King Shrenik belonged to Shishunag dynasty which came to an end in 460 BC. With the death of his grandson Uday, Nand dynasty took over the Magadha. There were nine Nands, one after another and Dhananand was the last king of that dynasty.
He was very greedy and eager to accumulate wealth. He was keen to know about a hidden treasure belonging to his predecessors. His old prime minister Shaktal who was holding the office since the time of Dhananand’s father, was supposed to know about it. Dhananand tried his utmost to get the information, but Shaktal did not provide any indication of the treasure. He was therefore forced to retire and the administration was entrusted to other trusted ministers. Shaktal was learned and knowledgeable. Many scholars and highly placed officials liked to consult him. Hardly anyone however dared to go to him because every one was feeling afraid of the displeasure of the king. The capacity of Shaktal thus remained mostly unutilized.
Shaktal had two sons named Sthulibhadra and Shriyak and seven daughters. Sthulibhadra was smart, brilliant and handsome, but he was easy going. In Patliputra, the capital city, there was a beautiful young city dancer named Kosha. From the very young age, Sthulibhadra used to go to watch her concert. He developed liking for her and she too liked him. Slowly they developed strong attachment for each other. Sthulibhadra therefore left home at the young age of 18 and started living with her. The king had an intention to appoint him in the court, but Sthulibhadra was too much engrossed in love of Kosha. He had lost all political ambition and therefore declined the offer. He was so much enamored of Kosha that he did not even feel much concern for his aged father or other family members. The king had therefore appointed Shriyak in his court.
Later part of Dhananad’s regime witnessed major political upheavals. In Patliputra situation was in turmoil. Lot of people were feeling dissatisfied with the administration. Many of them were looking for the end of Nand dynasty. Dhananand was therefore feeling unsecured and was suspicious of every one. He was suspicious of Shriyak too. Shaktal knew this and was much worried about the political future of his son. In order to provide proof of Shriyak’s loyalty to the king, Shaktal himself courted death at the hands of his own son.
When Sthulibhadra learnt about that tragic event, he was taken aback. By that time he had spent 12 years with Kosha and had never cared for anyone else. His father’s death was an eye opener. He started reflecting on his past life. Twelve long years of my youthful life! What did I get during this long period ? He realized that he had not gained anything that would endure. The tragic end of his father brought home to him the reality that the life does come to an end. Is there no way to escape death ? he asked himself, What is nature of life after all ? Who am I and what is the mission of my life ?
Dwelling deep into these questions, he realized that the body and all worldly aspects are transitory and physical pleasures do not lead to lasting happiness. He looked at his image in the mirror and noticed the unmistakable marks of lustful life. He realized that he was wasting his youth and it was the time to retract. He made up his mind to go in search of lasting happiness. He rose and leaving the home of Kosha, he proceeded straight to Acharya Sambhutivijay who was the fifth successor to Lord Mahavir.
Surrendering himself to Acharya, he said that he was sick of the lustful life and wanted to do something worthwhile in the life. Acharya looked at him. Here was a young man of 30 who seemed to have lost the youthful vigor. The lustful life had virtually knocked him down; but brightness inherited from the illustrious father was still apparent on his face. In his sense of desperation, the learned Acharya saw hope for the Lord’s religious order and accepted him as his pupil.
Sthulibhadra did not take much time in adjusting to the new pattern of life. He was now keen to make good for the lost years. He decided to devote his energy for spiritual upliftment. He started working diligently and in no time gained the confidence of his preceptor.
Sambhutivijay died shortly after that and his colleague Bhadrabahuswami took over as the head of the religious order. Under his stewardship, Sthulibhadra thoroughly studied all the available scriptures excepting Purvas. His life as a Muni was also exemplary. He had successfully overcome the sense of attachment and gained control over all sorts of gross defilement.
Once, plans were being laid down for the ensuing monsoon. Sthulibhadra and three of his colleagues who had attained high level of equanimity wanted to test it by spending the monsoon under the most trying conditions. Those three colleagues had planned to spend it in utmost hazardous situations.
One of them said that he would stay at the entrance of a lion’s den; another wanted to spend it near a snake s hole; the third wanted to spend it on the top of an open well. The preceptor knew about their capabilities to withstand the hardships and permitted them. He then asked Sthulibhadra about his plans and the latter said that he would like to spend it in the picture gallery of Kosha.
Acharya knew very well how tough it was to stay unattached under those highly comfortable and seductive circumstances, The way Sthulibhadra had however adapted to the new life and the severity with which he was observing the code of conduct, the Acharya felt confident about his capacity to face that ordeal and permitted him to go to Kosha.
Accordingly Sthulibhadra went to Kosha’s palace and asked her to allot him the picture gallery. She was badly missing him and was glad that he had come back. She asked him to stay in the room he was occupying earlier. Sthulibhadra however insisted on staying in the gallery. She thought that he was unduly attracted to the lustful picturesque gallery, but that was a welcome sign for her. Thus feeling sure of regaining his love, she gladly permitted him to stay in the picture gallery.
Now just visualize the situation. Here was youthful Sthulibhadra living in joyfully decorated gallery in the presence of glamorous Kosha whom he had loved so long and there was no one else to interfere. It was too tempting. Even the great sage Vishwamitra had succumbed under such conditions. To resist that temptation was the mightiest task that Sthulibhadra had undertaken. Kosha used all her skills to win back his love; she employed every trick to seduce him from renouncement, but he remained steady like a rock. Ultimately Kosha had to give up and Sthulibhadra passed the monsoon without any way being swayed by attachment. History has not recorded any other case of staying totally detached in the midst of such highly seductive circumstances.
At the end of monsoon, pupils came back to report their experience to the preceptor. First came the Muni who had successfully stayed at the entrance of lion’s den. The preceptor was glad with his performance and congratulated him for undertaking the hard task. Then came the Muni who had stayed near the snake’s hole. He was also congratulated for the difficult task. Then came the one who had spent his days on the top of the well. The preceptor congratulated him too.
When Sthulibhadra reported his tale, the preceptor was thrilled to listen that. He rose from his seat in all praise and hailed Sthulibhadra for performing a Herculean task. Other pupils could not make out why the preceptor was so much impressed by performance of Sthulibhadra who had stayed at ease in most comfortable situation. Acharya explained that it was a feat that no one else could do.
