05 July 2009

A DOCTOR - MONEY DOES NOT EQUAL HAPPINESS

There, once lived a boy named Ajit who worked very hard during his student life. He was the smartest student in the school and had big dreams of becoming a doctor. Finally his dream came true and he became a very fine doctor. He lived in a big city in a big house where he established a huge practice.
One day, an old woman came to him from a nearby village. She was very poor. She asked him, “Doctor, please help my son. He has a very high fever and has been sick for a few days.” The doctor said, “I am sorry, but I must have the fees first and then I will help you,” in a very mean manner. The lady promised to work really hard and then pay him back later but the stubborn doctor refused. The old woman started to cry and told him that a son is always very important to the parents and that money is not the only thing in life. Still, the doctor would not listen. The woman left with her son and went home.
A few days later, the doctor was cleaning his gun which he kept for the protection of his family. His son was playing nearby him. Suddenly, the cloth he was cleaning the gun with, got stuck in the trigger and the gun went off striking the boy in the head. He rushed his son to the hospital. A team of doctors tried feverishly to save the boy’s life but the child died on the operating table. Dr. Ajit was stricken by grief.
He knew that he had a lot of money. The hospital had fine doctors and was well-equipped. He had all these facilities but still could not save the life of his son. The doctor realized that neither skill nor money could help him. He felt very helpless and full of remorse.
He then remembered the incident of the old lady who had pleaded him to help her son. He then realized how wrong he had been to turn her away just because she could not pay him the fees. He understood the feelings of the young boy’s mother. It dawned upon him that his uppermost duty was to care for human lives without any regard for money. His mission in life was to serve mankind.
This unfortunate incident had a profound impact on Dr. Ajit’s life. He started to go to remote villages and caring for the poor and needy. He started a charitable hospital where the poor and rich could all be served without discrimination.
The instinct to amass wealth is very strong in all humans. Jainism teaches us to not be greedy because this passion is a big obstacle to salvation. The more one has, the more one wants. Greed really does make monsters out of us.
A poor man is unhappy because he does not have enough to live properly. A wealthy man is sad because he is not satisfied with what he has. This is the reason why monks and saints first renounce all possessions in their pursuit of salvation. Because of our good Karmas, which include intelligence, skill, and hard work, we should share it with the poor and needy.

DHARMAKUMAR

There was a city named Kamalpur. There reigned a king named Sahasraksa. One day, as the king was seated in the court, there came an astrologer who uttered benediction and resumed a seat. The king said, “Astrologer ! If it pleases you, do enlighten us about what is going to happen in the near future.”
The astrologer remained silent. When the king repeated his request again, he said, “Your Majesty ! A severe famine is about to break out, which is to last for about twelve years. This will strain the administration and wipe out the people.”
The king was very much perturbed. He said, “We should take remedial measures immediately.”
He discussed the matter with his entire cabinet and arrived at the decision to empty the treasury to fill up the granaries. The work started at once. Many who could afford it, however, fled the country and moved elsewhere, some even across the sea.
It was the month of Ashadha. A patch of cloud was visible in the sky. The king was happy. This will give us the much-needed water, he thought. It is a very auspicious omen.
And so it was. The cloud soon spread all over the sky. It gave a good shower, and the fields had enough water. There was a bumper crop. People were relieved. The famine had been averted, and the astrologer proved wrong.
One day, the keeper of the king’s parks came with the following message: “Muni Yugandhar has camped for his monsoon stay in a park. He will remain without food for all these months. By dint of silence, meditation, and Kayotsarga, he has already acquired the Kevalgnan.”
The king duly rewarded the keeper for this message and started with his people to welcome the Muni and pay him obeisance and homage. After the king had met the Muni and heard his holy words, he made the following submission: “Bhante ! How did it so happen that the astrologer’s words proved untrue ?”
The Muni responded, “Oh king ! The famine was really unavoidable due to the influence of the stars. But the reason it has been averted was not clear to the astrologer.”
The king: “Bhante ! I am eager to know the reason, if possible.”
“In this land of Bharat, there is a city named Purimatala. There lived a rich young man who suddenly became ill due to the coming up of some inauspicious Karmas. No amount of substantial food intake would cure him, and his ailment was worsening daily.
One day, in the presence of his spiritual master, he gave up all rich food, sweets, and milk products and resolved to live on a coarse diet and physical exercise to control the stomach. He also courted a celibate life. Very soon, he recovered and was in the very best of health. This helped him even to take greater care of his business and add to his wealth. But he did not change the course of his life nor deviate from the vow about food and sex.
Once, there was a severe famine in the land, and all his wealth was spent to help the people. Now, on completion of that life, he was born as a Dev and has now been reborn as the son of Shravak Subuddhi. Because of the birth of this pious soul in your kingdom, Oh king, even the inevitable has been averted.”
The king took leave of the Muni and proceeded straight to Subuddhi’s house. He saw the child, who was the embodiment of divinity. He blessed him from the core of his heart and named him Dharmakumar.
Dharmakumar grew up to be a worthy lad. He was married in a respectable family. He had a happy life, and in his old age, he joined the holy order of the Munis. There, in the end, he attained Kevalgnan.

