they began to stay happily.

That obstinate fellow sold his iron bars and earned little money.  He was very sorry and he began to think, “I also could have earned ample wealth if like my companions I left off iron bars and preferred more valuable things.”  Thus Oh, King, if you do not let off your obstinacy you will also repent like the fellow who carried the iron bars.”

This preaching of the Acharya Keshikumar convinced the king about the independent existence of soul and that the soul enjoys fruits of good and bad actions without fail.

The king undertook the observance of ‘Twelve Vows’ and he carried out their observance according to the prescribed rites.  Now as he was perfectly inclined to spiritualism, he was disgusted with worldly pleasures.  His queen Suryakanta did not welcome this mode of life and she poisoned the king, still he maintained his mental equanimity till the end of his life and after death he became an angel named Suryabha. This angel is described in Rayasenaiya Sutra.


Soul exists and this proclamation of Indian Philosophy is eternal and true, and its acceptance shall lead all to highest bliss.

The soul and the body are separate. While the former is immortal, the later is mortal. The soul has capacity to pierce through metal or stone. The soul can not be touched or weighed.  The soul exists in a living beings even if a portion of body is removed or cut off.


There was a Brahmin boy named Durdhar.  Since his childhood he kept the company of bad people and became addicted to gambling.  He was much persuaded by his parents to abandon gambling.  They said,  “Even, the leading kings were ruined by gambling and you are nothing compared to them. Gambling is the root cause of all disasters and it will ruin you.”  But Durdhar did not stop gambling.  When adverse fate is waiting at the door, most benevolent words do not carry any appeal.

For gambling he required more and more money, so he resorted to robbery.  He robed the rich merchants of their valuables.  But such state of affairs cannot continue too long.  He was arrested by the police on receiving clue from the people and was brought before the king.  The king was convinced that Durdhar was a habitual thief.  The punishment was that his head be clean shaved and pasted with lime, his face be pasted black and the garland of shoes be put in his neck; that he be seated on a donkey and be carried throughout the city heralded by a broken pot-noise. Then the culprit had to leave the borders of the state.  He left in disgrace.

Wandering here and there, Durdhar arrived at some forest, where the thieves caught him and took him to their chief.  The chief was well versed in judging a man from his looks, so he found him useful for his ‘mission’.  Durdhar agreed to follow the chief’s desire.

Since that day Durdhar began staying with the thieves and he also began to execute chores entrusted to him.  The chief was pleased with him and Durdhar became the chief of the thieves after being adopted as the son of the chief.  Durdhar was very enterprising and plundered many villages after sudden raids.  Any one who opposed him was promptly executed with their head being severed from the body by a sword.  Durdhar’s stroke was unfailing and so he became popular as ‘Dradhaprahari’ (with unfailing stroke).

One day he raided the city named Kushasthal which was well guarded by soldiers who made Durdhar’s efforts difficult.  But with the number of desperate companions he had, he could overpower the soldiers and plunder the city freely.

One of the thieves entered a Brahmin’s house.  The Brahmin was very poor and maintained himself by begging.   Brahmin’s wife had prepared milk-rice pudding to serve the children.   Since the thief could not find any other thing, he got mad and picked up the pot containing the milk-rice pudding. The Brahmin was extremely enraged and dejected on seeing the thief pick up the pot.  He could not bear the sight of his children bewailing in hunger and a wretch swallowing the ready food.  He lifted the bolt to attack the thief and a physical fight between the two began.  In the meanwhile Dradhaprahari arrived and upon finding his man assailed gave a blow with his sword to chop the head of the Brahmin.

Seeing her husband brutally murdered, the Brahmin’s wife trembled with fear along with her children.  The Brahmin had a cow, which showed great fondness for the Brahmin.  She at once dismantled her ties and attacked Dradhaprahari. Dradhaprahari with his sword killed the cow too.

Brahmin’s wife was very much enraged to find her dear husband and the cow brutally put to death.  She rushed to the murderer with abuses, but was ruthlessly cut to pieces with the sword, and her fetus emerged out as she was pregnant.  The moments of excitement make a man lose all the sense of discrimination.

Looking at all these innocent victims, Dradhaprahari’s heart was deeply moved and he thought, “What have I done ?  Four murders at a time ?  A Brahmin, a woman, a cow, and an unborn child ?  Indeed I am a great sinner !  I am a wretch, the most wicked and mean unsurpassed !  My wickedness has no bounds.”

He left the town Kushasthal, but this tragic sight did not leave his mental screen.  He began to condemn his most atrocious act and he had tears of repentance in his eyes.  Repentance is highly effective and it turns even a heart of adamant into a delicate flower.  We are reminded of the well-known couplet of Kalapi’s poem about repentance;

“Indeed it flows from heaven the stream of repentance, wherein the sinner plunges and purifies himself.”

Dradhaprahari arrived in a forest where he found an ascetic, practicing penance.  He approached the ascetic piteously and cried at his feet.  The saint said:  “Blessed one !  Be calm, why do you lament so much ?

Dradhaprahari replied:  “Lord, I am a great sinner, the most wicked murderer.  For no reason, I committed the murders of a Brahmin, a cow, a woman and a child.  What plight shall I be reduced to ?  Oh, merciful one !  Save me, come to my rescue.”

The saint said:  “Good fellow, your commission of an act is anyhow over, but there is a way out, if you determine not to repeat such sins in the future.  Lord Jineshwar has prescribed a great mode of life with five great vows, viz., non-violence, truth, non-stealing, celibacy, and non-hoarding.  You should embrace this mode of life and you will be purified and freed from all the sins.”

Dradhaprahari’s mind was tranquilized and his doubts dispelled on hearing the words of the ascetic.  He was initiated into five great vows and he further took a vow not to accept food and water till he remembered four murders.  Shravaks and Munis very often during their course of penance accept various kinds of abstinence or vows.

Such sort of vow as mentioned above is indeed very rigorous to go through. Just consider what high degree of mental concentration and penance are necessary for erasing some incidents from the mental slate.  Out of high intensity of emotions Dradhaprahari undertook this vow of initiation.  He engrossed himself in contemplation at the outskirts of Kushasthal city.

This city was robbed without reluctance by him and his people and so when the town people saw him, they naturally began to pass abusive remarks against him as “He is a hypocrite !” “He is a great cheat.”  “He rightly deserves stones and shoes, what are we waiting for ?  Go, hammer him.” With such remarks people began to throw bricks, stones and filthy matters, till all the materials were piled up as high as his nose.

Then he silently moved to the other gate and continued his austere penance.  People are gregarious by nature.  One imitates the other and than all follow like a flock of sheep.  Thus Dradhaprahari moved from place to place for six months earnestly without breaking his severe penance till he finally attained Kevalgnan (Omniscience).

Now the people realized that Dradhaprahari was not a hypocrite anymore but he was a great soul indeed.  They respected him and bowed down to him.


The company of wrong people leads into vices such as gambling which is a root cause of all disasters.  It leads people to rob and kill others.  However, one can get out of these sins by sincerely repenting for all wrong doings and determining not to repeat such acts.  One can free from all sins by taking five greater vows, namely, non-violence, truth, non-stealing, celibacy and non-hoarding.


Once upon a time Lord Mahavir, the savior of all the three worlds, adorable to all, the last prophet made his holy arrival in the park outside the city of Rajgruhi.  He was accompanied by a large number of learned Munis and people who were engaged in meditations.  King Prasannachandra who had become a Muni, spent most of his time in meditation.  He fixed a place at the other end of the park for meditation. He kept both his arms upraised.  Formerly Munis used to resort to practice such sorts of severe meditation.

The superintendent of the park informed the king that the omniscient Lord Mahavir had arrived at the park outside the city.  So the king made preparations to visit the Lord’s holy sight along with his sons and the rest of the family.  King Shrenik with a long procession set out for the holy sight of the Lord.  The procession included many elephants, horses, cavalry.  Sumukh and Durmukh led the entire procession, they were named so, because of their conduct.

While passing near the park , they saw the sage Prasannachandra engaged in meditation.  Then Sumukh said, “Just look at this sage !  How deeply he is engaged in meditation.  It is very rare to be engaged in such sort of meditation.  Only few people are able to meditate in such manner.  So I offer my best compliments to him.”

Hearing these words Durmukh said, “Yes, yes, I know that sage well.  He is the king of Potanpur.  He entrusted his entire kingdom to his child, but he hardly knows the condition that has developed there.  His ministers are plotting to overthrow the young king.  His queens have run away from the harem and the child king is now under the ministers’ clutches.  They will shortly kill him.  I consider this father a sinner, and un-righteous because he disregarded the welfare of his own child.  I condemn such father thousand times.”  Talking like this, they passed by the park.

After a while king Shrenik came there and bowed down to the sage engaged in meditation.  Then he approached Lord Mahavir and listened to the Lord’s religious discourse.

Finding  an opportunity king Shrenik asked, “Oh Lord, on my way, I bowed down to the sage Prasannachandra who was engaged in meditation.  Supposing he died then, what state would he have acquired after death.”