The first Muni said that he could easily do it the next monsoon. The Acharya tried to dissuade him from his intent, because it was beyond his capability. The Muni however persisted and decided to show his ability to face that situation.
The next monsoon that Muni went to Kosha’s place. The lustful pictures of the gallery were enough to make him excited. When he saw glamorous Kosha, his remaining resistance melted away and he begged for her love. Kosha could do anything for Sthulibhadra, but she had no regard for this Muni. She could easily make out his caliber. In order to teach him a lesson she however agreed to make love, if he could bring for her the diamond studded garment for which Nepal was known.
The Muni was so overcome with the lust that he immediately proceeded to Nepal overlooking the fact that Munis are not supposed to travel in monsoon. With considerable difficulty he procured a garment and coming back to Patliputra he gleefully handed it to Kosha. He was now thrilled with the expectation of getting her. She however used it for wiping her feet and threw it away in garbage.
The Muni could not make out what was wrong with her. “Are you crazy, Kosha ? Why are you throwing away the precious gift that I have brought with so much difficulty ?” he asked. “Then why are you out to throw away the precious life of monkshood that you have obtained at heavy cost ?” was the reply of Kosha. The Muni realized his foolishness and went back to the preceptor to report his miserable failure. From then onwards Sthulibhadra became the acknowledged leader of all the pupils.
Sthulibhadra had now to learn the 14 Purvas. Bhadrabahuswami thought that he deserved that and started teaching him. By the time, Sthulibhadra had finished 10 Purvas, they happened to come to Patliputra. Sthulibhadra’s sisters who also had renounced, came to see him.
Sthulibhadra knew it and thought to show them his miraculous capability. Thereupon he assumed the form of a lion. As the sisters came to his room, they were scared to see the lion. They felt afraid that the lion might have eaten him away. They reported it to Bhadrabahuswami. He could make out what had happened and asked the girls to go back to the room. Sthulibhadra had resumed his original form and the sisters were gratified that their great brother was alive and safe.
Bhadrabahuswami was however annoyed that Sthulibhadra had used his capability for such trivial purpose. He therefore refused to teach him further.
Later on, there was a long lasting famine in north India. In that condition of acute shortage it was not easy for the Munis to properly observe the code of conduct. Many of the Munis therefore migrated to south under the leadership of Bhadrabahuswami. For those who remained behind, it was hard to exactly remember the texts of scriptures composed by Lord’s Ganadhars. There came about varying versions of the scriptures.
A convention was therefore held at the end of famine at Patliputra. The convention prepared a generally acceptable version of the scriptures. Since this was done under the stewardship of Sthulibhadra, his name stands very high in the annals of Jainism. Even at present his name is recited next to Lord Mahavir and Gautamswami.
Subhat was a state officer. His wife, Surangi was very noble. They had a son named Sonpal. After she delivered Sonpal, her beauty began to fade and Subhat lost his attraction for her. The Poets have rightly compared mean person’s love with evening hue or sandy walls.
So, Subhat married a beautiful and graceful lady named Kurangi. Subhat was totally captivated by her and showered great favors upon her. Gold and woman are the main objects of fascination but the latter is a more powerful object than the former. Some Poet said, “Woman is the lake of love in which the entire world is plunged. None can take out the man who has plunged in this lake of love. Whom should I call out for help ?”
Kurangi was fair in complexion but dark at heart. She was full of malice, jealousy and pride. She was a flirt too. Surangi was the co-wife and a hindrance to the fulfillment of her desires. She started alleging Surangi in various ways and poisoning the ears of Subhat.
Kurangi’s captivating physical charms had overpowered Subhat. He gave Surangi some household furniture and a little money to stay separately. Indeed, even a learned scholar, valorous or a wise man is made to dance around the finger of a charming woman.
After a while, the war was declared and the army-chief Subhat had to leave for the battlefield. Kurangi emotionally said, “I cannot live without you even for a day. I am like a fish without water when you leave me, why don’t you take me along with you in the battlefield ?”
Subhat said, “War is very dreadful. Women should avoid it. Moreover, under royal command we cannot take our wives along with us. So, Oh, dear one, stay here and enjoy the life. We have everything at our disposal in our house”.
Kurangi said, “I shall obey your command but please return soon. It is very difficult for me to pass a day without you in this house; you know our neighbors are very mischievous”.
Subhat left for the battlefield having joined the army. Kurangi was alone and she decided to fulfill her long standing desire.
There was a handsome and well-dressed goldsmith in the village. His name was Chango. She craved for him and called him for cleansing the ornaments. After some sideways talks she said to him: “We are alike in all respects and pleasure- seeking. If you agree, we would enjoy sensual pleasures. If you do not agree, I shall commit suicide and you will reap the reward of the sin”.
Chango was a great scoundrel. He used to drink and gamble. He visited brothels and prostitutes and risked to trap beautiful girls. He said posing prudence, “Adultery is very risky, but as you talk of suicide I agree with you”. Both freely indulged in amorous dalliance and squandered money without restraint.
Days passed by. After four months Subhat sent a message that he was about to arrive in four days, so Chango robbed Kurangi of all the rest of the valuables and left her to pitiable plight. What did she gain in debauchery ? She lost her character, she committed a breach of her husband’s faith and she lost her assets too. Debauchery is a great sin leading the sinner to hell undoubtedly.
Subhat approaching nearer conveyed one more message that on the next day at twelve O’clock he would come and she should keep his lunch ready. On receiving this message, Kurangi was much agitated as she had nothing left with her to prepare sumptuous dishes. At last, applying her sense, she approached Surangi. Surangi was surprised to see her at her place for the first time.
Kurangi said, “Dear sister, I have good news for you, our husband arrives home tomorrow at noon after a lapse of one year”.
Surangi replied: “Dear sister, I congratulate you for bringing me the good news but how should I welcome him as he doe not even talk to me”.
Kurangi said, “Do not worry, I will pursue him to have his lunch at your place. So keep the food ready”.
Surangi was delighted and she got up early in the morning to prepare a variety of food. She eagerly awaited the arrival of her husband.