DHISTA

Prince Sura lived in the city of Dhara. His wife, Chatura, was a shrew with a sharp tongue. Sura was very sorry for her behavior. He tried his best to improve her, but there was no fruitful outcome. So he thought of taking another wife and was on the lookout for a suitable bride.
One day, he reached the house of an old woman in the city of Avanti. She had a beautiful daughter named Sundari. When Sura made the proposal to marry her, the woman said, “I shall give my daughter to one who agrees to look after me. This daughter is my only support.”
Sura agreed, got married, and brought the new wife home. Chatura became furious to know this, but she was helpless, so now she applied the only instrument at her disposal. She would torture the co-wife, often quarrel with her and use harsh words. Soon Sundari became disgusted.
The prince then housed them in separate buildings, but still there could be no peace. Chatura would often come to Sundari’s house to quarrel with her, to beat her, to bite her with her teeth, and to scratch her skin with her nails. The situation was out of control.
Sura now housed Sundari at a distance of 20 miles. The mother lived with her, Sura often visiting.
One day, as Sura was about to go to her house, Chatura came to know of it. She lauded the idea in so many words and gave her husband some Modaka (sweetmeat) to be eaten on the way. When Sura reached the bank of a river, he sat down to rest and ate the Modaka. This was an enchanted stuff, and no sooner had he taken it than he changed into a dog.
Now, instead of proceeding to Sundari, the dog returned to Chatura. She tied the dog and beat him half dead. “Will you go again to Sundari ?” She said in anger. Then she restored the dog to human form. It took Sura a whole month to recover.
But he could not check the temptation of visiting Sundari for long, nor could he keep his plan a secret, so that this time Chatura gave him another sweet named Karamba to be eaten on the way. As previously, Sura reached the bank of the river and was about to eat the sweet when a hermit with matted hair came there and sought the whole of it. Now, no sooner had the hermit taken it than he turned into an ass, and the ass took the road to Chatura’s house, Sura following from behind.
As the ass reached Chatura’s house, she tied it fast and showered all her passion on its back. The animal brayed bitterly, but Chatura would take no respite until it was half dead. Then the ass was released and turned into a human being. And lo behold ! It was a hermit with matted hair. Chatura was terrified on the realization of what she had done to a holy man. She fell at his feet and begged sincerely to be forgiven. These are the only words the hermit uttered while departing: “Correct is the saying, whosoever eats Karamba undergoes pain.”
Fear always haunts a sinful soul. Chatura was afraid that whatever her machination, her husband could not love her. This anguish always tortured her. So she hatched a plan at once to get rid of her husband. She arranged a sacrifice to propitiate the deity, and she was successful. As she dropped her offerings into the fire, a snake came out and said, “What can I do for you, Madam ? I am pleased with your propitiation and I am at your service.”
Chatura was happy. She said, “My husband goes to another woman. I cannot bear this. So you deprive him of his life.” The snake said, “I shall do this as you desire, but it will take a little time. I promise you that at the end of six months, your husband will be a dead man.” Then the snake departed.
Sura witnessed the whole thing from a distance and thought, how mean is this woman’s conduct; not even the Brahma can fathom its depth.
After all this, he had no courage to return home, and he went to Sundari’s residence, where he started living from that day, and decided not to see Chatura anymore.
Sundari tried her best to make him happy through conversation, dance, and music, but Sura remained indifferent all the time. If someone is unhappy in the family, even other family members can’t be happy. So one day, Sura’s mother-in-law said, “My son ! What’s bothering you ?”
“Mother ! What’s the use of stating it when it’s beyond cure ?” “But, my son, sometimes the affection of the near-and-dear ones may hit upon something that may help. What’s the harm in your telling me ? Maybe when the disease is diagnosed, a remedy may come up.”
Still Sura wanted to suppress, but in the face of an overwhelming affection, he could not. He gave a full account and said, “On the completion of six months from that fateful day, I will die.”
“Don’t you worry about it. You leave it to me, and I shall set it right. Be happy from now. My own ward’s happiness is linked up with you.”
Sura felt somewhat relieved but could not be fully assured. Chatura’s words would often ring into his ears, and he could find no rest.
Sundari and her mother painted two peacocks on the wall outside. They were very lifelike. The two ladies worshipped them daily. Thus six months passed, and the fateful day arrived when Sura was to die of a snakebite. he was restless, but the two ladies gave him courage, and Sundari said, “You will see our power, my dear. If there’s some power on earth that kills, there’s a greater power that saves.”
The ladies now cleaned a spot in the room and purified it. Then they placed a cushion at the center, and on it sat the prince. The two ladies now, with enchanted rice in their hands, looked around for the snake. Soon their eyes detected one, and at once they hurled their rice at the peacocks. What a surprise !
They were no longer a coat of paint, but one of them actually descended from the wall, picked up the snake, and flew away in the sky. Sura witnessed all this speechlessly. He saw the infallible power of the enchanted words. He felt as if he had acquired a fresh life.
Chatura’s plan was thus upset. She got a report from a traveler that Sura was hail and hearty, living happily and making charities daily. She now turned herself into a white cat and reached Sundari’s house. When the mother and the daughter saw the cat in their house and read into its intentions, they themselves became two black cats and chased the white one. But the white one jumped on both, tearing each with sharp claws. Even the combined strength of the two was no match for the strength of the white cat. After scratching them severely, the white cat returned home.
When Sura asked all about it, the ladies said, “The cat was none other than your first wife, who had come to chastise us. But as it commanded a greater power, it overpowered us both and escaped unhurt.”
Sura was again depressed and wanted now to get rid of all the three ladies. Hardly a month had passed when the white cat appeared again and the same scene repeated, with similar outcome. After the encounter was over, Sundari came to her husband and said, “My dear ! When the white cat comes next time, you will have to help us. When we shall be fighting, you only say, “Black cats, kill the white cat.” At once our power will increase and we shall throw it on the ground.”
This time the white cat came earlier. It had gained confidence by her previous successes. Now, as soon as the fight started, Sura came up and said, “Black cats ! Kill the white cat.”
At once their power increased tremendously and the white cat was down rolling on the ground beneath them, and the black cats pressed so hard at its neck that it was about to die. Now, Sura thought, if my words can give strength to the black cats, similar words may give strength to the white one, and I may be rid of all the three. Let me try. And he said aloud, “White cat ! Kill the black cats.” And the black cats soon lay dead. Even the white cat didn’t live long thereafter.
When all the three were thus dead and gone, Sura felt relieved. He performed the last rites for all the three and came straight to his brother’s house where he was received by his sister-in-law. Destiny is so powerful that it pursues a man wherever he may go.
One day, as Sura was at his brother’s house, a man came from the farm to announce the death of a bull while plowing the land. He said that if it was not immediately replaced by a new bull, the work of cultivation would suffer. As soon as his sister-in-law heard this, she at once showered some powder on Sura’s head, which at once turned him into a bull. It was then led to the farm and yoked to the plow.
Poor Sura ! What a miserable life started for him ! Days passed. One day, the hook in his nose broke and fell down. This at once dispelled the charm, and Sura regained his human form. At once he slipped away from the farm.
On the highway, he met his brother who expressed a deep concern at the severe wounds on his body and requested him to accompany him home. Declining the offer, Sura said, “My brother ! Let your home be sweet to you. My sister-in-law is a devil incarnate. She turned me into a bull and yoked me at the plough. The wounds you see have been derived therefrom. Now I shall go to your home only when I desire to be changed into a bull. Until then let me keep far from your home. For me, even life in the forest is more covetable. It seems that all homes are haunted by the devil.”
After saying that, Sura started walking toward the forest, and soon he was in the very depth of it. There he saw six men attired in costly robes with a load of grass on each head. He was surprized. When he made inquiry, the men said, “Here lives an old lady in the forest, who is crippled in body, but is the very embodiment of kindness. At her bid, we take these bundles of grass for her, and in exchange, we are given rich and fresh robes. This has made our life happy.” Sura said, “My dear friends ! I want to meet the lady. Will you be good enough to introduce me to her ?”
They agreed. Sura now gathered a load of grass and started walking with them. When they reached the lady, she inquired about the stranger. The men said, “Madam ! We met him in the forest. We have it from him that his name is Dhista. He desires to join with us in supplying you grass. May we hope that you will kindly accept him ?” The lady looked very much pleased. She patted on Dhista’s back and said, “My son ! You are very weak. You stay with us and have a nice time.”
Dhista said, “Mother ! I am very unfortunate. In rolling through a hard life, I have reached here. Now, I want to spend the rest of my life at your feet.” The lady cast a very affectionate glance at him, at which Dhista felt obliged. He took a bath, wore fresh clothes, and ate delicious dishes.
A mood of inquiry invariably unlocks fresh avenues of knowledge. Dhista felt inquisitive as to what the lady did with such a huge quantity of grass. At night, he lay with his companions but did not sleep. At midnight, the lady got up and checked everybody. She made sure that everybody was fast asleep. Then, with the help of chanted words, she changed herself into a mare, ate the whole stock of grass, and thereafter became a beautiful damsel. Dhista followed her in disguise keeping certain distance. She now reached a cave where she was received by a few other female spirits, who asked, “What offer have you prepared for us ?”
She answered, “Have patience. I have gathered seven men for you, six of whom are fat and plump. Only the seventh man is lean and weak. He is a recent arrival. However, I have started feeding him well, and I have no doubt that he will put on sufficient flesh by the fourteenth day (of the fortnight). He is also meant for you.”
The devils were highly pleased, but Dhista was alarmed at death following him so closely on his heels. He had no doubt that this lady, herself a devil, would put him to death at the earliest available opportunity.
In the morning, as usual, they all started for cutting grass. On the way, as Dhista narrated his night’s experience, all the six protested, “We have not detected any evil intention in the woman’s behavior so far.”
Dhista replied, “My dear friends ! A comfortable life has blinded you, but you won’t escape from her trap, I assure you. I am not going to stay here even for a moment.” They said, “Stay for a day more, and let us make sure of what you say. If your apprehension proves true, we shall go with you.”
Dhista agreed. The day passed as usual. At night, all the seven did not sleep, and, following the lady incognito, they had a corroboration of what Dhista had said. They now sat thinking about a suitable plan. Dhista suggested that such an evil character must not be allowed to live, and since she was too powerful for any one of them, they must pull up their whole strength together and put her to death.
There was unanimity among all the seven, and they decided to take the action at once. Two men held the woman by her legs, two held her head fast, and one of them beat her so severely with a club that the poor witch breathed her last.
Now there was nothing to be afraid of, and so the seven friends started from there. Passing through a forest, they reached the bank of the Sipra, and therefrom, a fine city on its bank. But to their surprise, they found it wholly deserted. They entered into it and reached at last the palace gate, where sat an old woman. The woman at once received them and said, “Good fellows ! Here are seven beautiful damsels for you. Please accept them.”
Dhista said, “But, mother, tell us first who they are, and where do they come from “ The whole city is deserted, and the presence of seven damsels in such a lonely place causes us both surprise and suspicion.”
The woman responded, “My good fellows ! These are Vidyadhar girls. One day, their father had inquired of an astrologer about their prospective husbands. The astrologer suggested that the girls should be entrusted to me and that the husbands would come without seeking. So I am here. You now relieve me of my charge by accepting the girls.”
Continued the woman, “Here you have everything that makes life pleasant; the finest cushions, dressing rooms and bed chambers, and the most beautiful damsels. Enjoy life in their company. There are seven fine steeds in the stable; enjoy a ride on their back in any direction save the East. I bid you strictly not to go in the Eastern direction even by mistake.”
The offer seemed attractive, and the seven agreed. It was a pleasant life for them in the company of the Vidyadhar girls. Sometimes they would be on the swings dangling in the air, sometimes in the garden plucking beautiful flowers, and sometimes in the lake enjoying a swimming in the company of the girls.
One day the seven got together to consider the taboo imposed on their movement in the Eastern direction, and they decided to go there to unfold the mystery behind it. They started on horseback, all the seven together. Hardly had they gone some distance when they saw piles of human bones as far as the eyes could reach. They now looked at each other.
Just at that moment, the hoof of one of the horses struck against a skull, and the skull at once laughed aloud and said, “I too once enjoyed the same horses and the same girls.”
Everybody was afraid and surprised. But Dhista gathered courage and said, “Who are these horses, and who are these girls ? Who was the woman we met at the palace gate, and how is this place so much infested with human bones ?”
The skull responded, “This shameless witch is a notorious devil. She has killed us all. If you have love for your life, run away at once.”
At these words, all the seven got so much terrified that they ran at once. Without so much as turning their faces even once, all the seven were on their horses until the sun was high up in the middle of the sky.
Finding that the men had not come back, the seven girls at once reported to the guardian woman. She at once picked up her enchanted drum and reached the top of the mansion. Therefrom she could detect at a great distance all the seven men fleeing. She started beating on the drum to turn the horses, and she was readily effective. The seven tried to jump down from their horses but could not. They now sat helpless on their horses and the horses started back to the palace. As the woman recalled them near her and thundered, “Fools ! Why did you try to flee from my trap ? Don’t ever try it again !”
Saying that, she displayed her long, bloody tongue, and with an unsheathed sword in her hand, she trampled Dhista beneath her heels and said, “Confess, you fool ! Where were you going on horseback ? These are your last moments on the earth. Remember your creator.”
For a moment, Dhista felt nervous, but soon he gathered courage and said, “Old devil ! Tell me first, who cut your nose ?”
The question pleased the lady, who released him at once and said, “Lucky man ! Let me give you an account. In the land of Bharat, there is a city named Manorama, where reigned King Manorath. His queen, Manimala, gave birth to seven sons and one daughter. I am that daughter.
When I reached the threshold of youth, I developed a test for spells and enchantments and soon mastered all the arts, leading to hypnotism, mesmerism, slaughter, maddening, demon-arts, moving to heaven, hiding in the nether world, attracting planets, etc. I also acquired the art of making alive a corpse.
With these special powers, I reached one day the court of Indra, the king of gods, where I met many heavenly stage-players, and learnt from them the art of dramatics. This soon brought me a chance to dance at Indra’s court, and I pleased him by my performance. When he asked me for a boon, what else could I ask for but seek Indra as my husband ? And to this he kindly agreed. Henceforth I became a regular visitor to heaven and had a very nice time there.”
The lady further continued her account: “You don’t know, my dear fellow, how life at times takes a major turn without giving any notice. One day, my gardener, whom I liked, desired to go to heaven with me and see the stage performance there with his own eyes. I couldn’t refuse him. I turned him into a black bee who stuck at my petticoat, and with him thus I reached heaven. The performance started and I was on the stage, but I could not fully exert myself because of the load on my petticoat, and my dance was thus spoiled. This infuriated Indra, who cursed me not to go to heaven anymore but to live on the earth and suffer for my error. At that time, he cut my nose.
I was perplexed and couldn’t conceive for a moment that I could be in a situation like that. I fell at Indra’s feet begging pitifully to be forgiven, and humbly sought about the time of my deliverance. At this, Indra took pity on me and prescribed human flesh for my daily intake and said, “The day a human would ask you woman, who cut your nose that day you will attain deliverance.”
So I descended on this city, and with the help of these girls and horses, I deceived all the residents here and lived on their flesh. I didn’t even spare the strangers visiting the city. But no one so far did dare to ask me the question but you did today. No one had ever thought of it. You did a very right thing, and by dint of it, you are my deliverer. I am grateful to you. I now very gladly bestow on you the use of these girls, the horses, and the city.”
Dhista said, “Thank you, madam, for the kind offer, but tell me what shall I do with a deserted city ?”
The woman said, “Sir ! With my arts, if I know how to kill, I also know how to make dead men alive. The kingdom I offer you can’t be a desert.” The lady now applied her art, and the city was back to life again.
She handed over the administration to Dhista and disappeared, never to be seen again. Dhista took over the reign of the highest office and gave very high positions in the state to his companions.
One day, an Acharya came to that city. He gave his sermons, after which king Dhista expressed his inquisitiveness about the devils traps that were so often laid in the course of his life. The Acharya said, “Oh king ! In your previous birth, you were a Brahmin named Haridatt in the city of Pratisthanpur. The Brahmin had six servants. His daily hobby was to attract spirits and tease them, in which the six servants were his accomplices. Fortunately, a Muni came to that city, whose words influenced all the seven and gave them a chance to acquire pious Karmas. Now you see, you seven are brought together here, and since in your previous births you so much teased and troubled the spirits, they paid you back in your own coins in this life.”
These words restored the previous life’s memory to Dhista, who could find a corroboration of the Muni’s words. This gave a mighty turn to the course of his life, which, needless to add, he made a worthy living, and at death, attained a higher stage.