The Lord replied, “He would have been hurled down to the seventh hell.”

The king was much astonished to hear this reply from the Lord.  He thought, “How would the sage attain hell when that sage was engaged in meditation.  Perhaps the Lord might have misunderstood me.”  He asked again, “Oh Lord, if the sage Prasannachandra leaves this body just now, then what state would he attain, after death ?”

The Lord replied, “He would be an angel in Sarvarth Siddhi heaven”.

The king was much surprised at this reply.  He thought, “The Lord said just before sometime that he would attain the seventh hell and now he says that the sage would be an angel.”  The king was very much perplexed.

Then suddenly the drums sounded in the sky and the cries of ‘victory’ were proclaimed.  The king asked the Lord, “What are these sounds about ?”  The Lord said, “Oh king, the sage Prasannachandra has acquired Kevalgnan (Omniscience).  So the angels beat the drums and proclaimed ‘Victory’.”

The king was extremely surprised to learn all these strange incidents.  So he requested the Lord to explain all those miraculous incidents.

Thereupon the Lord said, “Oh king, when you were proceeding this way, two soldiers leading your procession diverted the mind of the Muni Prasannachandra by their talk.  Then the Muni thought that his ministers turned out faithless and they would kill his son.  He was much inflamed with rage and he lost mental equanimity.  Mentally, he started fighting against his ministers.  He discharged missiles one after the other against his ministers very violently.  Soon his missiles were exhausted and his foes were destroyed except one.  So he thought of throwing his steel helmet against him and destroy him.  When he reflected thus, you bowed down to him, king !  I therefore, replied that he would attain to the seventh hell.

Thereafter, when the sage put his hand on his head for the steel helmet he found his head with hairs plucked and his anger was calmed down immediately.  He thought that he was initiated into the vow of mental equanimity and of non-violence to any living being mentally, verbally, and physically.  He deeply regretted and repented for the breach of his vow and indulgence in acute anger.  He further thought, that he ought to have maintained love with all creatures of the world and no malice for the ministers and attachment for his son.  He severely condemned his mental act.  He despised it and withdrew himself from such feat of anger and malice.

Oh king, when he thought this way, you asked me the next question and I replied that he would be born in the Sarvarth Siddhi heaven as an angel.  Even thereafter he continued the purification of his mental reflections and gradually he reached the stage of  destruction of Karmas.  When his ‘Ghati Karmas’ were totally annihilated, he attained Kevalgnan (Omniscience).”

On hearing this reply from the Lord, the king Shrenik’s doubts were resolved.


(1)           Reflections of the soul are not uniform all the while. They change from time to time.

(2)           Soul passes from good reflections to evil reflections and from evil reflections to good ones.

(3)  Certain circumstances or causes operate for the change of reflections.  Good circumstances        transform the reflections into good ones and evil circumstances transform them into evil ones.

(4)           Despite all meditation and religious activities, an individual cannot uplift the soul unless he or          she could control anger and detach from all worldly possessions.


Shreshthi Purandar lived in city named Gopalak.  His wife was Punyashri.  He was a pious man and was held in great esteem at the court.  But Purandar had no child.  For that reason he had no joy in his mind.  He was advised by his relatives and friends to take another wife, but he never welcomed the proposal.

One day, he propitiated the family goddess and said to her, “Oh goddess !  My forefathers and myself have always worshipped you with devotion and offerings.  But if my family line ends with me, then there will be no one to worship you.  So, Oh goddess, be kind to tell me with the help of your Avadhignan whether or not I shall have a son.”

The goddess said, “You will have a son, but it is not time yet for that.  But don’t deviate from the path of religion.”  This assertion of the goddess re-established Purandar on the spiritual path with great steadfastness.  A few years passed like this.

At last, one night, Punyashri saw the moon in a dream.  She was happy and shared the content of her dream with her husband.  The Shreshthi was happy, too.  “It portends to the arrival of a son in the family,” he said.

The dream came true, and Punyashri gave birth to a male child.  Grand feasts were organized in his honor.  Money was given to all poor seekers.  As the boy was born after so much propitiation, he was named Punyasar.

At five, he was sent to school.  The same school was attended by a girl named Ratnasundari, who was the daughter of Shreshthi Ratnasar.  The girl was somewhat naughty and was fond of playing pranks on others.  She often quarreled with Punyasar.  Punyasar did not like it.

One day, the matter reached an extreme on a remark made by Punyasar, “After all you are a woman, and you shall be a slave to some man.”  This evoked a sharp and prompt rebuff from the girl:  “But that man will be worthy of my hand, and not a worthless person like you.”

Punyasar responded: “Then mark these words:  I will marry you and teach you a good lesson.  Take it for certain that this is my firm resolve.”  Ratnasundari protested:  “No one can win other’s heart through compulsion.  Marriage is a union of hearts.  The sort of resolve you have made only ends in disaster.”

Punyasar came home.  He made it clear to his parents that unless he was married with Ratnasundari, the daughter of Shreshthi Ratnasar, he would not touch food.

His parents said, “You are yet too young for marriage.  It is time for you to study.  To talk of marriage at this age does not even sound decent.”  Punyasar insisted, “I am not in a hurry to marry, but the betrothal must be completed right now.”

Now Purandar came to Ratnasar’s house and revealed the purpose of his coming.  As Purandar was a respected person of his community, Ratnasar could not reject his proposal.  But Ratnasundari, who heard the conversation, rejected the proposal at once.

Ratnasar understood that there must be a reason behind this refusal.  So he said to Purandar, “Sir !  Take no offense at the girl’s words.  She is yet too young.  When she is in a proper mood, I shall obtain her consent.  So far as I am concerned, I heartily welcome your proposal.”

Purandar came back and said to his son, “I wonder why you are so much taken by this girl.  She is not fit for our family.  She is extremely outspoken and sharp-tongued.  She will never be a right acquisition to the family, nor will you ever be happy with her.  So I suggest you give up the idea.”  Punyasar said, “Sir, I am determined to marry her.”

Meanwhile, Punyasar propitiated the family goddess, promising her a grand offering on the fulfillment of his wishes.  The goddess appeared before him and said, “Young man !  Don’t be in a hurry.  Do your duties now.  In due course, you will have your wishes fulfilled.”

Now, Punyasar devoted himself to his studies and grew into a fine and accomplished young man.  But despite his many fine qualities, he became addicted to gambling.  His father gave repeated warnings, but these had absolutely no effect on the young man.  He always staked heavy amounts and played regularly.

Once he lost a hundred thousand rupees, but he did not have so much money with him.  In his house, however, there was a costly ornament of a similar worth which belonged to the king and which the king had pawned with the merchant.  Punyasar took it out secretly to meet his liability.

Shortly thereafter, the king sent for the ornament.  The Shreshthi looked for it, but it was not there.  He had now no doubt that this must have been removed by his son.  When he asked his son about it, he confessed

The Shreshthi was now in a very awkward position.  He turned to his son and said, “You get out of my house.  You will be received back only when you come with the ornament.  Otherwise, I don’t want to see your face.”

This was a great shock for the young man.  Silently he moved out from his home.  At night, he took shelter in the hollow of a Banyan tree.

When, at night, the Shreshthi’s wife inquired about her son, the Shreshthi gave a very angry reply:  “He is a wicked fellow.  Don’t talk about him.  He has stolen the king’s ornament, so I have turned him out.”

“What ?” said the affectionate mother.  “How could you turn him out at this hour of the night ?  What will happen to him ?  Go and bring him back at once.”

Purandar searched the whole town, but he did not find his son.  So he dared not come back.  The mother sat at her door fixing her eyes on the street, but without her son and without her husband.  She thought, the Shreshthi acted foolishly in turning out the boy, and I have acted foolishly in turning out my man.

Seated in the hollow, Punyasar saw two divine damsels arrive there.  One of them said, “It is a lovely night.  I feel like strolling leisurely.”  The second said, “I don’t like an aimless stroll.  If there is something interesting anywhere, we may go there.”

“If that be your desire, then we should go to Vallabhipur.  In that city, a Shreshthi named Dhana has seven daughters from his wife, whose name is Dhanavati.  The daughters are named Dharmasundari, Dhanasundari, Kamasundari, Muktisundari, Bhagyasundari, Saubhagyasundari, and Gunsundari.  For getting a suitable groom for his daughters, the Shreshthi propitiated Lambodara (Ganesh), the god of success.

The god appeared before him and said, “The seventh night from today is very auspicious.  You make your preparations.  On the seventh night, two divine damsels will come to the marriage hall.  They will be followed by a young man.  He will be the groom for your girls.”  Tonight is that seventh night.  So let us go to Vallabhipur and see who this groom is.  Let us ride on this tree.  This will make our journey comfortable.”

Seated on the tree, the damsels arrived at the park outside the city.  As the tree stood on the ground, the damsels came down and proceeded toward the marriage hall.  Punyasar came out last and followed the damsels.