On the next day at noon, when Subhat arrived, he found the doors of his house shut. As he had conveyed the message in advance, he expected a cordial welcome from his wife awaiting at the doors. But the sight was altogether different. Kurangi opened the doors and sat in a corner turning her face aside. Subhat thought that Kurangi was sick with loneliness. So he said lovingly, “Darling, what did I do that you are not talking to me with love ? Stand up and serve me the meal”.
Immediately, Kurangi with gesticulation said, “You are a great pretender. You have conveyed to Surangi that you would be dining at her place while you tell me to serve the meal”.
Incidentally at that time, his son Sonpal sent by Surangi arrived and politely paying respects to Subhat said, “Father, lunch is ready, please come”.
Subhat could not make out what all this confusion was. He stared at Kurangi, but she contemptuously said, “Enough of your pretensions. You can go to your beloved Surangi. She will feed you to your satisfaction”.
Subhat was much annoyed with such bitter words of Kurangi, and he arrived at Surangi`s place. Surangi was eagerly waiting to accord her hearty welcome. She accorded a warm welcome to her husband, bathed him with hot water and seated him on the wooden seat to serve him the lunch. Various delicious dishes were served but Subhat did not stretch his hand to eat.
Surangi asked: “Lord, why don’t you eat ? Is there anything missing ?” Subhat replied: “Yes, there is one thing missing. If a vegetable prepared by Kurangi was added to this dinner, then the entire food would be as tasty as nectar”.
Surangi said, “But without tasting any of the vegetables, how do you know that the vegetables here are not as tasty as those prepared by Kurangi ?” Subhat said, “I can make out from the very flavor. It is not necessary to taste them.”
Surangi found that her husband’s sense is eclipsed with partiality, and he would not be convinced with any amount of arguments. She got up and went to Kurangi with a pot. She said to Kurangi, “Sister, Our husband’s heart is deeply attached to you and he cannot relish delicious vegetables prepared by me. Please give some vegetables prepared by you so that he would dine with interest”.
Kurangi found that her husband loved her sincerely though she condemned him. Still however, she wanted to taste his sincerity. She said to Surangi, “Sister, wait in the verandah for sometime and I shall prepare vegetables.” Surangi waited in the verandah and Kurangi brought some cowdung from the rear portion of the house and having added all spices prepared a soup like preparation for Subhat. She gave it over to Surangi.
Surangi produced that vegetable before Subhat, who said, “How fine is the flavor of this vegetable, and look at the appearance. How nice !”
Subhat began eating. He ate less food prepared by Surangi but ate more vegetable prepared by Kurangi and while doing so, he frequently praised the taste and flavor of Kurangi’s vegetables !
This illustration will convince you that a man whose mind is blinded by favoritism cannot realize the truth. Favoritism is a weakness that overpowers the mind. One should try to be very careful about this while passing any remarks about the others to avoid hurting other’s feelings.
In time of Lord Mahavir when Shrenik was the king of Magadha, there was a charioteer named Nagarath in Rajgruhi. He was an expert charioteer and king Shrenik used to rely upon him whenever he had to go for any adventure. Pleased with his expertise Shrenik had appointed Nagarath as his principal charioteer. He was married to a girl named Sulasa who was a staunch devotee of Lord Mahavir. She gave birth to many sons who turned out to be very bold. Shrenik had therefore appointed them as his personal bodyguards and they were performing the job very faithfully.
Once Shrenik happened to see the picture of Sujeshtha who was one of the princesses of Vaishali. He was struck by her beauty and wanted to marry her. Through Abhayakumar the king managed to secure the attention of Sujeshtha towards him. She also got enamored of Shrenik and wanted to marry him. Both of them were thus longing for each other.
Sujeshtha’s father was however not inclined to accept Shrenik as his son-in-law. It was therefore planned that Shrenik would secretly take Sujeshtha out of Vaishali so that they would get married in Rajgruhi.
Accordingly he came to Vaishali through a secret tunnel along with his bodyguards. Instead of Sujeshtha he came across her younger sister Chellana who very much resembled Sujeshtha. Shrenik took her in the chariot and started towards Rajgruhi. His movement was however noticed and the forces of Vaishali encountered him on his way back. His bodyguards fought bravely for him and effectively prevented the Vaishali forces from interfering with the king’s escape. All the sons of Sulasa however lost their lives in that brief encounter.
This was a terrible shock for Nagarath and Sulasa who were rendered childless. Sulasa had however well comprehended Lord Mahavir’s precept of every worldly situation being ephemeral. She could therefore face that shock with reasonable degree of equanimity and helped her husband in maintaining the balance of mind. From then onwards they devoted their time following the precepts of the Lord and cultivating ever increasing sense of detachment. In due course people of Rajgruhi came to know of Sulasa as the staunch devotee of Lord Mahavir.
There was an ascetic named Ambad. He undertook austere penance and had thereby gained miraculous capabilities. He had high regard for the teaching of Lord Mahavir and aspired to be his follower.
While the Lord was camping in Champapuri, Ambad once came to his assembly and prayed him for the true precepts. When he rose for the purpose of going to Rajgruhi, he asked the lord whether he had any message to be conveyed in Rajgruhi. The Lord asked him to convey his blessing to Sulasa. Ambad had expected that the Lord would give some message for the king Shrenik or for other dignitary like Abhayakumar. He was therefore amazed to hear the Lord’s message for Sulasa. He was curious to find out what type of devotee Sulasa could be so that the Lord had personally conveyed his blessing for her. He decided to test her faith.
First he came to Sulasa’s place as an ascetic and begged for alms. Sulasa had decided that she personally would give alms only to the Munis of the Lord. So she asked her maid servant to give the alms.
The next day Ambad took the form of Brahma with four faces, four hands etc. together with the pomp associated with that form. He took the position at the eastern gate of the city where people of the city flocked to bow. But Sulasa did not.
The next day Ambad assumed the form of Vishnu together with all the splendor and pomp associated with that form. He sat near the southern gate of the city. More people flocked there to worship him, but Sulasa considered it a fake and did not turn out.
The following day he assumed the form of Shiva and sat near the western gate. Still more people turned out to worship him, but Sulasa did not.