DHARMABUDDHI AND PAPBUDDHI

Two men named Dharmabuddhi (good thinking) and Papbuddhi (sinful thinking) lived in a city. They helped each other and so developed a close friendship.
One day both the friends thought, “We should earn more. We should undertake some business venture abroad. No one could make a fortune unless one travels abroad.” With this thought they left for a foreign country and earned a large fortune and then they decided to return home.
When they were close to their home town, Papbuddhi entertained an evil thought in his mind, “If, by some means, I deprive this fellow of his wealth, I would increase my wealth immensely.” He said to his friend, “Brother, with great difficulty we have earned this fortune, if we take it home, our relatives will demand to share with them and we shall have to part with our wealth. Therefore, let us hide a major portion of this wealth under this tree and carry home only what we presently need. We can always come here and dig out as we need it later on.”
Dharmabuddhi was simple-minded and innocent. He agreed to his friend’s proposal and both of them buried a major portion of their wealth underground near the roots of this tree.
After a while, Papbuddhi got worried about this wealth thinking perhaps, his friend might dig out and take away that wealth. A sinful man’s mind is always under various doubts. One night, he went to that hideout place, dug out all the wealth and filled up the pit as before.
After a few days Dharmabuddhi, feeling a need for the money went to the hideout along with Papbuddhi. On digging, nothing was found. Papbuddhi striking his head against a stone cried and said, “I am ruined. Now what shall I do ? I had all my possessions here. And you came here and stole all my wealth. Return to me my share or else I shall go to the court for justice.”
Dharmabuddhi said: “Oh my friend ! What are you saying ? I would never steal but I feel you may have stolen my wealth. Return my share or else I shall drag you to the court.” But Papbuddhi did not give up. On the contrary, he began to scold Dharmabuddhi. Thus quarreling, both of them approached the judge in the court. The judge, after, hearing both the parties said, “I shall have to rely on mystical evidence in this matter.”
Papbuddhi said: “This is not a proper form of justice. Documentary evidence is the most reliable and then follows oral evidence. In the absence of these two forms of evidences only, the mystical is to be resorted to. In our matter Sylvan God is my witness.” On hearing this plea the judge asked them to come the next morning.
Papbuddhi narrated the entire account to his father at home and he confessed that he did steal the wealth. He also added that with the help of his oral evidence he would succeed in swallowing the whole amount of wealth. His father inquired, “How is it possible ?”
Papbuddhi said, “In that region there is a Khijada tree with a cavity inside the trunk where you could hide. When I arrive there along with the judge, you will be asked by me, “Oh, Sylvan God, you stand as our witness. State, therefore, who could be the thief ?” Then you should say “Indeed, Dharmabuddhi is the thief.”
The father was not so wicked as the son. He said: “This is not proper. I feel this will not lead to any good.” But Papbuddhi compelled his father and added: “If you don’t act so, we shall be doomed. Don’t find fault with me when consequences follow.” A sinful man induces others to commit sin and leads them to calamity.
In the absence of any other alternative the father had to follow the son’s wishes and he lay himself concealed in the cavity of the said tree.
In the morning Dharmabuddhi and Papbuddhi arrived there along with the judge and other officers. The words from the tree resounded meaning that Dharmabuddhi was a thief. The officers were surprised and began to reflect as to what sort of punishment should be inflicted to the culprit.
Here, Dharmabuddhi was immensely embarrassed to find this strange development. He was deeply pained to find himself convicted as a thief considering he was innocent.
Suddenly an idea flashed in his mind. He piled grass round the trunk of the tree from where the voice came and set it on fire. The tree caught fire in no time. A man, partially burned, came out of a tree and he was screaming. The judge was surprised. He asked him, “Who are you ?” and ordered him to tell the truth.
The man said with faltering words: “My wicked son degraded me to this plight.” With these words he fell on the ground and died. The judge was convinced that this was the plan of Papbuddhi to prove Dharmabuddhi as a culprit.
Papbuddhi confessed that he compelled his father to stay in the cavity of the tree and made him utter the words: “Dharmabuddhi is a thief.” So they found Papbuddhi guilty of the theft. They searched his house and found the wealth and gave all of it to Dharmabuddhi. Papbuddhi was punished for the offenses of breach of trust, false representation, cheating and producing false witness.