Outside the temple of Lambodara, Shreshthi Dhana had made all preparations and was waiting with the members of his family, friends, and invitees for the arrival of the damsels followed by the groom.  The damsels stepped inside the hall and took their seats.  When the Shreshthi saw a young man following the damsels, he came to receive him and explained to him the whole position.

Since it was so ordained by the god Lambodara, Punyasar agreed to marry the seven girls.  He was at once clad in ceremonial robes, and the ceremonies were performed.  Then the whole party with Punyasar came to the Shreshthi’s house.

The seven sisters knew nothing about this man.  One of them said, “Sir !  How educated are you ?”  Punyasar felt awkward.  So instead of giving a straight answer, he said, “Happiness comes neither to a profound scholar nor to a fool.  Keeping this in view, I have followed the middle path.”

The girls felt puzzled at his reply and did not understand what he meant.  Meanwhile, Punyasar was feeling restless to get back to the tree in time.  So, on some pretext, he said he wanted to go out.  Gunsundari escorted him to the door.  She saw that he scribbled something on the wall, but she did not pay particular attention to it and returned to her room.

No sooner was he outside the house than Punyasar ran to the tree.  He was in time, as the damsels had not yet come back.  So he took his seat in the hollow.  After some time, the damsels came back and sat on the tree, and the tree started back at once.  It took no time to come back to its own place.

After sunrise, Punyasar stepped out from the hollow of the tree.  Purandar too had reached the same spot in search of him.  He was surprised to see his son in ceremonial robes.  When the two returned home, the Shreshthi’s wife heaved a sigh of relief.  When the parents heard the full account from their son, they were happy at his good luck.

Punyasar had now enough money to recover the king’s ornament and return it to the king.  The Shreshthi’s prestige was thus saved.  Punyasar was now free from his gambling habit and devoted himself exclusively to his family business.

Elsewhere, the seven girls were waiting in the room for the return of their husband.  But when he did not come back for a long time, they felt restless.  Gunsundari came to the door where she had left him and looked around, but there was no one.  She came back and reported it to her sisters.  This was a great shock to the girls; the more so, since they had never inquired who the man was or where he came from, but blindly relied on the words of the god.  And now, the man had fled with many valuable things.  They had now no doubt that this was a rogue who had come with a motive.

Gunsundari recollected that the man scribbled something on the wall.  There she saw written a couplet as follows:

“From Gopalak did I come by divine grace, and after marrying seven girls there do I return.”

She came back to her sisters and reported about the couplet, adding, “How far can he go ?  Even if he hides in the underworld, I must find him out.”

Gunsundari dressed herself as a young man and moved out, promising to come back within six months on completion of her mission.  If she failed, she said, she would consecrate her body to the flames.

Named as Gunsundar and dressed as a man, she came to Gopalak.  Gunsundar called on the king and won his favor by giving him a costly present.  Gunsundar now started his business in the same town and came to be acquainted with Punyasar.  But this did not throw any light on the problem beyond this that the people came to know that a young merchant from Vallabhipur was in the city on business.  The merchant was educated, intelligent, and handsome.

Somehow Ratnasundari heard the report about him and asked her father to see if this merchant was suitable for her.

Now Ratnasar came to Gunsundar and made the proposal.  To Gunsundar this sounded absurd.  He tried to get out on some pretext.  But Ratnasar was desperate.  He said, “Sir !  My daughter is keen to have you for her husband.  So please do not decline the proposal.”  Gunsundar reluctantly agreed.  The two were married on a suitable day.

When Punyasar came to know that the girl betrothed to him has been married to another man, he became furious.  He picked up his sword, came before the family deity, and pretending to chop his head with his own hand, he said, “Mother !  You have ruined me.  If you were not capable enough to help me, you should have been frank about it so that I could have tried some other means.  A girl betrothed to me has been married to another !  Well, it has been a great insult to me.  I cannot bear it.  I must end my life in your presence.”

In an effort to console the aggrieved young man, the goddess said, “My son !  Have patience.  What has happened is good for you.  You should not end your life like this.”

Punyasar said, “But, mother, she is now another man’s wife.  How do I console myself ?  And it is a sin even to look on her as a woman.”

The goddess replied, “Just patiently observe as things unfold themselves.  Gunsundari is your wife.”

The goddess disappeared.  Punyasar was now thinking:  “Gunsundari is my wife.  Who is she ?”

Six months were already out, and Gunsundari was not yet successful in her quest.  She could not share her problem with anyone.  At last, she decided to end her life by entering into a burning pyre.  The news soon spread all over the town, but people did not know why the young merchant was after such a terrible thing.

They rushed to the spot to dissuade him from such a ghastly deed.  Even the king came, and the leading businessmen of the city.  The king asked why he was determined to end his life in that terrible way, to which the young man said, “Sir !  I blame no one for this.  But it is my ill-luck, and my ill-luck demands the sacrifice of my life.”

The young merchant moved steadily toward the pyre.  The king shouted, “Is there anyone who has sufficient hold on this young man and who can save him ?  I cannot bear this ghastly thing being committed within my kingdom.”

People from the crowd shouted back:  “Punyasar alone may have the necessary hold.”

Now Punyasar stepped forward and held the hand of the young man.  He said, “Good friend !  Have you gone mad ?  You are a bright young man with a brilliant future.  What you are going to do is hardly befitting you.  I earnestly appeal to you to give up the idea of entering into the blazing pyre.  I hope you will consider my request.  But if you are still adamant, then that will be the saddest thing for us.”

“But, Sir, I do not see anyone to whom I may state my problem,”  Gunsundar replied.

“Can it be so ?  What you say will put the entire humanity to ridicule.  Come, let me know your problem.”

Gunsundar stopped for a moment and searched for something.  Then he took out a piece of paper, and advancing it toward Punyasar, he said, “Sir, did you ever write this ?”

“Why, this is my own composition.  But where did you get this ?  Who are you ?”  surprised Punyasar asked.

Gunsundar recounted the story in brief.  The moment of grief turned out to be a moment of happiness.  All’s well that ends well.

It was now a problem as to what would happen to Ratnasundari.  By a ruling given by the king, she was to be Punyasar’s wife.

The six sisters had meanwhile come from Vallabhipur on completion of the six months.  Thus Punyasar started at once with a large harem.

Once Acharya Jnansagar came to the city.  People went out to pay their homage and obeisance.  Shreshthi Purandar raised a point about his own son.  “Holy sir !  What has been the pious Karma of my son by virtue of which he has acquired such a large harem so soon in his life ?”

Throwing light on this point, the learned Acharya said, “In his previous birth, he was named as Kulaputra, and he lived at Nitipur.  He was initiated into the order of monks by Acharya Sudharma.  Muni Kulaputra was no ordinary person.  He was ever alert in the practice of controls and restraints and in the observance of religious prescriptions.  But he was somewhat lax about the control of his body.  In any case, he earned great merit and was born in heaven.  The same soul is now your son.  As he was vigilant in the observance of seven prescriptions, he has acquired seven wives during one night.  But as he was lax about the control of his body, his eighth wife has come after much difficulty.”

The Acharya concluded by saying, “In observing spiritual prescriptions, one should not allow himself to be a victim of confusion or laxity.”

The words of the Acharya inspired Purandar to renounce the world and join the holy order. Punyasar courted the vows of a devoted follower and lived a worthy life for many years.  In his old age, he too joined the holy order and made great spiritual progress.


Punya Shravak and his wife were very poor villagers who used to live in a small shack made of mud and grass.  Punya used to earn twelve Dokadas (1/12 rupee) every day by spinning cotton yarn in the house and selling it.  He had a religious ritual of fasting one day and hosting a co-jain the next day.  Similarly, his wife observed a fast one day and offered hospitality to another fellow jain the next day.  In this way, the couple performed Sadharmik Bhakti every day.

Once, a certain angel came to test Punya’s hospitality in the form of a co-jain and found him true to his word.  So the angel left the place after turning the iron pan the couple used into a gold one.

The couple saw the gold pan; however, they threw it into the dustbin because they were not willing to keep anything that did not belong to them.  They refused to keep anything that was not generated by honest labor.  They began to spin more in order to buy another iron pan.


This shows that we should earn our own bread by our own labor.  Wealth follows merit filled deeds; fame follows charity; learning follows effort; and intellect follows our actions (Karmas).  We can make our destiny.  We should not try to get more than our needs.  We should also not run after wealth and try to gather it by dishonest and foul means.  These acts will only lead to more sins.


King Ransur of Kanchanpur was so very licentious that he spent much of his time in the company of his consort Sukanta and never cared for any spiritual activity.

One day, as he was seated in the court, an unknown person came there and said in a challenging tone,  “Oh king ! It is not a good thing to remain immersed all the time in objects of pleasure and enjoyment.  Total indifference to religion is another name for a total indifference to spirit.  One should keep in view the fact that life is short and death is inevitable. If you think that you can do anything you please with your earthly power, then you are mistaken. I challenge you, and you can test it against me.”