On the fourth day Ambad produced a grand Samavasaran at the northern gate of the city. He assumed the form of an Kevalgnani Jin with all types of human, heavenly and other beings listening to his sermon. Almost the entire city turned out to listen the sermon. People were talking among themselves that the 25th Tirthankar had come to the city. Sulasa however knew that there cannot be more than 24 Tirthankaras. She therefore refused to believe that there could be any Tirthankar other than Lord Mahavir.
Thus all sorts of lustrous and attractive situations failed to attract Sulasa towards any other cult and she remained totally unaffected by any of them. Ambad was much impressed by her steadfast devotion to the Lord’s teaching. Then he presented himself as the follower of Lord Mahavir, praised her for her total devotion and conveyed her the Lord’s blessing. Sulasa was very much pleased to learn that the Lord had personally conveyed his blessing for her. She then received Ambad with enthusiasm. This incident helped Ambad in firmly laying his faith in Lord Mahavir.
Sulasa spent the rest of her life strictly following the precepts of the Lord and gained heavenly life after her death. She would get reborn as the 15th Tirthankar of the next time cycle.
King Tarapida of the city of Shrichandra had a minister named Sumitra, who was a devoted Shravak and regularly performed the Samayika, Pratikraman, and other religious rites. These were very much disliked by the king, who said one day, “Sumitra, why have you unnecessarily burdened yourself with these worthless activities ? You are emaciating your body with penance, but what is the outcome of all this ? Give up these oddities and have a pleasant life.”
“Your Majesty ! You should extend your cooperation to my spiritual activities. But instead of doing that, you are only discouraging me. This is somewhat unbecoming of you. You should know that good deeds alone help men in attaining true well-being.”
“Sumitra ! If you can demonstrate the instantaneous outcome of religion, then I may agree with you, but not otherwise.”
“Sire ! The very fact that you are a king, the master of so much wealth, and responsible for the well-being of so many people, is the greatest proof of the practical utility of religion. What other proof can be better than this ?”
“Well, take an example. There is a slab of stone. It is cut into two pieces. One is used for the construction of a staircase, and the other is carved into an image. Will you say that one-half of the stone had accumulation of sins while the other half was all merit and piety ? Likewise, you take it from me, someone is a king, someone a minister, and someone a mere attendant.”
“Sire ! There is no comparison between life and a slab of stone. The slab may be broken into many pieces, but not the soul of a living being. Each soul has a distinctiveness and existence of its own, each one has separate karma, and each one is a separate prey to their outcome.”
“Still, I don’t agree until I am an eyewitness to its practical usefulness.”
This sort of debate often took place between the king and the minister, but neither would yield.
It so happened one day that the minister, having finished his duties at the court, returned to his residence after dusk. That being a Chaturdasi (fourteenth) day of the fortnight, he was on fast. But as he could not come in time to perform the Paushadha, he imposed on himself by way of atonement the vow of not to move out from his house during the night until sunrise and sat down in Pratikraman.
At night, there came a messenger from the king with an urgent call for the minister, but the minister communicated back his inability to comply with the king’s request until daybreak. The king was aflame at this insubordination on the part of the minister and sent the messenger again with a stricter order for the minister either to turn up at once to attend urgent business of the state or resign his office and surrender the seal thereof.
This was a test for Sumitra. He thought, “To transgress the vow is a great sin. I am at this moment a minister, and even if the position goes, I may get a similar position again. A position is insignificant when compared with a vow. So it is not worthwhile to give up the vow as desired by the king and save the position.”
So thinking, he did not comply with the king’s order. The messenger started going back to apprise the king of the minister s stand.
On the way back, the messenger was thinking, “If I were the minister...” and then he did not know when he started saying, “I am the minister, I am the minister...”
No sooner had these words been uttered than there was an uproar:
“Strike him, kill him ! And in the twinkling of an eye, a few armed men jumped on the messenger and made him lie flat on the ground. They snatched from him the minister’s resignation and seal of office.
When the news of the messenger’s death reached the king, he started at once with an unsheathed sword in his hand. He was under the impression that Sumitra had a hand in the murder. On the highway, he met these armed men surrounding the dead body of the messenger. The king stopped and said, “Who are you men ? Why did you kill my man ?”
“We have come from Dharavas, where reigns King Sursen. Our purpose was to murder the minister, Sumitra, who extorts an exorbitant subsidy from our king. As we reached here, this man was shouting I am the minister, and so our wrath fell on him. But now we find that he was not the minister, and so our exertion has been in vain.”
The king now chased them all with his naked sword and brought them down dead. He thought, “It is good that Sumitra did not come. His vow has saved him. Otherwise, he would have fallen a victim to the swords of these men. This must be the outcome of religion, and, I feel, it has some practical utility.”
Instead of returning to the palace, the king proceeded straight to the house of the deposed minister, to whom he said, “Sumitra, today I was an eyewitness to the practical utility of religion. Had you not been under the vow, you would have been butchered. And that would have been the greatest tragedy for the kingdom. I am very sorry that I removed you from office. But I reinstate you.”
This was a proper occasion for Sumitra to convert the king to the path of religion, and he said many wise things to him. Once the king met Acharya Purnachandra, when he accepted the vows of a Shravak. This also had its impact on the deliberations at the court, which now changed virtually into a spiritual assembly. On the advice of the minister Sumitra, the king now did many things for the good of his people.
In Rajgruhi there was a very prosperous businessman named Dhandatt.
He had five sons. Later on he got a daughter who was named Sushama. She was very beautiful and every one loved her. Among his employees there was an orphan boy who was the son of a maid servant Chilati and was therefore known as Chilatiputra. He used to take care of Sushama. The boy was mischievous and vicious. He used to pick up unnecessary quarrels with the neighbors. Dhandatt used to rebuke him for such incidents but that had no effect on Chilatiputra. Dhandatt however retained him as an employee out of compassion for the orphan boy.
Once Dhandatt noticed Chilatiputra sexually abusing Sushama. This was too much for him and he instantly fired the naughty boy. Chilatiputra was homeless and did not know where to go. Moving here and there, he came across the notorious burglar Vijay who used to live in the dense forest area in the neighborhood of Rajgruhi. He had a band of 500 burglars with him. He took Chilatiputra under his shelter. Chilatiputra learnt the art of burglary from Vijay and in due course became an expert burglar. Vijay was very happy with his performance and made him the deputy chief.