MORAL LESSON: See what consequences follow when one tries to obtain wealth by sins, injustice or unrighteousness. Papbuddhi lost his wealth, and also got punished. His father died of burn to go along with his culprit son. Remember greediness is a curse.

DHANASAR

A merchant named Dhanasar used to live in Mathura. He was the owner of a vast fortune of 620 million gold coins, but he was extremely stingy and would not even give as much as a copper or a nickel. He was well known for his wealth as well as stinginess.
Money can be acquired by both honest and dishonest means. Money honestly earned does not become a source of trouble, but not so for the money earned through dishonest means. Besides, the latter does not last as much as money honestly earned.
One day, Dhanasar went to take stock of the treasure kept underground, but to his great shock, he found it all changed into charcoal with reptiles crawling through it. As he was brooding over this great loss, there came the news of the loss of one of his ships loaded with cargo on the high seas. Then followed a third shock about a highway robbery in which a convoy of his carrying precious merchandise had been looted. These made him feel so helpless and wretched that he saw darkness all around. Holding his forehead between his palms, he was bewailing for his ill-luck.
When the unfavorable Karma is prevailing, whatever a man may do will inevitable go against him. Dhanasar borrowed one million gold coins from a relative and went abroad to do business. But as ill-luck would have it, there was a shipwreck, and all his gold went into the sea. He could save himself with difficulty by catching a floating log and swimming ashore.
He spent a day on the seashore, and on the next day he moved to a nearby park. There he saw a Muni under the shade of a mango tree giving a sermon to assembled people. Dhanasar also sat down to listen. When the sermon was over, the merchant came near the Muni, paid him homage and obeisance, and said, “Oh Muni ! For what Karma did I acquire so much wealth, and for what Karma did I lose it all ?”
The Muni said, “Oh merchant ! All these things happen as per Karma, which is powerful. In Dhatakikhand, there was a city named Ambika. Two brothers lived there. The elder brother was always generous helping the needy, but the younger brother was miserly and did not like the charities made by his elder brother. When he saw him making charities, he would even lose his temper.
Such a situation continued for some time, and then the younger brother could tolerate it no longer and separated. But even after this, the elder brother’s wealth did not decrease but rather increased. So the younger brother lodged a complaint with the king and induced him to take custody of his brother’s property and wealth. The elder brother was deeply wounded at this, and he renounced the world. After his death, by virtue of his good deeds, he became a Dev in heaven.
The younger brother was now bitterly criticized by the people, and he could no longer remain in the society. So he joined the order of some heretics, and on completion of his life was born as an Asurkumar in hell. Having completed his life there, he is reborn as you. In your previous life, you disapproved of gifts and charities, and so you are still a miser. You deprived your brother of his rightful wealth, and so you are deprived now. And, well, your elder brother, having spent his life in Saudharmalok, was born as a merchant in Tamralipti. He earned much wealth and gave up all of it to join the order of monks. He is the person now speaking to you.”
Dhanasar was sorry and yet was amazed to hear this revealing account. He fell at the feet of his elder brother, the Muni, and begged to be forgiven. He took a vow not to indulge in sinful acts any longer and to donate three-fourths of his earning, retaining for personal use only a quarter. This had an instantaneous effect. By the mercy of a Dev, all his wealth and affluence that had been lost were restored.
Henceforth, Dhanasar became a devout Shravak who regularly spent his wealth on seven worthy items: Jain abodes, Jain idols, Jain literature, Jain Munis, Jain nuns, Jain Shravaks, and Jain Shravikas. This was a real turning point in his life, and the rest of it was worthily lived.