This was too much for the king to bear in silence.  He ordered his men to pursue him and kill him.  All of them reached an open field where the encounter took place, but none of the king’s men dared to go near him, let alone being a match for him.  Single-handed, he defeated them all and put them to their heels. The man then returned to the court, held the king by his hairs and removed him to a far-off jungle.

The king was now all alone in the jungle, far, far away from his city.  More than that, he was far from Sukanta, separation from whom he could not bear even for a moment.  He felt helpless.  Just at that moment, he saw a Muni in meditation and sat down near him.  When the meditation was over and the Muni opened his eyes, he saw the king.  At once, these puzzling words came out from the Muni’s mouth:  “Hello ! Haven’t you got your solution yet ?”

The king could not catch his meaning, and said almost mechanically,  “Be kind to me, Sir.”

The Muni then gave him some good counsel, after which the king said,  “Oh Muni ! You are beautiful and young.  Instead of enjoying the pleasures of the world, why did you renounce them so early ?”

“Oh king ! The thought of old age and of death inspires and induces one to court renunciation.  But when you actually renounce depends on when the thought comes to you, and it does not come up to all persons at the same age.  These are the two eventualities, old age and death, that expose life in its naked form.  I was a king myself, but, you see, the thought of these two came pretty early to me, and so I renounced the world in the very prime of my youth.  Now, as a Muni, freed from the terror of old age and death, I roam about in the most natural pleasantness of life.”

The king was convinced that this was no ordinary person, so he asked him about the cause of his present misfortune.  “Holy Sire !  Only recently, one day, as I was seated in my court chamber, a powerful man picked me up and discarded me in this wilderness.  Could you be kind enough to enlighten me as to who he was and why he behaved in a such a manner toward me ?”

The Muni gave the following account to the king:  “There is a god named Amritpriy, who called on me only a few days back and inquired as to who would be his successor in his heavenly abode after he would vacate from there.  When I revealed your name, he reacted at once, saying that you were licentious, excessively fond of Sukanta, that you never indulged in spiritual activity, and that, therefore, he did neither approve nor relish the idea of your succeeding him in heaven.”

“I told him that you would be brought here by him, that you would thereafter take the path of religion, be    enlightened, acquire sufficient pious Karma to be entitled to a heavenly abode.  It is for this reason, Oh king, that you have been brought here by the said god.”

This opened the eyes of the king and right there and then, he accepted the vows of a Shravak.  Even the god appeared there and congratulated the king for the great change.  Then he restored him to his city and departed.

At times, an unexpected event gives a major turn to life and simultaneously acts as an ordeal.  Such a thing was to happen to the king.

One day, as the king came to the harem, he did not see Sukanta there.  He waited for some time, but she did not come.  The king became restless and ordered a search of the whole palace, but she was nowhere. In extreme anxiety, the king sent for an astrologer who advised him to proceed in the northern direction and assured him that he would find her there.

The king started at once and proceeded for five days without any stop.  At last, he reached a jungle, where he saw a temple dedicated to a Yaksha. The king halted there to rest.  As it happened to be Chaturdasi (14th day), he sat down with a triple vow of silence, meditation, and Paushadha.

The resident Yaksha, named Dhananjay, wanted to test the king’s devotion and steadfastness, so he ordered an attendant to go at once to the king with the message that his consort, Sukanta, was being carried away by a miscreant and was nearby.

The king heard the message but did not respond, nor did he seek the miscreant with a view to recover Sukanta. To break the vow would be, he thought, like taking content out of life, and in that case, what kind of life would remain and what of the woman he loved so dearly !  So he let the event take its own course for the duration of the vow. But even in his meditation, the king could feel some miscreant carrying Sukanta away and hear her bewail:

“My Lord, save me !  This wretch has stolen me away from the palace.  He is now carrying me away to fulfill his evil design.  I don’t know what he will do to me.  I am so helpless.  I am undone.  My dear, you love me so much and you have come all the way here in search of me.  It is a happy coincidence that this wretch has brought me here.  Rescue me at once from his hands.”

The king, however, did not move and kept full control of his mind, not allowing it to be disturbed in any way by the events outside.  Failing in this plot, the Yaksha then contrived a shower of dust on the king. This was followed by the appearance of a snake, a scorpion, and poisonous ants, one after the other.  They even stung the king.  Then came ferocious animals.  But the king remained firm in his triple vow.  The Yaksha now admitted defeat and admired the king’s steadfastness.

After the vow was completed, the Yaksha made a confession.  “Worthy Sire ! There is no Sukanta here. She has been carried away by a Vidyadhar of the city of Gaganballava in the southern range of the Vaitadhya hills.  As the Vidyadhar was about to transgress the limit of decency toward her, she took the extreme course of beating him with a club, which she continued until the poor fellow died.  Her purity thus stands unstained, which I happily confirm.”

Saying that, the Yaksha arranged to procure her from the Vaitadhya hills and restore her to the king.

In the company of his consort, the king now returned to his city.  Ever since he had met the Muni, he took the vow to practice Paushadha on each religious occasion, and this he continued to fulfill throughout his life. This earned for him a worthy life on earth, and thereafter a place in heaven.


In the city of Ratnavishala, where reigned king Samarsingh, there lived a merchant named Vasusar.  He had a son named Ratnasar.

One day, Ratnasar went to his garden-house in the company of his peers when his eyes fell on Acharya Vinayandhar who had come there.  He went to the Acharya, bowed thrice and asked:  “Holy sire !  What helps  the acquisition of happiness ?”

The Acharya replied,  “As a key to happiness, contentment may be deemed to be unsurpassed.  In the absence of contentment, not even the king of gods or a universal monarch can be happy; but with contentment, even one sleeping on the bare earth and living on a coarse diet may be happy.  Contentment may be of two types; full and qualified.  A homeless Muni has full contentment, but a householder’s contentment is qualified.  To have it, every householder should limit his acquisition.”

These words very much inspired Ratnasar, who accepted the vows of a Shravak, particularly the vows of equanimity and of limiting acquisition.

One day, Ratnasar came across a Kinnar who had the body of a human being but the face of a horse. Ratnasar could not check a smile at this queer shape, and he said the following almost without realizing:  “If this is a human being, why does it have the appearance of a horse ?  Surely he is neither a human being nor a celestial being, but an animal from another land or an animal-vehicle for some god.”

At these words, the Kinnar felt slighted and said,  “Ratnasar !  You look on me with utter contempt only because of your ignorance.  I am a Vyantar (sylvan) Dev with freedom to behave and freedom to enjoy.  In my view, you are a real animal who is grossly deceived by your own father.”

Ratnasar was taken aback.   He said, “What do you mean when you say that I have been grossly deceived by my own father ?”

Kinnar said, “I mean what I say.  You have been deceived.  Had it not been so, you would have been in the know of special things in your household. Your father has kept out certain things from the purview of your knowledge.”

“But your allegation is vague.  To substantiate, you should be specific at least about some items and indicate how they have been kept out of my knowledge,”  Ratnasar replied.

Kinnar responded, “Your father has a special steed of black hue, lean but very fast, who has been imported from another land.  It has a broad neck, flies with the air and gives sure success to its master.  Its normal speed is 100 Yojanas per day, and it can encircle the earth in seven days.  The steed is kept hidden from you.  I shall deem you to be a true hero only when you can take possession of it.”

Having said that, the Kinnar disappeared in the sky.  Ratnasar returned home with only one thought, how to get the steed.  He entered into a discarded room and lay on a worn-out cot.

When the news reached his father, he came running, and, knowing the problem of his son, he said,  “I really had no intention of hiding  anything from you, but, you see, I cannot tolerate your absence from home.  If you had known the existence of the steed, it is pretty sure that it would have been difficult for me to detain you at home. I deliberately kept it a secret only to avert this situation.  But now that you have known about it, I shall pass it on to you and give you the liberty to do what pleases you.”

Ratnasar’s problem was so easily solved.  He was happy now.  He immediately rode on its back and move out of the city.  Once beyond the bound of the city, he put the steed to gallop.  Vasusar had a trained parrot.  Knowing that his master’s son had moved out, it expressed a desire to accompany him as an escort.  Vasusar readily agreed.  The parrot now flew out of the cage and overtook Ratnasar, who received it cordially and placed it on the steed.

As the steed was flying over a dense forest, Ratnasar’s eyes fell on a hermit youth who was extremely charming.  The youth also saw him and was charmed by his manly grace.  The existence of a human being in such a dense forest so much delighted Ratnasar that he could not check the temptation to come down and meet him.  The hermit youth advanced to receive him.  The youth made inquiries about his name, his parents, his family, his business, his caste, his city and country, and his purpose for visiting there.  He also invited him to be his guest.

As Ratnasar alighted from the steed and was about to satisfy the curiosity of the youth, the parrot spoke out,  “Why are you interested in these details ?  We haven’t come here to settle a marriage in your family. We are strangers and, at the moment, your guests.  That should be enough for you.”