When Vijay died, Chilatiputra was unanimously accepted as the chief. He was bold enough to undertake daring burglaries. He did not hesitate to kill those who dared to oppose him. Thereby he struck the hearts of the people with terror. Indulging in the burglaries, he amassed lot of wealth. He could now afford to live luxurious life. Every one of his colleagues also had enough wealth to live comfortably without undertaking any more burglary. For some time Rajgruhi remained free from the terror of Chilatiputra.
Once while moving in disguise, Chilatiputra happen to see Sushama who was now highly attractive grown up girl. He revived his affection for her and got an intense desire to get her. He knew that Dhandatt’s house was well protected and it was not easy to abduct Sushama. From the heart of his heart he however craved for her and realized that it was no longer possible for him to live without Sushama. He then called his colleagues and said that he wanted to raid the home of Dhandatt. The colleagues were amazed to hear that. They could not make out why he was thinking to undertake such risky project. Did he still covet additional wealth ?
Chilatiputra explained that he did not need any more wealth. He merely wanted Sushama and during the raid his colleagues were at liberty to grab anything that they liked from Dhandatt’s home. He would then disband them forever and with the wealth that they could grab, they could easily live happily and comfortably ever after. Every one knew about the immense wealth of Dhandatt. The proposal was therefore attractive enough and all the colleagues agreed to be by his side.
One midnight when every one was asleep, the burglars raided the home of Dhandatt. There was hue and cry every where. The guards of the house were however taken unaware and the burglars could easily overpower them. Chilatiputra went straight in search of Sushama’s room. Other raiders proceeded towards the treasury room grabbing gold, jewelry and other valuables. Chilatiputra easily located where Sushama was sleeping. As he lifted her with both the hands, Sushama got awake and being scared gave a shrill cry. Chilatiputra however tied a cloth round her mouth and taking her on his shoulder he left the home. Observing that the chief had succeeded in gaining his target, other raiders too started eloping with whatever precious material that they could lay hands upon.
Meanwhile Dhandatt and his sons were awake by the cries of the guards. As they heard the cry of Sushama, they could make out that she was in danger. They rushed to her room and noticed Chilatiputra running away with Sushama. They could also see other burglars getting away with valuables. Ignoring the others, Dhandatt and his sons pursued Chilatiputra. The city guards, who had arrived by that time, also pursued the raiders.
Chilatiputra was running fast but he had to run with the weight of Sushama on his shoulder. He could easily cross the city limit and proceeded towards his forest abode. Dhandatt and others were however pursuing him relentlessly. After a little while, Chilatiputra was within the pursuers range. He could see that it was not possible for him to escape along with Sushama. He very well knew that if he could leave Sushama there, his pursuers would not hunt after him. But how could he leave Sushama to the others ? In desperation he cut the throat of Sushama and leaving the dead body behind, he quickly eloped from the scene.
Dhandatt and his sons arrived at the place where Sushama was lying dead. They realized the futility of pursuing Chilatiputra. Here was lying the body of their darling Sushama with the blood still flowing from her body. It was a ghastly scene. With all their efforts they could not prevent the miserable end of the girl. But what else could they do apart from crying and mourning with a heavy heart ?
Chilatiputra could escape from the clutches of pursuers. His heart was however torn. He had almost successfully fled away with the girl whom he had so passionately longed for. And in the very hour of his success he had to mercilessly cut her throat ! Can there be anything more terrible ? He looked at his body and clothes stained with the blood of his darling ! What had nature destined for him ? He asked himself. He could not visualize any purpose of his life. Intense remorse had overtaken him. He could not make out what to do.
All of a sudden he happened to see a saint who was meditating in a lonely place. He narrated the entire story to the saint and prayed for the atonement of his sin. Uttering merely the three words of Upasham, Vivek and Samvar, the saint suddenly disappeared.
Chilatiputra could not make out what the saint meant by those three words. Being however struck with intense remorse he pondered over them again and again. He ultimately realized that the words stood for pacification of defilement, discernment and restraint. He recalled all types of defilement that he had indulged in since boyhood. He also remembered the repeated rebukes from the fatherly Dhandatt and his own total disregard for the same. The result was the tragic end of Sushama ! How terrible was that result ? It happened because he had never cared to distinguish good and bad. Lure of beauty and wealth had blinded him throughout. That showed the total absence of discernment on his part. Now the only way open to him was to adopt restraints. The significance of the three terms thus dawned upon him. He realized the futility of the life that he had lived. He decided to give up everything and adopt the life full of restraint.
That very place he stood steadfast contemplating about his misdeeds and the real purpose of life. People passing by were scared of his blood stained outfit. Some recognized him and told others about the cruel burglar. A few of them got scared. Others hurled stones at him from a distance. As he did not make any movement, they dared to come closer assaulting, scorning and spitting at him. But he remained completely unaffected.
Ants and other insects attracted by the odor of the blood, started biting him. He however took everything as the fruits of his past misdeeds and did not lose evenness of mind. His body got totally sprained by the injuries of the people and bites of the insects.
On the third day he died maintaining the perfect equanimity and attained heaven.
King Kanakrath ruled over the city named Tetaliputra. He had a virtuous and beautiful wife named Padmavati. He had a minister named Tetaliputra, who was adept in peaceful pecuniary and punitive measures.
The king had a deep attachment for his throne. All the princes born to the queen were made physically defective by the king so that they would not be the king. The queen condemned this conduct of the king severely but she was helpless. She, therefore, took the minister in her confidence and resolved to guard her next son at any cost.
After sometime she delivered a son. At the same time the minister’s wife also delivered a still-born child. The children were exchanged and the prince was named as Kanakdhwaj and grew up as the minister’s son. He was being brought up in all the comforts. When the prince grew young the king fell prey to some disease and expired. All the leading members of the assembly assembled and began to worry as to who should be the next king. Then the minister revealed the identity of the prince Kanakdhwaj and the queen also supported the Minster’s contentions. Prince Kanakdhwaj was declared as the king.