DHANNA AND SHALIBHADRA

Pratishthanpur was a city on the coast. There lived a trader named Dhanasar. By his wife Shilavati he had four sons named Dhandatt, Dhandev, Dhanchand and Dhanyakumar. The first three were selfish and unintelligent, while Dhanyakumar who was fondly called Dhanna was smart, bright, intelligent and attractive. Dhanasar loved him very much. The other three were therefore feeling jealous of the younger brother. Dhanna was lucky too; whatever venture he undertook, turned out to be successful.
Once a ship came to Pratishthanpur with lot of merchandise. The owner was in urgent need of selling the merchandise. He therefore sent a message to his regular customer. As it was however the time of that customer’s lunch and afternoon nap, he deferred it for the next day to go to the port.
Dhanna happened to go to the port and saw that the merchandise was available at low price. He therefore instantly contracted to buy it. When the regular trader went to the ship the next day, he was disappointed to learn that the merchandise was already sold. He needed it any way. He had therefore to buy the same from Dhanna who could make fancy profit from the transaction. Dhanna bought valuable jewelry from that profit and presented to his sisters-in-law, who were very pleased with the young brother-in-law.
On another occasion, he saw shining sand outside some premises. He could make out that it was Tejanturi and was very valuable for certain purposes. The original trader who had bought it, had died and his sons were not aware of the use of sand. They had therefore dumped it outside. Dhanna asked them whether they would like to sell it. They replied that it was of no use to them and he was at liberty to pick it up. Dhanna did accordingly and stored it in the warehouse. His brothers considered this act of Dhanna as foolish and were repeatedly telling Dhanasar to throw it away.
Once however a trader came to Pratishthanpur in search of Tejanturi. As he could not find it anywhere, he requested the king to help him in getting it. Dhanna was a friend of the prince. When Dhanna heard from him that some trader was looking for Tejanturi, he offered to supply it. The trader willingly paid fancy price for the sand and Dhanna became a wealthy man. He again bought fancy gifts for every one in the family. His father was pleased and very much appreciated the insight of Dhanna. But that made his brothers all the more jealous.
Getting sick of his brothers jealousy, Dhanna once decided to migrate to some other place to try his luck. He therefore left the place leaving everything for his brothers. He traveled far and reached Ujjayini which was being ruled by Chandpradyot. By his intelligence and good luck he acquired lot of money and soon became the right hand man of the king.
Meanwhile his brothers had lost everything that he had left. His parents therefore came to Ujjayini in search of work along with the three sons and their wives. Dhanna invited all of them to stay with him. His brothers however could not appreciate his magnanimity and again started envying him. In disgust, Dhanna once again left everything to them and proceeded towards Rajgruhi.
On the way while he was meditating on the bank of river Ganga, he gained Chintamani Ratna, which is a jewel that fulfills all desires. Equipped with that he came to Rajgruhi.
When Dhanna reached Rajgruhi, he was very tired. He decided to rest on the outskirts of the city in a park. It was owned by Kusumpal but was deserted, because all its trees and plants had gone dry. How nice this park would have been, if it was green ? Dhanna thought and by virtue of his Chintamani jewel the entire plant life was revived. People passing by were surprised to see the park green. Kusumpal also came there and noticed that the miracle had happened on account of Dhanna’s presence. He was pleased with that lucky young man. He had only one daughter named Kusum. He thought that Dhanna would be an appropriate match for her. He therefore took Dhanna to his place and got him married to his daughter.
Shrenik, the king of Rajgruhi, had an elephant named Sechanak. It was known all over the country for its boldness and extraordinary performance. Shrenik was very fond of it. Once that elephant went mad. His keepers were unable to bring it back to control. Abhayakumar was in captivity of Chandpradyot at that time. The King therefore felt very much helpless.
As Dhanna learnt about the problem, he volunteered and brought the elephant in control with the help of his Chintamani jewel. The king was very pleased with him. He was in need of a capable advisor in absence of Abhayakumar. He saw Dhanna as the right man for the purpose. He therefore appointed Dhanna as his advisor. He also gave him his daughter Shobha in marriage. In those times, polygamy was an accepted way of life.
In Rajgruhi there was a wealthy man named Gobhadra. By his wife Bhadra he had a son named Shalibhadra and a daughter named Subhadra. Attracted by his status and wealth, 32 people had given their daughters in marriage to Shalibhadra who was leading the most luxurious life. Meanwhile, Gobhadra was conducting his lucrative money lending business and Bhadra was efficiently managing the family affairs.
Once a rogue planned to gain money by playing a trick. He had only one eye. He complained that he had mortgaged the other eye to Gobhadra and now wanted it back. The king was exasperated to hear such bogus claim but the rogue produced his accomplices as witnesses to the mortgage. The king therefore entrusted that knotty problem to his new advisor.
Dhanna called that rogue and said that Gobhadra had many eyes mortgaged to him. It was therefore hard to identify the complainant’s eye. Dhanna therefore asked him to give his other eye so as to properly identify his mortgaged eye. The rogue had to withdraw his complaint and was appropriately sentenced for the attempted fraud.
Gobhadra got sick of the worldly life by this incident. He however wanted to get his daughter married before leaving the worldly life. He was very pleased with Dhanna for the way he had solved the problem. Gobhadra therefore gave Subhadra in marriage to Dhanna and became a Muni leaving a vast fortune for his son Shalibhadra.
Dhanna’s brothers again lost everything that Dhanna had left in Ujjayini. His parents therefore came to Rajgruhi along with the sons and their wives. Dhanna once again welcomed them to stay with him. The brothers however could not bear the high status and prosperity of Dhanna and started creating problems. Their wives advised them to live happily and peacefully with Dhanna, but they were picking up quarrels every now and then.
In disgust, Dhanna left Rajgruhi with the permission of the king and went to Kaushambi. There too, Dhanna could soon please the king and became his favorite. During that trip he happened to marry three more girls and then came back to Rajgruhi.
Meanwhile Gobhadra had died and was reborn in heaven. On account of his attachment for Shalibhadra, he used to supply all his needs, heavenly jewelry, divine apparel etc. Bhadra was taking every care to see that the luxuriously happy life of Shalibhadra does not get any way affected. Most of the time Shalibhadra used to stay along with his wives in palatial building where all his needs were taken care of by his mother.
Once some traders from Nepal came to Rajgruhi to sell diamond studded blankets. They went to the king’s palace, but Shrenik declined to buy any because they were too costly. They couldn’t t get any other buyer as well.
In despair, they happened to pass by Shalibhadra’s place talking about their failure in selling the blankets. Bhadra heard it and called them inside. She offered to buy 32 blankets for her daughters in law. They however had only 16 blankets. Bhadra bought all of them at the demanded price. She cut them into halves and gave one piece to each of her daughters-in-law. It was the custom in their household that they would use anything for only one day and the next day even the most costly materials were to be discarded.
When queen Chellana heard about the Nepali blankets, she asked king Shrenik to buy at least one for her. Shrenik accordingly called back those traders who told him that all their blankets were sold to Bhadra. Shrenik therefore sent a messenger to Bhadra with a request to spare one blanket for his queen.
The messenger came back with the reply that they were halved and every half of the blankets was in use by her daughters-in-law. The next day all the pieces of blankets were discarded and picked up by the servants. One of them used to work for Chellana too.
She went to the palace for work with a stitched blanket on her shoulder. Chellana could not believe her eyes when she saw that the blanket which the king couldn’t buy, was adoring the maid. When she inquired, she came to know of all the details of Bhadra’s household.
She told it to the king who was surprised by the affluence of Shalibhadra. He was inquisitive to see him and invited him to the court. Bhadra however sent the reply that her son never got down from the upper floor of her palace and in turn invited the king to her place.
Shrenik accepted her invitation. As he came, she took him to the fifth floor, from where she called Shalibhadra to come down from the seventh floor to see the king. Shalibhadra had never heard anything about king. He thought that king was some thing that his mother wanted to buy. He therefore replied that she could decide about the king herself.
Then Bhadra went up and explained that king was the lord of the Magadha and was accordingly his lord too. Shalibhadra therefore came down to pay his respect to the king as advised by his mother. He had always thought that he was the lord of everything that concerned him. The idea of having a lord over him therefore hurt him.
Once along with a friend, he happened to go to Acharya Dharmaghosh. After listening his sermon, Shalibhadra asked the Acharya how he could gain a status where he would not have any overlord. Acharya replied that as long as he desired something, he had to depend upon others and dependency creates an overlord. The only way to become really independent was to give up everything and to lead renounced life like his father.
Shalibhadra therefore was inclined to renounce immediately but his mother told him that renunciation meant leading a very tough life. As he was brought up in heavenly luxury, it would be very hard for him to give up everything all of a sudden. It would be better for him to give up his attachment for everything gradually. Shalibhadra had maximum attachment for his wives. He therefore decided to leave them one after another and planned to renounce on the 33rd day.
The news of his intention soon reached his sister Subhadra. After that her husband Dhanna once saw tears in her eyes. When asked about the cause of her grief, she told him about the intention of Shalibhadra to renounce. Dhanna told her that if her brother was really serious about renouncing, he should better leave all of them immediately. Subhadra was unable to say anything, but another wife replied that it was easy to say so and asked whether he could leave even one of his six wives.
Dhanna had already developed a high sense of detachment and was really thinking to renounce. He saw this opportunity. He instantly decided to leave all of them. Then approaching Shalibhadra he asked him to join him in renouncement.
Shalibhadra was very much encouraged by what Dhanna had done. He also left everything at once and went to Lord Mahavir along with Dhanna. They adopted monkshood. Both of them very soon got well versed in all the Agams (Scriptures). They were keen to follow the path of salvation and were observing severe austerities.
Once they came back to Rajgruhi along with the Lord. They were due for the termination of one month’s fast. They therefore went to Bhadra’s place for alms. When the Munis came to her house, Bhadra was getting ready to go to the camp in order to see them. As the Munis had become very slim on account of severe austerities, none of her servants could recognize them. Thus they did not get any alms. On their way back, they however got yogurt from a milkmaid who happened to be Shalibhadra’s mother in the previous life; and thus they terminated their fast.
After that with the permission of the Lord, they went up the nearby Vaibhargiri hill and resorted to Anashan (fast unto death). At the end of Anashan, they attained Sarwartha Siddhi heaven.