The hermit youth took no offense at the parrot’s words but was delighted at the parrot’s intelligence. Then, turning to Ratnasar, he said,  “Sir, you are lucky to have a sincere friend in this parrot.  I request you both to accept my hospitality.  I am a hermit, and so I may not be able to provide you with all comforts, but I shall do my best to help you.”

Then the youth led them to another part of the forest where there was a lake.  Ratnasar took his bath and became fresh.  Then fruits were served for his lunch.  The parrot and the horse were duly fed.

After lunch, all of them sat down to rest and chat.  Getting a hint from his master, the parrot said,  “Young man !  You are in the very prime of youth, and it is a surprise that you have courted renunciation. Despite your very delicate frame, you have preferred to choose a hard life.  But it seems to me that, like the Malati flower, you have dedicated your life to a colossal waste.  How very nice you would look in silk and nylon; instead, you have put on a bark.  Your hair needs a delicate touch; instead, they are all matted. I do not know what induced you to this wrong choice.”

The hermit youth was abashed.  With tears of joy in his eyes and his throat almost choked, he said,  “Your endearing words give me great joy.  Both of you are inquisitive about my choice, and this gives me added joy.  Surely shall I narrate the story of my life to such friends as you both.”

Ratnasar and the parrot now sat attentively and the hermit youth was just about to start his account when there started a  severe cyclone darkening all directions with flying dust. There was a terrible roar in the wind, so that nothing was visible and nothing was audible.  The hermit youth was unfortunately caught in the wind, which lifted him up to the sky.  He cried for assistance, but before Ratnasar could do anything, he was carried far, far away.

Ratnasar became very sad at this event.  To change his thought, the parrot said,  “This hermit youth does not seem to be a boy.  He must be a girl who has been turned into a boy by some cruel god, demon, or Vidyadhar.  His face-cut and gait lend support to my guess.  If somehow she could be rescued from her present state, I have no doubt she would be glad to marry you.”

They were now searching for the youth, but the search did not yield any result.  One day, they reached a temple dedicated to the first Tirthankar Lord Adinath.  Ratnasar worshipped at the feet of the image and sat down at the window to rest and enjoy the forest view outside.  Addressing the parrot, he said,  “So many days have passed, and we have not been able to trace the hermit.  It causes me much pain.”

“Regret not, Sir.  There will be the happy reunion this very day.”

Just then, a lady stepped inside the temple.  She worshipped and danced before the image.  Ratnasar saw all this from the window.   Slowly he came down to her, bowed before her, and inquired who she was and how she came to that dense forest and for what purpose.  The lady gave an account of her story.

“There is a city named Kanakpur, where reigns king Kanakdhwaj.  His wife, Kusumshri, dreamt one night that two garlands came flying to her.  In the morning, when she told the king about the dream, he said,  “It appears that twin girls will be born to you.”

In course of time, the queen gave birth to two daughters, who were named Ashokmanjri and Tilakmanjri. When they stepped into their youth, the king thought of settling them in marriage, preferably with one groom.

It was now spring, and both the sisters went to the royal garden to enjoy a swing.  Ashokmanjri sat on it, and Tilakmanjri pushed from behind.  Just then, a Vidyadhar was flying over the garden.  When he saw Ashokmanjri on the swing, he picked her up from there and disappeared in the sky.  When Tilakmanjri saw this, she fell down senseless on the ground.

When the news reached the palace, the king, the queen, members of the royal household and leading citizens all came to the park.  But there was nothing to be done, and so all returned very sad at the episode.

Tilakmanjri was now at the palace.  It was the last quarter of the night when she got up and came to the temple of Goddess Chakreshwari to propitiate her for the recovery of her dear sister.  The goddess was well pleased at her devotion and assured her that in a month’s time she would not only know the whereabouts of her sister, but also she would meet her.  When Tilakmanjri inquired of the goddess when and where she would meet her, the goddess told her that she would meet her in a temple dedicated to the first Tirthankar in a dense forest in the western direction from the city.  The goddess further advised her to worship the Tirthankar daily, and she offered her the assistance of a divine peacock to carry her there.  I am that Tilakmanjri, Sir, and you understand now the purpose of my presence here.”

Just at that moment, a peacock came down.  While taking leave of the stranger, the princess said,  “This peacock is my vehicle, and I come here daily on his back.  Today I complete a month of my worship, but I do not see any trace of my sister anywhere.  Sir, you are moving through many lands.  If, by chance, you come across a lady bearing similarity to me, be kind enough to pass the information on to me.”

Ratnasar assured her, “Charming lady !  Surely I shall oblige you if I see one like you.  So far in my wandering I did not come across any such lady, but I met a hermit youth in a forest.”  “Today you will surely meet your sister,”  said the parrot.

“In that case, I shall remain ever grateful to you,” she said.

When the three were in the midst of conversation, a terrified goose fell from the sky and sat on Ratnasar’s lap saying,  “Oh brave man !  I seek refuge with you.  I am wretched and helpless, and there is none to save me.  Please save my life.”

Ratnasar took the goose under his protection and uttered words of consolation.  He offered it cool water to drink.  After the goose was somewhat pacified, Ratnasar asked who it was, where it came from, how it could speak in a human voice, and of whom it was so afraid.  He assured that he would try to mend the situation and allay the fear if it was within his power in any way.

As the goose was about to recount its story, however, a noise became audible outside, and soon there appeared some soldiers outside the temple.  The parrot now came near the temple door and said to the soldiers in an angry voice,  “Men !  Haven’t you reached a wrong place ?  Don’t you know that prince Ratnasar is taking rest here ?  Aren’t you familiar with his prowess, which neither gods, nor demons, nor Vidyadhars can excel ?  If by any chance his angry glance falls on you, you can nowhere escape for the safety of your life.”

This created a terror in their minds.  They talked amongst themselves,  “Surely this must be a god or a demon; otherwise, he would not have challenged us, the Vidyadhars.  If, as we see, the prince’s parrot is so very sharp, how much more powerful the prince himself must be !  It may become difficult for us to stand before him.  It is, therefore, not wise to accept the challenge of one whose strength we don’t know.”

The soldiers returned to their chief to report, who, on hearing the account, lost his temper and said,  “Shame on you all, cowards, that you are so much afraid of an insignificant parrot !  I used to take pride in you valor, but I see now that it was all placed in very unworthy persons.  I don’t know who this prince may be, but you at least should have known that none among the gods or the demons is capable of standing before my prowess.  Fools are you all, wholly unworthy for the profession of soldiers !”

Then, he mobilized his power to the full with ten heads and four hands and equipped himself with deadly arms.  Then, with  a terrible roar that would put even a lion to shame, he descended and entered into the temple precincts.  The parrot saw him and came back to Ratnasar in terror.  Now, throwing the challenge, the Vidyadhar said,  “You wretched man !  Get away at once, or you force me to kill you.  You have kept hidden my dear goose.  If life is dear to you, then surrender her at once !”

The parrot, the lady, the peacock and the goose were all trembling.  Only Ratnasar did not lose his nerve. Firmly he said, “You fool !  I am not afraid of you, nor am I going to surrender the goose to you.  Get out of my sight at once, or I shall cut off your ten heads and make of them to the ten directions !”

There was a severe fight in which Ratnasar fought against the Vidyadhar and his soldiers from horseback. One by one, the soldiers fled, and soon there was none but the chief.  There was now a straight fight in which the Vidyadhar invoked his magical powers and hurled them at his human adversary.  Ratnasar met them all.  At last, he threw an arrow which pierced the Vidyadhar in the chest, and he fell down and fainted.  Regaining sense, he entered the arena again, this time more dreadful than before.  Finding Ratnasar in danger, the divine peacock assumed his original form of a Dev, picked up a heavy mace, and struck the Vidyadhar on the head.  This ended all his magical powers, and he stood helpless, acknowledging defeat.

Ratnasar now came inside the temple in the company of the Dev.  Tilakmanjri, who had witnessed the fight form the temple, had no doubt that the man must be a rare hero.  He was handsome, too, and she felt she would be happy to be his bride.  Besides, this would help her in the search for her sister, which was only possible by courage and intellect, which Ratnasar possessed.

Ratnasar now picked up the goose and placed her on his palm to help her to tender her account, which she did as follows:  “Madan is the Vidyadhar chief at Rathanpur on the Vaitadhya hills, and his wife is Kamala.  One day, the chief was flying over a garden at Kanakpur when Ashokmanjri was enjoying a ride on the swing.  The chief was charmed at her beauty and picked her up.  When Ashokmanjri started bewailing, he said to her,  “Oh lady !  Don t be afraid.  I am not a rogue or a thief, but the master of a kingdom.  You will have no trouble with me.  Rather, you will always find me obliging and ready to serve you in all manners.   Among all my consorts, you will be the foremost.”