On this occasion the royal mother advised the new king to respect the minister under all circumstances as he was his savior. The king always paid high respects to the minister. He would rise up from his seat when the minister entered the royal assembly and he would carry out his instructions. He would never transgress them. The minister was also as good as the royal father who always worried himself for the welfare of the subjects.
Now let us see what happened in the personal life of the minister. He loved his wife Pottali very dearly. She was in full-bloom youth and very beautiful. But as she advanced in age she lost her beauty. The minister’s love for her receded too.
A woman can endure all worldly miseries except the disregard from her husband. The minister understood her mind and with a view to keep her busy he said, “Pottali, from today on, you look after the cooking affairs and keep yourself happy by offering alms to any monk, ascetic or a Brahmin.” Pottali agreed to this arrangement.
One day a nun named ‘Suvrata’ arrived there. She was very serene by nature and learned. Pottali asked her, “Oh, Madam, one day I was as dear as the apple of the eye to my husband. Today he does not like to see my face. Kindly give me mystical charm or spell to attract my husband”. The nun replied, “Oh, beloved of the gods, we are the nuns observing celibacy and without any attachment. I, therefore, do not bother with the worldly affairs. We are not expected to talk in this capacity. If you want your doubts dispelled then listen to the religion preached by the Kevalgnani (Omniscient).” Then she discussed the nature of religion and explained the significance of the twelve vows of the lay-disciple. Pottali accepted the twelve vows.
One good thing breeds another good thing and Pottali became inclined to get herself initiated as a nun. She asked for the minister’s consent. This happened when the minister was revered as the royal father. He was wise enough not to interfere in religious proposition. He said, “I can consent only on one condition that if you, in the next birth, become a heavenly angel due to all your penance and vows, then you will enlighten me.”
She agreed to the condition and embraced the ascetic order of life. Having lived the ascetic life under strict discipline she was born as the heavenly angel in the eighth heaven. She was named Pottalidev.
Pottalidev remembered her promise and tried to create disgust for worldly pleasures in the mind of the minister. Power, popularity or affluence each individually can entangle a man in the worldly bondage and minister was so much fascinated with all these three that he was not ready to give up the worldly affairs.
Pottalidev thought that the minister would not come to his senses unless misery befalls upon him. One day Pottalidev changed the mind of the king. So when the minister entered the assembly hall, instead of paying respect to him as usual, the king turned his face away. The minister thought that the king was angry with him. He would do anything out of anger, so he thought it wise to leave the place.
As he left the assembly hall no one respected him on the way and acted as if they did not know him. He was deeply enraged. He reached home and was given a very cold response at home also. The minister was deeply shocked and preferred death to living the life full of such humiliation.
He locked himself in his room and tried to cut off his neck with a sword but it did not work. He tried but he could not do it. He placed ‘Kalkut’ poison in his mouth. This poison is extremely deadly but he still survived. He then left the city for a lonely place in the wilderness. He hang himself by the neck but the rope broke. Thereafter, he tied a slab of stone on his neck and plunged himself in the water but he floated like a wooden ball. He lighted the pyre and jumped into the fire that was ablaze. Suddenly there came the pouring rain and he could not die.
Thus despite numerous endeavors to die, death did not seem to love him. He began to reflect, “Who shall I turn to ? Even death is not prepared to abate my miseries”.
At this very moment angel Pottalidev uttered from the invisible regions, “Oh Tetaliputra, A big ditch is ahead, an intoxicated elephant pursues us in all darkness and there are showers of arrows. The village is set on fire. Where should one go under the circumstances ?”
Tetaliputra caught the inner meaning of these words. He replied, “Initiation into monkshood life is the only resort for a person terrified with dangers all around as the hungry man finds resort in food, thirsty man in the water, the diseased in the remedy and the exhausted in a carriage. A monk with patience and self-restraint has nothing to fear from.”
The invisible voice said, “Since you have realized the truth, why do you not embrace the monkshood ?” There was a big illumination ablaze before the minister and he heard the words. “I was your wife Pottali. I have come to tell you that you should accept asceticism, since you have very well realized the emptiness of worldly happiness and pleasures”.
The minister was enlightened with these words and he renounced his worldly ties. He accepted monkshood and he achieved intuitional knowledge of his previous existence. He remembered the fourteen holy scriptures which he had studied in his previous lives. The minister (now the monk) made great spiritual progress in meditation, learning, penance etc. He finally annihilated all Karmic bondage, acquired Omniscience and attained Divine Perfection.
Power, popularity or influence each individually can entangle a person in the worldly bondage. As a result, people do not come to their senses unless misery befalls upon them. Death is not the solution to overcome our miseries. A person with passions and self restraint has nothing to worry or fear from. Only through the gradual detachment, one can destroy karmic bondage and attain infinite happiness.
In a town there lived a gentleman and his lovely wife. But he had a sleep disorder and could not sleep at night. So he would do Samayik at night and talk about religion with his wife to pass the night.
One night, four thieves came to rob the house even though the owner was awake. The owner heard the disturbance while he was performing Samayik, and said to himself, “No one can take what is mine, I have proper faith, knowledge, and conduct. So I should not disturb my Samayik by getting angry with the thieves.”
“Furthermore, I am in Samayik, and no worldly thing should bother me. What did I bring with me when I was born ? And what will go with me when I die ? I came and will leave this world empty-handed. Let there be trust in path shown by Jina and may be that will give me the strength to complete this Samayik in a peaceful frame of mind.” Meanwhile, a thief threw out a bundle of stolen goods.
The gentleman uttered loudly, “Namo Arihantanam.” The thieves were startled and recalled hearing something like this previously. While recalling, they got Jatismarangnan (knowledge of previous life), and they discovered that they too, had disturbed their Samayik in the previous life, and hence they lived on stealing. They quickly abhorred themselves and praised the gentleman performing the Samayik.
While thinking on purity of Samayik in their mind they burned up four Ghati (major) Karmas and all four attained Kevalgnan. They came to steal, but there was a sudden change of heart and thus they got bliss. Then, the gentleman disturbingly finished his Samayik and saw the four Kevalis seated on golden lotuses. He thought of the change and began to repent his sins.
If we abhor our mistakes and sins, we can get a pure mental condition. Religious rituals are meaningful, but if we do not observe them properly, they are meaningless. One, who repents for his sins and decides not to repeat them will be born in Devlok. Hence we should praise those with knowledge and avoid committing sins.