DAMANAK

In the city of Rajpur, there lived a man named Kulaputra. Jaindas, a Jain Shravak, was his close friend. In the company of his friend, Kulaputra came in touch with the Jain Munis and undertook the vow not to eat fish.
Once a terrible famine broke out in the city, and people started living on fish. Even the staunchest vegetarians changed their diet, and there was hardly a household where fish was not a staple food. Now, Kulaputra’s vow was on a severe trial. His wife said to him one day, “Don’t you see, there is no food even for the children, and they are starving ? And yet you are so very indifferent. Why don’t you buy me some fish ? I can’t do without it.”
Kulaputra responded, “You see, my dear, I have no desire to deprive other living beings of their life just to save my own. Grains are our food. I can’t extend my hands to fish. I have affection for my children, but I have a similar affection for everyone else. I can’t overlook this. Above all, I will not break my vow.”
Kulaputra’s brother-in-law forced him to accompany him to the riverbank in order to catch fish. Very reluctantly he went with him and very indifferently he threw his net in the water. But what a wonder ! He had the largest catch. When Kulaputra saw that the fish were very uneasy and restless outside the water, he at once released them in the stream. He tried thrice, but on each occasion the outcome was the same, and he released the fish into the stream on all the three occasions.
Burdened with dissimilar thoughts moving up and down in his mind, he went on fast unto death and was liberated of the mortal frame. He was born in the family of a merchant named Manihar in the city of Rajgruhi and was given the name Dhamanak.
Manihar was a man of great wealth and fortune. But by the time Dhamanak was eight years old, there broke out an epidemic in which all members of the merchant’s family except Dhamanak died. He had now no guardian to look after him, and the vast property took no time to disappear. At last, the orphan took shelter with another merchant, Sagarpoat by name.
One day, some Munis came to Sagarpoat’s house to seek food. The eldest of them, when he saw the boy, casually observed to his fellow Munis that when the boy’s auspicious Karmas would come up, he would be the head of this very household.
Naturally, the observation could not be relished by the merchant, particularly because he had a son to inherit his fortune. So at once he thought out a plan to kill him. He sent for the butcher and gave him the assignment. The butcher took the boy to a deep forest. But as he looked at his face, he took pity on him and could not withhold his disgust of the merchant who had given him a cruel assignment. He pierced Dhamanak’s finger, took a few drops of blood, and released him. He asked him to flee at once and never again to show his face in that region.
When all alone in the forest and deeply afflicted by terror, Dhamanak met a cowherd, who heard his account and took him home. Here started a new chapter in his life. He was now assisting the cowherd, and this work he did not dislike.
Some years passed in this way, and Dhamanak was now a young man. One day, it so happened that the merchant Sagarpoat came to that very place on business. He saw the young man and liked him very much. He learnt on inquiry that this was an orphan whom the cowherd had picked up from the forest years back.
The merchant now had no doubt that this was the boy whom he had himself condemned years ago. His old apprehensions revived, and once more he was determined to wipe him out of existence. So he requested the cowherd to lend him the service of the boy to carry an urgent message to his son.
Dhamanak reached the outskirts of the city of Rajgruhi with the merchant’s letter in his hand. He took shelter in a temple to rest and did not know when he fell fast asleep. The envelope lay beside him.
Just then, the merchant’s daughter Bisa came to the temple. When her eyes fell on an envelope addressed to her own brother, she could not check the temptation to pick it up. When she read it, she found that her brother had been commissioned by her father to administer dreadful venom to the bearer thereof as soon as he reached him.
Bisa looked at the young man, reread the letter, and again looked at him. She did not understand why her father had given such a cruel order. Now, poison is called ‘Bis’ in the north Indian dialects, and the girl, by a gentle stroke of the pen, changed ‘Bis’ into Bisa, which was her own name. Then she put the letter from where she had picked it up and silently departed.
The letter was duly delivered to the merchant’s son, and the merchant’s wishes were duly honored to the very letter of the note. When the merchant returned home, he found to his greatest disgust that the young man he had condemned had turned into the next of his kin. He felt helpless and bitter.
A minor stroke of a pen thus changed into a major stroke of fortune. But the merchant’s thinking did not change. He was still bent on killing the young man, even though that would be a great misfortune for his own daughter.
So he instructed some of his faithful men to be on the lookout for a suitable opportunity to kill him. When auspicious Karma is up, no one can do as much as to bend your hair, let alone kill you. The men were unsuccessful in their assignment.
One day, the whole family, including Dhamanak, had gone to a friend’s house to participate in an occasion. Dhamanak returned somewhat early. But since the entrance door was locked, he lay outside on a cot. Somehow he felt restless, got up and went away for a little walk. Meanwhile his brother-in-law returned. But since the entrance was still locked, he lay on the same cot and was soon asleep.
Now, the merchant’s men, who were after Dhamanak, saw him lying on the cot outside. They went to get their weapons. By the time they returned with sharp weapons, the person on the cot had changed, and thus the most unfortunate victim of the merchant’s order was none other than his own dear son. Thus one does not know how a ditch dug for another may turn out to be a big well for the digger himself.
Having lost his only son, the merchant had now no other alternative but to change his attitude toward his Dhamanak. He discussed the matter with his wife, and the two unanimously came to the conclusion that they can’t change the prediction made by the Muni and accordingly Dhamanak should be entrusted with full responsibility of running the household.
Mysterious is the turn of Karmas. Dhamanak, who was born in a rich family and had lost his all, was again in command of a huge fortune.
For many years, Dhamanak enjoyed the prosperity and happiness of the earthly life. Then he adopted the vows of a Shravak and followed them rigorously, enriching thereby his life on earth, and, at death, finding a place among the celestial beings.

MAHESHVARDATT

There was a city named Vijaypur. A Kshatriya (warrior) named Maheshvardatt resided in that city. His wife was Gangila. The parents of Maheshvardatt were old and were capable of spending the time in devotion of God and in religious rites, if they so desired; but they were not inclined at all to devote their time in such manner.
How can one be inclined to devotion of God or such religious activities if one has spent one’s life in worldly affairs ? Casual visit to a saint or attending religious lectures or discourses or observance of some religious vow creates greater interest in such practice at a later stage in life and thereby one can improve one’s life.
But the parents of Maheshvardatt never called upon any saint. They were fully concentrated in their worldly affairs. Maheshvardatt also lived the same type of life from morning till night and maintained his family. The family ate non-vegetarian food and even used wine and other liquor.
How choosing of proper and improper diet can be expected when there is an absence of religious atmosphere ? Today also people don’t care about habits of proper or improper diet because religious atmosphere is almost absent. The wise people know that the non-vegetarians and those who consume liquor are bound to go to hell and have to undergo unbearable tortures there.
Once, Maheshvardatt’s father became ill. Despite the best medical treatment he did not recover. Medicines help only when longevity helps. When he found that his days were numbered he worried, “What about my wife, my son, my family and my cattle brought up with great affection ?” He was much worried and uneasy. Maheshvardatt saw this and asked, “Father, let me know anything you desire. I shall fulfill it. You don’t worry at all.” The father replied, “Son, you are very wise and diligent, so you will maintain your family quite well, still times are very critical and so spend money carefully. Look after our buffaloes. I brought them up with great love. Moreover, on Shraddha day as observed by our family, sacrifice a young buffalo. Don’t forget.”
With these words the father died. The cravings entertained at last moments of life, many a times establishes a person’s next life. Thus, after death he was born as a male-buffalo in his own herd.
Sometime after, Maheshvardatt’s mother also died crying, “My house, my family, my world, my fame !” After death she was born as a female dog and stayed loitering near the house of Maheshvardatt.
Funeral ceremonies were over. The caste dinner was over. Maheshvardatt’s reputation swelled and the worldly affairs proceeded ahead.
Maheshvardatt’s wife was beautiful, clever in domestic works but was perverted in character. This immorality suppresses all virtues as a gram of salt spoils a pan full of milk. Her sensuality found no scope when her father-in-law and mother-in-law existed, but now they were no more and Maheshvardatt also traveled out of town for a longer period for business. Meanwhile she indulged in sensual affairs with one fellow. The sin some day is bound to be exposed.
One day due to some need Maheshvardatt had to return home abruptly. He found the doors of his house closed from within. He doubted and peeped through the cracks. He saw a man. Even an animal can’t but be enraged on seeing his mate in communion with another animal. How can a man tolerate this ? He shouted, “Gangila, open the doors !”
Hearing the shouting of her husband, she became very nervous. She thought of concealing her lover, but there was no such place where she could conceal him. Helpless as she was, she opened the doors and stood terrified and trembling like leaves of tree when the sudden wind comes in.
Maheshvardatt entered the room, caught his wife’s lover by neck and began to beat him. The lover was hammered severely in the abdomen and killed. The deceased while dying thought, “I reap the rewards of my own acts. It is no use being enraged with anyone.”
This noble thought conceived at the time of death procured for him the birth of a human being. He was born in Gangila from his own semen. How strange are the designs of fate ! Father is born as the son of his son and a son is born as a father. A mother formerly is reborn as wife and wife returns as mother.
Maheshvardatt kept this affair as a secret, as it might affect his own reputation. The wise people have laid down, that “Longevity, wealth, some family vice, Mantra, medicine, gift, honors and insults, should be maintained as secrets.”
After a few months Gangila delivered a very handsome son and the whole family rejoiced on the event. The birth of a son is always an event of joy for parents.
The day of Shraddha (yearly ritual after the dead) approached and Maheshvardatt remembered his promise to his father. He searched for a young buffalo in the market but could not secure a good one in the price expected. Hence he decided to sacrifice the young buffalo brought up by him in his own house. The buffalo was sacrificed and its meat was cooked and made ready to be served to relatives. In the meanwhile, the female dog entered and started licking utensils for food. Maheshvardatt was very angry at this and he flung a wooden stick at the dog. The ankle of the dog was broken and thereby she ran away screaming.
Still, it was time for the relatives to arrive, Maheshvardatt was waiting at the door with his young son. He was playing with his son. In the meanwhile, an enlightened Muni passing by, on seeing this, nodded. Maheshvardatt saw his nodding. So he approached the Muni and with respect inquired, “What is the cause of your nodding ?” The Muni replied, “Friend, the matter is not worth your knowing.” But he insisted to hear about this. “If you still insist and wish, I have no objection in narrating,” the Muni said. Maheshvardatt said, “Then let me hear it entirely.”
The Muni began, “Good fellow, today you are performing Shraddha of your father; and therefore, you have sacrificed a buffalo. That buffalo was your own father in previous life. While dying he was anxious about his cattle and so he was born as a cattle.” Maheshvardatt was very much shocked to hear these words. He said “Lord, Is it true ?” The Muni replied, “It is true, but the matter does not end here.”
“The dog whose ankle was broken by you just now with a stick, was your mother in previous life. She also at the time of death entertained anxieties as “My house, my children, my worldly relations, etc. and she died with these thoughts.” Maheshvardatt shut his ears to these words.
The Muni continued, “Oh good fellow, now listen to the whole matter in full when you have known part of it. The son whom you love so much is none else but your wife’s lover killed by you with a kick on the abdomen. While dying he entertained noble thoughts and he attained to human birth. He was born in his own semen.”
Hearing these words Maheshvardatt felt disgust for the world. He fell at the feet of the Muni on the spot and requested him, “Oh Lord, relieve me from this delusive world.” The Muni showed him to the path of eternal happiness. Maheshvardatt thus subsequently achieved salvation.