Ashokmanjri was very much annoyed at his misbehavior in picking her up, but she preferred to keep silent.  Madan took it to be the outcome of the sudden separation from her near and dear ones and felt that she would be all right after some time.  To give her respite to convalesce, he turned her into a hermit youth and placed her in a forest.  There he visited her daily to win her favor, but he was no more successful than he was on the first occasion.  Sir, it was this hermit youth whom you yourself met.  If you remember, the youth was about to tender his account up to you when a cyclone created by the Vidyadhar picked the youth up and took him to Madan’s city.  There he again repeated his overtures, but with no better result.  Then he unsheathed his sword to kill her, but Ashokmanjri did not yield.  She said, “Swords may be helpful to win kingdoms, but not a woman’s heart, which can be won by love and affection only. By sticking to your haughtiness, you demonstrate how unworthy you are to seek my heart.”

Madan was fully aflame with rage.  “You foolish girl !  You decry me like that in my very presence !  I must put an end to your life,”  he shouted.

Ashokmanjri was not terrified at his words.  She said,  “When I am decided not to court you, what’s the point in my staying with you like this ?  It is better that you kill me at once.  I am no seeker of my life from your hands.”

At this, Madan softened.  He even changed his mind.  Then he turned Ashokmanjri into a goose and put her in a cage.  When his wife, Kamala, saw the goose, she had some suspicion.  One day, she induced the goose to give her full account, which she did.  Now, you know, a lady cannot bear the presence of a co-wife.  So one day Kamala took her chance and opened the cage.  The goose escaped and was on her wings floating through the air.  When at last she became tired, she came down to the ground to sit on your lap.  Here I am, sir !  When the Vidyadhar came to know of my escape, he pursued me.  The rest of the story is too well-known to everyone present here.”

When the account was complete, Tilakmanjri could no longer restrain herself.  She said,  “Sister dear ! How did you live in the dense forest as a hermit youth ?  How do you live now in the shape of a bird ?  I don’t know what Karmas may have put you through so much suffering.  How will you get rid of this animal body ?”

The Dev stood near at hand.  He changed the goose into her human form.  It became a very happy occasion, an occasion of reunion of two dear sisters.

Jokingly, Ratnasar said to Tilakmanjri,  “The credit for this reunion should in part go to me. I must have my due reward.”

“Sir, even if we give our all to you for all that you have done, that will be too inadequate a reward.”  Saying so, Tilakmanjri took a precious necklace from her neck and placed it on Ratnasar.  He was not willing to accept it, but Tilakmanjri was insistent, and he could not refuse her.  Tilakmanjri also honored the parrot suitably.

The Dev then turned to Ratnasar and said,  “These two worthy ladies have already been allotted to you by Goddess Chakreshwari.  I am only to fulfill the ritual aspect now.  I offer the hands of both the sisters to you, and it behooves you to signify your acceptance.”  Ratnasar could not decline such an offer. He gladly signified his assent.

It is a significant irony of life that it never moves in a straight line.  At a moment when one feels he is in full possession of earthly pleasures, pains almost unknowingly creep in.

One night, as Ratnasar was lying on his couch, he saw a terrible-looking man rushing toward him with bloodshot eyes and challenging him to a duel.  As he got ready to meet him, the man picked up the cage with the parrot and fled.  Ratnasar pursued him up to a very long distance but could see him no more.  He had now no doubt that his adversary was either a god, a demon or a Vidyadhar who had put him to an irreparable loss by taking away the parrot.

He did not turn his steps and was decided not to do so until he recovered the parrot.  Throughout the day, he continued his search and reached a city in the evening.

As he was about to enter the city, he was prevented from doing so by a parrot, who said that it did so for his own good.  This made Ratnasar very inquisitive as there was no prohibition or taboo on entering the city.

The parrot said,  “Here, in this city, there reigned a king named Purandar, under whose administration people were happy, except for one thing which made their life miserable.  This was the burglary by a thief who regularly visited the city at night.  He turned many rich men into paupers.  Efforts were made to catch him, but without success.

One day, the king himself headed the hunt and pursued the thief as he was escaping with a bundle of treasures.  When the thief saw that he could not escape, he slipped into a nearby monastery.  Inside, there lay a monk who was fast asleep.  He dropped the bundle near him and, empty-handed, he escaped without generating any suspicion.  When the king reached the monastery, he found the monk with the stolen treasures and arrested him.  The monk was tried and ordered for execution.

After he was executed, he became a Yaksha.  To take revenge, he not only killed the king, but turned the whole city into a desert, and he still haunts it.  It is for this, Sir, I prevented you from entering the city.”

A grateful Ratnasar said,  “Dear bird !  Thank you for the information.  But you take it from me that I am not afraid of the devil, and he can do me no harm.  Rather, you will see, I shall bend him before me.”

Saying that, he entered into the city.  He freely moved through it and was charmed at its wealth and affluence, piles of grains and the palace, and he passed through all the chambers of the palace.  At the seventh floor, he saw a fine couch, and, tired as he was, he lay on it and was soon asleep.

The Yaksha returned at night and became furious to find a man lying on his couch.  He was surprised, too.  Diverse thoughts came to him.  “A place where people do not even dare to come, this man sleeps carefree.  He must be very daring.  I must kill him.  But what mode shall I adopt to kill him ?  Shall I separate his neck, as a fruit is separated from a tree ?  Shall I peel his skin with a knife, as is done to a fruit ?  Shall I hurl him into a blazing fire ?  Shall I throw him up in the sky like a ball ?  Shall I drown him in the sea ?”

But the very next moment, he changed his mind.  After all, he is my guest.  He has come to take shelter in my abode.  It would be ridiculous to kill him.  Even an enemy should not be killed if he be a guest.  I should do him no harm until he wakes.  Then I shall consider the right step.  He went out and assembled his attendants.  Then he returned inside the palace.

But he could not contain himself for long.  As he saw Ratnasar still in deep slumber, his blood boiled again, and he thundered, “You shameless wretch !  Does it look nice to lie like this on somebody’s couch ? Get up and fly, or be ready for a fight !”

Ratnasar awoke and said,  “Why do you disturb me ?  You need to be kept busy.  I bid you to rub my feet with Ghee mixed with water and put me to sleep again.”

These words surprised the Yaksha.  Men are afraid of me,  he thought,  but what sort of man this may be who bids me to rub his feet.  He must be a very divine person.  I must obey him.

So he started rubbing Ratnasar’s feet as ordered.  He became a slave to him.  After the Yaksha had done it for some time, Ratnasar sat up and said,  “I am sorry for putting you to this humiliating job, but I am pleased that you obeyed me.  Ask for a boon.  I shall undertake any difficult job to help you.”

This was a great surprise for the Yaksha.  He thought,  “A human being willing to give a boon to one who is a divine person.  Normally, a god gives a boon to a human being.  What new thing can this fellow offer of which I may be in need ?  But let me see.”

Thinking so, the Yaksha said very politely,  “Sire, I do not know of any on the earth, in heaven, or in the nether world who can offer me anything I do not already possess.  But since you insist, I must ask.  May I take it that you will not decline ?”

Ratnasar said, “Speak out what you want. I stand by my words.”

The Yaksha replied, “Then, Sir, you take over the administration of this city.  I deem you fit for this job.  So you rule here and have a nice time.  I shall help you in all possible manners.”

Ratnasar was caught up in his own snare. He thought,  “This fellow offers me a kingdom, and a kingdom is obtained only when auspicious Karma is up.  But already I am under a vow not to acquire a kingdom. And at the same time, I am promise-bound to this fellow to honor my words.  What is to be done now ?”

After some consideration, he said,  “My dear fellow !  As to the acquisition of the kingdom, I am already under a vow not to do so.  Therefore, ask for something else.  What’s the utility of gold (earring) that obstructs hearing ?”

“But, Sir, you have given me your words of honor, and honest people do not transgress them even if it may cost them their life.”

“Since a kingdom becomes a cause of much sinful activity, I did undertake a vow pretty early never to acquire one.  And you will agree, to transgress a vow is the worst of all sinful activities.  I cannot strike at my own feet with an ax to suit your purpose, or even to please you.  So you see, it is necessary for you to ask for something else.”

The Yaksha now lost his temper.  “This is very unworthy of an honest man, I must say.  Now a duel is inevitable to settle it, and, as I can see, one must die.  Do you think it will be less sinful ?  When I, a god, desire you to do something, where is the question of transgressing the vow ?  I have given you a good chance, Sir, and you are a fool not to make use of it.  You know, you lay on my bed; you made me rub your feet; and now you dishonor me !  This is extremely impertinent, and I warn you about the consequence.  So long as I am favorably disposed toward you, I can do anything to help you, but once I am angry, you will find no place to hide your head.”

Ratnasar remained silent. The situation being what it was, what else could he do ?  This all the more irritated the Yaksha.  He threatened him again and repeated the threat for the third time.  The Yaksha now caught  him by the hair and threw him into the sky.