There was a chief minister of a King. The King was very much pleased with him. The minister enjoyed the full grace of the King, but the he reflected, “The King’s grace is not bound to be steady. I must have a friend to help me in difficulties.”
So he became friend with one fellow with whom he always dined, bathed, and kept a constant company. After sometime he thought, “I must have two friends.” He made some other fellow his friend but paid him visits only on festival days. Thereafter some third fellow also became his friend, who met him only on rare occasions.
Distinctively all the three were named Nityamitra, Parvamitra and Juharmitra.
Now one day the Minister thought, “I would like to test my friends to know, if they would help me in difficulties.”
He arranged a plot in the following manner. He invited the prince for dinner and imprisoned him underground with his son. He sent away his wife to her father’s place along with his second son. Then he called a most unreliable and noisy servant and told him, “Listen, the prince had precious ornaments. So I killed him by twisting his neck. Now I am afraid of the king and therefore will leave my house. I will conceal myself somewhere. Do not disclose this secret and give a clever reply.” With these instructions the minister left the house for Nityamitra’s place.
Nityamitra saw the Minister approaching with anxieties. He felt something wrong. The Minister said, “Dear friend, I regret, I plead guilty of an offense punishable with death. The king shall certainly hang me. Please protect me.”
When Nityamitra inquired in detail, minister said, “Being allured by the ornaments of the prince I have killed the prince and now I fear the king. Kindly protect me.”
Nityamitra said, “Oh ! My God ! The murder of the prince cannot be concealed. The royal soldiers will shortly arrive and search in every cubbyhole and corner of my house. If you are found here, I am in big trouble. Kindly leave this place secretly without any delay. Resort to some other place.”
The Minister made many sincere requests in vain to allow him a shelter. Nityamitra slammed the doors in his face and did not even wish him “good bye”. He breathed an air of relief on the Minister’s departure.
The Minister realized the selfish nature of this friend and he left for Parvamitra’s place, his second friend. There also he narrated the same account and requested him to afford shelter. Parvamitra said, “I know, it is my duty to help you but I am a man with my family. I have no place to hide you. What condition my family members would be reduced to, if the king is angry with me. Kindly arrange to go to some other place.” Despite many requests Parvamitra did not agree to give shelter and the minister realized him as a selfish person.
Now from here the Minister proceeded to Juharmitra’s place. Seeing his arrival, Juharmitra offered him a cordial welcome and asked for any service he could render. The courtier related the whole incident and requested to afford shelter. Juharmitra said that he was very fortunate to receive him and render services in any capacity. Thereupon, the minister stayed with him.
Now let us see what happened in the mean time. A shallow mind cannot maintain a secret for long. That servant, rather than maintaining the whole affair as a secret, himself went to the king and disclosed the matter in anticipation of some reward. The king was extremely irritated to learn the incident and ordered his soldiers to immediately produce the minister before him.
The soldiers rushed forth and inquired of the whereabouts of the minister. They came across Nityamitra’s place and Nityamitra said “That criminal did come to me for shelter, and I am the last man to afford shelter to a murderer. I think he must have gone to Parvamitra’s place. Please inquire there.”
The soldiers arrived at Parvamitra’s place and he said, “I have not given him shelter. If you doubt, you can search my house.” Somehow the soldiers learned that the minister might be at Juharmitra’s place. They severely scolded Juharmitra and said, “This is not fair on your part. Hand him over to us.”
Juharmitra said, “You are wrong. You can search for him if you desire.” Juharmitra insisted that the minister was not there and after search the soldiers’ doubt was dispelled so they left.
As the minister was not found, the king made a proclamation that a valuable reward would be granted to anyone who gave correct information regarding the minister’s whereabouts.
As the friends were tested for their sincerity, the minister told Juharmitra to respond to the king’s proclamation and give full information as regards to the where about by stating that he was not guilty as the prince was living and could be produced before the king whenever the king so desired.
Juharmitra approached the king. So having listened to Juharmitra’s words, the king ordered to produce before him the prince and the minister. When they were produced, the king was very happy and he amply rewarded Juharmitra. But he asked the minister, “What is all this about ?”
The minister narrated the whole affair with the intended purpose. The king thereupon felt high admiration for the minister’s deep insight. The minister was granted increment in his salary. He continued with Juharmitra’s love and friendship having abandoned Nityamitra and Parvamitra.
Now the story is a fable and can be explained as follows.
The minister is the soul. Nityamitra is our physical body having daily contact with us. Parvamitra is like our friends and relatives. Juharmitra is our occasional performance of religious merits. When death arrives the physical body leaves us immediately having severed all connections. Our friends and relatives follow us to some distance up to funeral home, shed a few tears and then soon return; while occasionally performed religious merits do not leave us even in the other world and grant us peace and happiness in difficulties. Therefore, leave aside attachment for the selfish body and entertain love for religious merits as compared with Juharmitra.
There is something more valuable than body and that is our soul. Body is burnt to ashes after death. The body which was fed and pampered by us with palatable meals neglecting even religious merits has to meet with this fate ! Thus soul is the most valuable entity in this world. Any amount of diamonds cannot be equivalent to the value of soul. The fact is, we have not realized the true value of soul, otherwise we could not have been reduced to this condition. So wake up and nurture the uplift of the soul and not the body
A trader from Rajasthan left in the morning to see his father-in-law, who lived five miles away from his town. As he walked about halfway, the sun was scorchingly hot above the head and the sand under the feet grew red hot. In this desert there were no trees except for small plants like Ankada and Kerada. The trader was worried as to how he should proceed further.
In the meanwhile, he saw a cart coming closer. Since he was so much tired, he asked, “Would you mind giving me a ride ?” The Jat (cart-driver) replied, “Of course, but what would you pay ?” The trader said, “What do you wish ?” The Jat said, “Some nice supper.” The trader agreed. The Jat explained that his supper would have Jaggery sauce.
The Jaggery sauce is a poor man’s dish and trader knew that as a son-in-law he would be respected and offered sweets. Therefore, the trader said, he would offer him something still better than Jaggery sauce. But Jat insisted on Jaggery sauce as to his belief there could be nothing better than that. Anyhow the trader realized the critical time and he agreed.