MORAL LESSON: A religious environment at home is very essential to uplift our soul and achieve infinite happiness. Children learn from their parents, therefore, parents must set up a good example. We shouldn’t be worried about death but should prepare for it. Our thoughts should be pure all the time so that at the time of death worldly matters don’t cloud our thinking. We should keep in contact with the enlightened persons or those who can throw light on Kevali’s established preaching so as to attain the right knowledge, right perception and right conduct.

CHARUDATT

Shreshthi Bhanu was a resident of the city of Champa. His wife’s name was Subhadra. They had a son named Charudatt.
Charudatt was so fond of reading from his infancy that he would care for nothing else. He married his cousin Mrigavati. But even marriage did not change his habit. As Mrigavati lit the lamp in her bedroom, Charudatt would sit down with a book and spend the whole night reading it. He did not care for his wife’s presence, nor did he seek her company.
Bhanu and his wife were very much perturbed by the abnormal behavior of their son. They tried various remedies, all without success. Charudatt remained an inveterate bookworm and would care for nothing else in life. After much consideration, his father thought of engaging a public woman to change his son.
It is always a bad thing to indulge in one bad habit to uproot another. this may rid you of one to make you a slave to the other. But in his anxiety to cure his son of his reading habit, Shreshthi Bhanu never looked at this aspect. A well-known harlot, Vasantsena, was engaged for the purpose, and very soon she was successful. Now the young man was having a good time in her company.
Thus twelve years rolled by. During these years, a vast sum of money flowed out from the merchant’s coffer to reach the hands of the harlot. The merchant was now in severe financial strain. The continued absence of the son from home was an additional pain. But Charudatt would not care to look at his father’s business, nor was he ready to give up the company of the woman. The merchant and his wife died of broken hearts.
A harlot would care for a man only so long as he is a source of her earning, and she would throw him out as soon as he went dry. The relation between the two is not based on love, but on money, and so it does not take time to terminate.
Charudatt was penniless, so Vasantsena turned him out of her abode. The young man returned home and saw it in a bad state. His parents were dead, and the mansion was about to crumble down. Affluence was no longer there. It was all a reign of poverty in his one-time prosperous home. This was a great shock for the young man. He sat down on the steps and bewailed for the great misfortune.
When Mrigavati heard the sob, she came out to find her own husband, and she took him in. She consoled him with sweet words, made him take a bath and served him food.
After he was somewhat consoled, she said: “There is no use in lamenting over what is past. I have some ornaments. You may raise money with them and start some business. The goddess of fortune smiles on one who is enterprising.”
To this, Charudatt agreed. He raised a small amount of money and started for another city in the company of his maternal uncle. They bought some cotton, loaded it on a cart and turned their steps toward Tamralipti. On the way, the merchandise was lost in a fire. They had no more money. The uncle thought, Charudatt is very unlucky. “If I go with him, I won’t have a better turn in my fortune.” So he parted company with him and went on his own way.
Charudatt was now without means of support. Even his fortune would not stand by him. Wandering alone, he reached the city of Priyangu. There, a merchant named Surendradatt, who happened to be an acquaintance of his father, who recognized him and took him to his house. There he stayed for some time.
One day, he found that some people of the city were preparing to go on a voyage, Charudatt also decided to go with them. Surendradatt discouraged him, but he would not listen.
The ship with Charudatt and the others on board cast anchor at an island where all the merchants did their business. Charudatt also did the same and earned a sizable amount. He was now anxious to return home, so he started back with the money he had earned.
Luck disfavored him again. The ship was caught in a storm on the sea and was lost. With it went down Charudatt’s entire fortune. He saved himself with great difficulty by swimming ashore with the support of a floating plank. He now reached the outskirts of the city of Rajpur, where he sat under a tree, taking stock of his life.
A traveler was passing by that way. Charudatt saw his brilliant face and felt that this must be some uncommon personality. He folded his palms and wished him a good day. The traveler stopped to look at him. When he saw him in a pitiable condition, he said: “Why do you look so sad and downcast, young man ?” Charudatt narrated his story.
The traveler took pity on him and took him along with him. Charudatt expected no danger from him. Danger, however, comes without giving notice, and it comes in a manner and at a time when it is least expected.
After they had covered some distance, the two reached a dense forest. There was a hill in it, and there was a cave in the hill. The man opened the door of the cave, and the two entered into it. As they proceeded inside the cave, they reached a well which was emitting a very foul smell. The man handed over to Charudatt a hollow gourd and said: “I shall lower you inside the well. You fill this up with the juice that is stored inside and pass it on to me. Then I shall take you out.”
The man lowered Charudatt into the well. Now he was near the juice. As he extended his hand to fill up the gourd, he heard a voice from inside the well, “Gentleman, please don’t take not juice.”
Charudatt replied: “Sir, whoever you may be, I am to inform you that I am Bhanu Shreshthi’s son. At the bidding of a fellow traveler, I have come down to take the juice from this well. You will excuse my disturbing you and be good enough to permit me to take a gourd full of juice.”
The voice replied: “I was a sea-roving merchant myself. Once I was a victim of a shipwreck and saved myself by swimming ashore. I met this same traveler, who induced me to come with him. After we had reached here, he lowered me into this well. Then he took the gourd full of juice from my hand, but he dropped me into the well. Now it is impossible to get out. This juice is dangerous to the body, and my end may not be very far off. That’s why I warned you not to touch it. Give me the gourd. I shall fill it and pass it on to you.”
Charudatt gave him the gourd, which the man filled up and returned. The traveler now pulled up the rope. The traveler said to Charudatt: “Give me the gourd first. Then I shall take you out.” Charudatt said: “You have to take me out with the gourd.”
The traveler was vexed at these words. He took both of them out, but he pushed both back into the well. But he was cautious because of the prior warning. He caught the support of the earthen ring inside and stood halfway from the juice. But, as there was no possibility of his getting out, he started brooding over his past. As he did it, he felt very bad.
But time is the best healer, and after some time, his agony had somewhat abated. It occurred to him that it must be all a play of Karmas accumulated in the past, and it was not known what other hardships were still in store. He went on brooding and at last he thought of giving a turn to his life by changing its course in the spiritual direction. He then thought of the Arihantas, the Siddhas, the Munis and the Religion as taught by the Kevalis. He took the vow to desist from sinful acts, went on fast and became immersed in meditation.
The man who was already in the well said the following soothing words to console him: “On the third day from today, a cow will come here to drink from this well. If, at that time, you can catch hold of her tail very fast, there may be an escape for you.” This gave a ray of hope to Charudatt, and he became more alert not to miss the chance. After passing this information, the man inside the well breathed his last.
On the third day, the cow came there. Having drunk from the well, as the cow was about to return, Charudatt caught hold of her tail and jumped out. He sat for a while to chant the holy Navakar Mantra.
Hardly had he gone a little far when a wild buffalo chased him. Charudatt ascended a hill. The buffalo sat on the passage waiting for him to come down. But good luck prevailing, a huge cobra came out of a cave in the hill and swallowed the buffalo. Charudatt now came down.
After he had crossed through the forest, he reached a village. There he met a friend of his father, Rudradatt, who himself was a merchant. Charudatt stayed with him for some time.
But Charudatt’s luck was still in ferment and would not allow him to settle down. Now he and Rudradatt prepared a plan of going to the land of gold. No sooner was the plan ready than the two set out.
They crossed a turbulent river and reached the region where the way ahead was extremely dangerous for walking on foot. Besides, walking didn’t give them speed. So they bought two big he-goats and continued their journey on their backs, but the land of gold was still very far, so Rudradatt said: “If we proceed at this speed, we shall not reach our destination for a very long time. We should devise some means of reaching there early.”
Both started thinking. Soon, however, Rudradatt hit upon an idea. He said: “Well, I have an idea. Let us kill our goats and use their hides to prepare two bags. Then we get inside and lie on the ground. Some big Bharunda bird, greedy for flesh, may pick us up and drop us up in the land of gold. That will make our task very easy.”
The plan did not, however, appeal much to Charudatt. He said: “We passed through a dense forest on the backs of these goats. Should we now kill them ? Life is as much dear to them as to us. These animals too have a feeling of pain. So we should give up the idea of killing them.”
Rudradatt responded: “Well, I don’t understand your mind. These goats are neither our parents nor our brothers. In fact, they are nothing to us. They are meant for our use, and we need to give priority to our own requirements without bothering about what happens to them.”
Charudatt protested again, but Rudradatt said firmly: “I have decided to kill my goat.” No sooner had he said it than he did it. Then he took out its hide.
Now, turning to Charudatt, he said: “You can’t do it, so let me do it for you.” On hearing this, Charudatt came to the goat and said: “Poor animal ! In your previous birth, you must have killed some animal, and so you are going to be slaughtered now. This is the time for you now to renounce the Ashravas (inflow of Karmas) that bind the soul and take refuge unto the Arihantas, the Siddhas, the Munis, and the Religion taught by the Kevalis. Seek forgiveness of all living beings, give up anger, and cultivate a feeling of fraternity to all.” He uttered the holy Navakar Mantra into the goat’s ears.
Rudradatt killed the goat and used the two hides to prepare two leather bags. He entered into one of them and made Charudatt enter into the other. Then they lay on the ground taking their chance.
Now, everything went as expected. Two Bharunda birds descended and picked up the two goatskins in their claws and flew away in the sky. After they had covered some distance, they came across a few more birds of their species. A quarrel ensued between them, in consequence of which the bags dropped down. Luckily, however, Charudatt’s bag fell into a lake, so he remained unhurt. He now tore the bag and came out.
When favorable Karma is about to come up, it brings hope in the midst of darkness. Charudatt’s unfavorable Karma was in the exit phase now.
While wandering in the forest, he reached the top of a hill, where he saw a Muni who was exposing himself to the blazing sun with his arms stretched upwards. Charudatt sat down near him.
Having finished his Kayotsarga (meditation), the Muni said: “Who are you and why have you come here ? This is an island named Kumbhakund, and this hill is named Kakkoda. No one can come here except the Devs, the Vidyadhars, and the flying Munis who are gifted with special powers. There is a deep sea all around this island. How did you cross it ?”
Charudatt narrated his story. On hearing his account, the Muni said, “In this mundane life, difficulties are abound, not well-being. Not even the king of the Devs is capable of transgressing Karmas without experiencing its impact. It will be advisable for you to prevent the influx of Karmas.”
Just at that time, two persons descended there from an air-chariot. They were the Muni’s sons in the worldly life, both Vidyadhars, now residents of the Vaitadhya hills, and both had come there to pay obeisance and homage to their father.
When Charudatt and these two were in the midst of a conversation, they saw another air-chariot rushing through the air. It was so bright that it gave light to all directions. The air-chariot descended onto the hill and from it alighted a Dev, attended by many others. To the surprise of all, he first paid obeisance and homage to Charudatt and then to the Muni.
Enlightening all, the incoming Dev said: “This Shravak (pointing to Charudatt) is my spiritual master. It is because of his great favor that I have attained this divine status. To me, therefore, in matters of paying obeisance, he is Number One.”
When the Vidyadhars asked how this came to be so, he said: “In my previous birth, I was a goat and he was my master. Now, I was slaughtered by his companion, but before he could kill me, this man did his best to help my spirit and chanted the holy Navakar Mantra into my ears, by dint of which I enjoy this status today.”
Having said that the Dev paid him homage again and flew away. The Vidyadhars, on their return flight, restored Charudatt to his city. But before he departed, on the suggestion of the Muni, Charudatt took the vow of imposing zone restriction on his movement from the time he reach his home city, for he confessed that, for want of a vow like this, he had suffered much in life.
On the return journey, Charudatt spent a few days in the company of the Vidyadhars on the Vaitadhya hills and accepted the hand of a Vidyadhara damsel. Then, back in his city, Charudatt, in the company of his two wives, spent the rest of his life happily and worthily, fulfilling the vow he had imposed on himself.