As he was falling, he held him between his hands and said,  “Don’t invite sure death by your foolishness.  It is not wise to refuse a kingdom.  I discharged even menial duties to please you, and you disobey me even on the most coveted offer.  Well, this is your last chance.  So long I saved you because I was favorably disposed toward you, but you deserve no genial treatment, since you have only slight for me.  So I must now set you right.  I must hurl you on yonder rock, as a laundryman does with his clothes against a wooden plank.  You will die a painful death and go to hell.”

Saying that, he brought Ratnasar to the rock.  But Ratnasar did not waiver.  With his firmness, he said,  “Do as you please.  Ratnasar has never transgressed his vow, nor will he do so now.  He is above fear and greed.  No power on earth can make him change his mind.”

Even the power of a divine being breaks before the power of a mighty soul.  The Yaksha admitted defeat.  He gave up his disguise and appeared in his celestial form.  He congratulated Ratnasar for his strength of mind and steadfastness about the vow and said, “Sir, I confirm that you are the foremost among the people who are well known for their steadfastness.  Men like you alone justify the epithet of the Mother Earth as being the mother of heroes.  My real name is Chandra Shekhar.  While in heaven, I had heard about your steadfastness.  The heavenly surgeon Harinegamesi one day extolled you so high as to suggest that you would not accept even a kingdom to uphold your vow.  So I came down to hold the test, and, I must candidly admit, your performance excels all expectation.  Pleased as I am with you, I request you now to seek a boon.’

With his usual detachment, Ratnasar said,  “Divine Sire !  By the grace of spiritual power, I have all I need.  I want nothing.  But if you so please, I suggest you fix yourself in religion.”

The god now restored the parrot to Ratnasar and shifted the two to their own city.  Then he took leave and disappeared.

The story of his steadfastness reached far and wide, and men, even monarchs, organized receptions for him and held him in the highest esteem.  Many years passed since he had left his parental home on the back of his father’s steed, so Ratnasar’s mind moved there.  Therefore, in the company of his two wives, Tilakmanjri and Ashokmanjri, he came back to his own city, where a reception was held in his honor by the king.

Such a worthy man throughout his life, Ratnasar could not but pass his old age still more worthily.  Once Dharmasuri, the master of all knowledge save the Kevalgnan, had come there, and Ratnasar came to pay his obeisance and homage to him.  Even king Samarsingh had come.  Now, on a query by the king himself as to the pious Karma in previous births, by dint of which Ratnasar came to command so much prestige and fame, the learned sage gave the following account:

“In the city of Rajpur, there reigned king Jitshatru, whose son was Srisar.  The prince had three friends in the son of a general, the son of a minister, and the son of a merchant.

One day there was a theft in the king’s harem, and the thief was caught red-handed by the police chief. Now, as the police chief was taking the thief to the execution ground, he saw the prince on the way.  On inquiry by the prince, the police chief gave an account about the theft, but the thief also got a chance to apprise the prince of his part of the story.  On hearing the two versions, the prince turned to the police chief and said, “As the case concerns my mother’s ornaments, you leave the thief with me.  I shall deal with him appropriately.”

The prince brought the thief outside the city, where he gave him good counsel not to steal anymore.  The fellow was truly inspired and took the vow not to steal, so the prince set him free.

The prince’s enemies came to know of this and reported the matter to the king.  The king at once sent for the prince, rebuked him severely, and ordered him to leave the city.  His friends too went with him.  When the four had gone a long way, they reached a forest and spent three days there.  On the fourth day, they reached a village.  They cooked their food and were about to eat when a monk came there.  Amiable by nature, the prince served him food, and the minister’s son and the merchant’s son approved of it.  The general’s son, however, suggested that some food should be kept aside for their own use.

After some time, as the king’s wrath was pacified, he recalled the prince.  Later, he was crowned a king and had a glorious reign.  That king, Srisar, is now born as Ratnasar, as you see him; the son of the minister and the son of the merchant are his two consorts, Tilakmanjri and Ashokmanjri, and the general’s son is born as the parrot.  The thief liberated by Srisar and placed under the vow is now a Dev named Chandrachud, and he is all the time extending an umbrella of protection to his former benefactor.”


According to the Jain Ramayan written by Vimal Acharya 530 years after the Nirvana of Lord Mahavir, Ravan observed a three days’ fast in the hope of obtaining Bahurupi Vidya.  The full story is as follows:

He began to observe three days’ fast in the temple of Lord Shantinath for obtaining Bahurupi Vidya (to be able to change in various forms).  He had forgotten the entire world and was concentrating on the lore only.  Two days quickly passed and on the third night, the presiding deity of the Vidyas (knowledge) came to test Ravan’s concentration.  The angel exhibited Ravan’s wife Mandodadri by his magical powers in between Ravan and the idol.  A scene of bad men raping and having fun with his wife was also exhibited to Ravan.  But Ravan was so much engrossed in meditation that he was unaware of what was going on. Due to his deep meditation, he completed his task of obtaining Bahurupi Vidya.

Here, Vimal Acharya writes in the Ramayan, that if Ravan had practiced three days penance for the purpose of getting rid of his Karmas, he would have obtained Kevalgnan.  But he used his lore to trouble others for worldly things and consequently went to hell for his deeds.  We only need to change the aim of our life.  All our penance, Jap, worship, etc., should be done to get rid of Karmas only.


We should put our energy in the right direction.


Once upon a time there lived a father and a son, both of whom were famous thieves.  The father, getting old, was on his deathbed and was still attempting to teach his young son the tricks of the trade.  This pair was so daring and witty that no police could ever catch them or get enough evidence to pursue them vigorously.

One day, as the father realized he was going to die, called his son to him and said, “Son, I will die now.  I want you to carry out one wish for me.  If a man named Lord Mahavir comes to our town, do not listen to him because he will destroy you and your money.”  With this, the old man died.

One day, as Rohineya (the son) was being pursued by the village police, he happened to pass through a jungle.  As he ran feverishly, he saw the man described by his father as “Lord Mahavir” preaching.

Upon recalling his father’s advice, Rohineya ran even faster, but one sentence of the Lord stayed in his ears.  Mahavir said, “...In heaven, people never blink and rose petals never crumble..” No matter how hard he tried, Rohineya could not get that out of his head.

A week later, Rohineya was caught by the police and because he would not confess, he was drugged so that he would confess his guilt.  As he woke from his deep slumber, the thief was confronted with dancing girls in a palace.  When Rohineya asked where he was, the people present told he had died and was in the heaven, and that he could freely confess his sins to the angels present.

Rohineya started to wonder.  He looked around to make sure that he was in heaven, and he saw that the all dancers blinked and the flowers the dancers had around their necks were fairly crumpled.  He realized that these people were lying, and this was a trap. He refused to utter a single word.  Then, Rohineya realized actually those words saved him from certain severe punishment.

That man named Lord Mahavir’s single sentence saved his life, he thought, and that if one sentence from him could save him, what could a whole lecture do !!!  From that day on, Rohineya committed no bad sins, and instead, became a holy Muni, lost in the world of religion, not theft.

Abhaykumar and Rohinia

In times of Lord Mahavir, there was a burglar named Lohkhur.  He lived in a remote cave of Vaibhargiri near Rajgruhi.  He was very smart and did not leave any trace of his burglary.  His wife’s name was Rohini and they had a son who was named Rohinia.  As Rohinia grew up, he picked up the art of burglary from his father and eventually became expert burglar.

He even surpassed his father in smartness.  It was almost impossible to recognize him, when he was in disguise.  If some one pursued him, he could run so fast that no one could catch him.  He could even jump over the walls when necessary.  He committed burglary mostly from the houses of noblemen and rich people and hid the treasure of his burglaries in the most unexpected and more or less inaccessible places. To the poor, he extended help from the wealth that he had so accumulated.  Many of them therefore felt grateful and were pleased with him and were not willing to help the Government officials in tracing him.

Lohkhur was now very old and could see that his life was soon to come to an end.  When he was on his deathbed, he called Rohinia by his side and said that he was very happy with the expertise that he had shown in committing burglary, which had been their ancestral profession.  In order to stay successful, he however advised his son never to listen to the sermon of Lord Mahavir, because his teachings were not conducive to their profession.  Rohinia promised his father to abide by his advice.  So Lohkhur could breathe his last with the sense of satisfaction.

After he died, Rohinia extended his burglary on a large scale.  So much so, that it became almost impossible for the rich families to experience safety of their property, if they were required to go out.  All the time, they had to be afraid that Rohinia would reach their home during their absence and take away jewelry and other valuables from the house.  These people once came to king Shrenik and requested him to take some effective action to protect them from Rohinia’s burglaries, since police officers had failed to do anything in the matter.  The king therefore asked Abhaykumar to undertake suitable action for getting hold of Rohinia anyhow.

Once it so happened that while Rohinia was secretly on his way to Rajgruhi, he had to pass by the side of Lord Mahavir’s assembly.  He remembered his father’s advice.  He therefore put his hands on his ears in order to prevent the voice of the Lord reaching him.  Unfortunately however, a sharp thorn pricked deep into his foot that very time.  He had therefore to take off his hands from the ears for taking out the thorn. That time words of the Lord reached his ears.