Both arrived at the destination and were comforted with showers, flowers and new clothes. But the Jat was very uneasy. He was anxious for Jaggery sauce but kept himself silent. The best of the dishes with rich eatables were served but Jaggery sauce was missing. The trader made signs to Jat to proceed with eating but Jat inquired for Jaggery sauce. The trader told him to wait but Jat was much irritated and was about to attack the trader as he had infringed the condition agreed upon. The trader knew well that Jat was unaware of the delicious taste of sweets and that was why he was growing so obstinate for Jaggery sauce. He at once caught the Jat by the neck and thrust a piece of sweet into his mouth. No sooner did the tongue touch the sweets than he started relishing the sweets and he at once finished everything in the dish. He even went for second and third servings. Now that Jat was very happy with the trader he offered his cart for service whenever he required.
Now the worldly pleasures are like Jaggery sauce and the spiritual joys are like sweets. If some preceptor procures spiritual pleasure for any man then the man would turn his back for ever from worldly pleasures which are responsible for self-degradation. It is a pity that we do not cherish for the objects which we ought to cherish. We cherish for palatable eatables, rich dresses, pretty buildings, and creating ties. We ought to cherish for knowledge, holy insight and righteousness.
The inherent nature of a man can be rectified and here is a glaring example worth narration.
Vastupal and Tejpal were not generous hearted by nature. Once they proceeded to pilgrimage but they were worried about the treasures at home. “Who would guard it ?” They decided to take the treasure along with them. Everywhere on the pilgrimage, at the worship place, or at a temple they kept the treasure by their side and constantly kept a watchful eye on it. All the while, at day and at night while observing any daily affair their minds could not afford to lose sight of the treasure.
Their mother was a righteous lady. She could not tolerate this. She said, “Dear sons, is it proper to worry for this wealth even when you are on pilgrimage ? You are here for achieving religious merits. You are aggravating attachment and passion for the wealth on the contrary.”
The sons were modest, so under the instruction of the mother they went to a desolate place to bury the wealth underground. While digging they came across one more treasure of golden coins filled to the brim. They carried both the treasures to the mother. On hearing the incident she advised, “You should also abandon your treasure as it is done by someone.” They realized the advice and they spent all the in the charities. This incident implies that certain circumstances change man’s evil nature.
Under certain circumstances, a person’s inherent nature can change. A miser person could become generous hearted over the time as a result of certain instances. It is, therefore, wrong to think that our nature can never change.
There was a religious minded merchant. He had a son impudent and mischievous by nature. He hardly knew anything about the religion. He never visited temples nor monasteries nor listened to the words of wisdom preached by his parents.
Once a saint visited his town. Many people assembled around the saint to listen to his sermons. The merchant also went there along with his son. When all left the place the merchant said, “Oh great one, preach to my son, so that we will secure his welfare. He doesn’t try to follow any of our advice.”
The saint preached to the boy and insisted that the boy take up a vow. The impudent boy said, “I can’t take any serious vow but I can take a vow that I would eat my food only after I see potter’s bald head.”
The saint said, “Well, this is very good. But maintain your vow properly.”
The potter sat regularly at some usual place to make the clay-pots. His head could be seen from the merchant’s house when he raised it a little. The vow was easy to maintain and the saint left the town.
Merchant’s son ate food only after seeing the potter’s bald head. One day he did not see the potter. He went to the potter’s house and asked his wife, “Where is the potter ?” The Potteress said, “Potter left early for digging out clay and has not returned. I am also waiting for him. He should soon return.”
The Merchant’s son was very hungry and could not wait for the potter. He left the village in haste and walked to the place where the potter dug his clay.
The potter while digging found a coffer full of golden coins. He was overjoyed to find this sudden gain of wealth to remove his poverty. He covered the coffer with clay and continued digging further to find more such coffers. He was perspiring and he laid his turban aside.
Now the merchant’s son approached the spot to have a glimpse of the potter’s bald head from a distance. He was glad and he cried, “I saw it, I saw it.”
Hearing these words, the potter suspected that the merchant’s son had spied the coffer full of gold. With some nervousness and to avoid all troubles on the spot he called aloud, “Sir, come here, and let us share what you saw.”
Merchant’s son, a shrewd business man realized the situation at once and said, “Potter, we cannot keep all of it. To avoid troubles we should give something to the state officer.”
The potter told him to be quiet. He told him not to worry about anyone else and just to share between themselves. Both of them became wealthy.
The merchant’s son thought, “I accepted a small vow merely as a joke and I am rewarded. Certainly great rewards can be reaped by accepting bigger vows with proper understanding. I will certainly take bigger vows from the saint if he comes back.”
After sometime the saint moving from place to place came back to his town. The merchant’s son narrated the entire incident to the saint. He asked the saint to give him bigger vows. Then the saint said, “The most excellent are the five great vows. By observing these great vows unflinchingly the man acquires eternal happiness.”
The merchant’s son accepted five great vows and having observed them unflinchingly attained godly state in the twelfth heaven.
Taking and keeping vows help a person strengthen his will power. Such vows also bring discipline in one’s life. If a person observes the five great vows of Jainism, one can acquire eternal or everlasting happiness.
One day, a monk came to Gautamswami and asked him, “Oh, Swami, how can you keep calm amongst your enemies, how then can you conquer them ?” Gautamswami sweetly replied, “First I win one enemy, then I conquer four. After that, I conquer ten enemies, the rest of the enemies disappear after seeing this.”
The puzzled monk then inquired on who these enemies were. Gautamswami said, “The most terrible enemy is our own ego. If you win that, you will win four more: Anger, Deceit, Pride, and Greed. After that, you will be able to win over all the good and bad things associated with the five senses, that is the temptations relating to good or bad hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. When these ten are conquered, the other enemies cannot stay and are forced to disappear.”
The monk asked a final question, “There is a poisonous plant in one’s own heart. It grows and also bears fruit. How can you destroy this plant ?” “Well, you must root it out so it does not bear fruit,” answered Gautamswami. This plant is called ‘DESIRE.’ Desire for material comfort and desire for worldly pleasure have to go to get ultimate bliss.