He heard following words: “Human life is the best of all lives.  It is possible to attain liberation only during human life.  Every human being can attain salvation irrespective of caste, creed or color.  By virtuous deeds one would gain life in heaven where there are all sorts of material pleasures and happiness. The heavenly beings move above the ground and their feet do not touch it.  Their bodies do not have shadows; their eyes remain steady (i.e. they don’t blink) and their garlands do not wither.  That life however does not lead to ultimate liberation that provides eternal bliss.  Therefore heavenly beings too crave for obtaining human life.”  By that time Rohinia removed the thorn from his foot and covering his ears once again with his hands, he proceeded away.

Since being entrusted with the task of catching Rohinia, Abhaykumar had secretly arranged for posting trained soldiers in disguise at the gates and all important corners of the city.  He himself also remained watchful.  Next time Rohinia came to the city, a watchman saw him.  Rohinia was in the guise of a farmer.  The watchman sent a message to Abhaykumar that some unidentified person had entered the city.  Abhaykumar became alert.

As Rohinia passed by, Abhaykumar glanced at him from a secret place. He did not fail to recognize the burglar even in disguise and instructed his men to surround him.  Smart as Rohinia was, he quickly recognized the danger.  He ran towards the city wall.  Unfortunately for him, there too were soldiers to take care of him.  He was thus easily apprehended and was put in bondage.

The next day, he was presented in the court.  As Rohinia was in disguise, it was hard to identify him as the burglar.  Abhaykumar was of course sure, but how could the accused be punished without proof of his being the wanted culprit ?  When the king asked him about his identity, Rohinia replied that he was a farmer named Durgachandra and belonged to Shaligram village; he had come to Rajgruhi for seeing the capital and was returning home when watchmen apprehend him.  Rohinia had made arrangements for that assumed identity with the residents of that village.  When the inquiries were therefore made in that village, the people corroborated what Rohinia had stated in the court.

Abhaykumar had therefore to make a plan for getting confession of Rohinia regarding the burglaries.  He came to know that Rohinia was fond of drinks.  He therefore arranged for serving too much wine to the accused to the extent of making him unconscious.  In that state, Rohinia was neatly cleaned, dressed in extravagantly perfumed royal garments and was adorned with valuable jewelry.  He was then placed on a luxurious velvet bed on a sandalwood cot on the top floor of a palatial building.

As Rohinia regained his senses, he saw himself in heavenly surroundings.  There was a breath taking view all around; walls, ceiling and floor were crystalline; beautiful maidens were waving scented air with diamond studded fans; slow sweet music was flowing from the background; heavenly damsels were dancing in tune with that music and apparently divine musicians were getting ready for a musical concert.

Rohinia could not make out where he was.  He asked one of the girls where he was and why all of them were serving him so well.  The girl replied that he was their Lord in the heaven that he had attained; all the divine comforts now belonged to him; he could live like Indra, the king of heaven and enjoy with the heavenly damsels the way he liked.  Could this be true for a burglar like him ?  he asked himself.  But then he remembered that he was helpful to the poor and needy and he was sure that God must have been just.  Or could this be the plan of Abhaykumar ?  he thought again.  It was real hard for him to decide what was truth.  He therefore thought it fit to wait and see.

After a while, a luxuriously clad person entered with a golden staff and book in his hand.  Is your new Lord awake ?  he asked one of the damsels.  The girl replied that their new Lord had just been awake and they had been getting ready to celebrate his arrival in the heaven by presenting the divine concert.  Let me make sure that all preliminaries pertaining to his arrival have been finished, before you start your concert; and let me also get from him some information that the heavenly realm needs to know.  Saying so, he came to Rohinia.  Opening his book, he asked Rohinia to narrate his deeds in the previous life, before he could start enjoying the amenities of heaven.

Meanwhile, Rohinia was watching all around.  He remembered what he happened to hear from Lord Mahavir about heavenly beings, at the time thorn had pricked his foot.  He minutely observed the movements of the so called heavenly beings in front of him.  He noticed that their feet were touching the ground and their bodies were casting shadows and their eyes were blinking like human beings.  He immediately realized that the heaven was a fake and it was only a trick of Abhaykumar to gain admittance of his burglaries.

He therefore replied that in the previous life he had given donations for all worthy causes; that he had constructed temples; that he had been for pilgrimage to holy places and had rendered service to the deserving entities.  That person took note of his statement and asked him to narrate any wrong deeds that he might have indulged in.  Rohinia said that he had scrupulously avoided misdeeds and therefore he was born in heaven.

Thus the plan of Abhaykumar came to nothing and Rohinia was set free as being the innocent farmer that he pretended to be.

Rohinia was released; but what had happened, set in a chain of thoughts in his mind.  He could see that what he had accidentally heard from Lord Mahavir, had saved his life.  Then how his father could be right in the advice that he had given ?  That Lord Mahavir must have been a real grateful entity.  If those accidentally heard words were so helpful, how much helpful his whole teachings could be ?  he asked himself.  Did he not waste his years avoiding sermons of the Lord ?  After pondering at length, he decided to go to the Lord and serve at his feet.

He went to the assembly and humbly requested the Lord to accept him as his pupil.  He also offered to become a Muni, if the Lord considered him fit for renouncement.  As the Lord thought him worthy to become his pupil, Rohinia sought his permission to make confession to the king before he renounced.

He then disclosed his real identity to the king who was present in the assembly and offered to accept any punishment.  He also requested Abhaykumar to depute some of his official to take back all the valuables that he had stored.  That way the stolen materials were recovered and handed over to the respective owners.

Since Rohinia had voluntarily confessed and had willingly returned everything that he had picked up during burglaries, the king decided to pardon him and permitted him to be the Lord’s Muni.  Rohinia was highly repentant for what he had done till then.  He started observing severe austerities in order to erase the Karmas arising from his misdeeds.  When his body was unable to bear more, he started  Anashan (not eating/drinking until death) with the permission of the Lord and attained real heaven at the end of that life.



RATNASAR JATAKA - His Previous Birth

The learned sage gave the following account:

In the city of Rajpur, there reigned king Jitshatru, whose son was Srisar.  The prince had three friends in the son of a general, the son of a minister, and the son of a merchant.

One day there was a theft in the king’s harem, and the thief was caught red-handed by the police chief. Now, as the police chief was taking the thief to the execution ground, he saw the prince on the way.  On inquiry by the prince, the police chief gave an account about the theft, but the thief also got a chance to apprise the prince of his part of the story.  On hearing the two versions, the prince turned to the police chief and said, “As the case concerns my mother’s ornaments, you leave the thief with me.  I shall deal with him appropriately.”

The prince brought the thief outside the city, where he gave him good counsel not to steal anymore.  The fellow was truly inspired and took the vow not to steal, so the prince set him free.

The prince’s enemies came to know of this and reported the matter to the king.  The king at once sent for the prince, rebuked him severely, and ordered him to leave the city.  His friends too went with him.  When the four had gone a long way, they reached a forest and spent three days there.  On the fourth day, they reached a village.  They cooked their food and were about to eat when a monk came there.  Amiable by nature, the prince served him food, and the minister’s son and the merchant’s son approved of it.  The general’s son, however, suggested that some food should be kept aside for their own use.

After some time, as the king’s wrath was pacified, he recalled the prince.  Later, he was crowned a king and had a glorious reign.  That king, Srisar, is now born as Ratnasar, as you see him; the son of the minister and the son of the merchant are his two consorts, Tilakmanjri and Ashokmanjri, and the general’s son is born as the parrot.  The thief liberated by Srisar and placed under the vow is now a Dev named Chandrachud, and he is all the time extending an umbrella of protection to his former benefactor.


Once upon a time, a Jain Muni came to a village to deliver lectures.  He was a good speaker and a wise scholar.  He was sitting on a special Muni’s platform, delivering his sermon.  Above him was a specially embroidered silk canopy.  The Muni was explaining the importance of non-possessiveness (Aparigraha).  In the audience was a man named Rupo.

After the speech, the Muni asked the listeners if they understood the meaning of what he said.  Everyone else said they understood what was explained to them but Rupo said he did not understand.

On the second day, the Muni once again orated on the same topic, and added many stories and examples to his  speech.  Once again, he asked the people if they understood, and with the exception of Rupo, everyone understood.

The Muni began to wonder what was wrong with Rupo, why he could not understand this simple principle.  Then during meditation, he realized what was wrong with Rupo, or rather, what was wrong with himself.

The following morning, the Muni came down from his platform and gave the speech without the silk canopy overhead.  After the speech, the Muni once again asked Rupo whether he understood, upon where Rupo said, “ Yes, Sir, now I understand.”

Sometime we may not realize but we may be unknowingly involved in the things which we do not intend to do.  So we should be very careful at all the time.