CHANDKAUSHIK - NON-VIOLENCE, LOVE, AND EQUALITY

This is a story about Lord Mahavir when he was a Muni. He used to fast, meditate and also perform penance. He was traveling from place to place, village to village.
Once, Lord Mahavir decided to go to the village of Vachala. On his way, there lived a deadly snake named Chandkaushik, a poisonous cobra. All the people of the villages near that forest lived in absolute terror. It was rumored that Chandkaushik could kill just by casting his evil glance upon a person.
When the villagers learned about Lord Mahavir’s intentions to pass through the forest, they tearfully requested him to follow another route.
Lord Mahavir had no fear and practiced supreme nonviolence. He had no hatred towards anyone and considered fear and hatred as violence of the self. He was at peace with himself and all other living beings. There was a glow of serenity and compassion on the Lord’s face. He didn’t deviate from his route even after listening to the warnings from the villagers.
After a little while he noticed the beautiful green land fading out and uninhabited, deserted and poisoned land came. Trees and plants were almost burnt out so he thought that this must be the land what villagers were talking about and here Chandkaushik may be living. So Lord Mahavir stopped here to meditate. Feelings of peace, tranquillity, and concern for the well-being of every living being flowed from Lord Mahavir’s heart.
Chandkaushik sensed that someone has come near his land, so he came out of his abode. He went in that direction and to his surprise he saw a man standing there. He got furious thinking that how dare he could come this close to his territory ? He started hissing to threaten Lord Mahavir, but he did not know the tranquillity of Lord Mahavir. He became angry and came closer to the Lord and swayed his head, ready to strike. He saw no sign that man would run away or even being threatened.
This made Chandkaushik more angry and he blew poisonous venom towards Lord Mahavir three times. Venom neither affected Lord Mahavir not Lord Mahavir was disturbed in his meditation. Chandkaushik was not ready to see no effect of his venom. Now he was really mad and concentrated all his power and bit his toe. When he looked at the man again he was flabbergasted that not only nothing happened to him but instead he saw Pure, white milk flowed out of his toe.
Lord Mahavir opened his eyes. He was calm and there was no fear or anger on his face. He looked at Chandkaushik in his eyes and seemed to be saying to him: “Understand, understand, Chandkaushik and realize where you are going !!!” There was love and affection in his eyes.
Chandkaushik became calm and he felt as if he has seen such person before. He suddenly perceived the special knowledge (Jatismarangnan) through which he saw what happened in his previous lives. Chandkaushik then realized the truth of life that what have anger and ego done to him. He bent his head down peacefully on the ground.
Lord Mahavir left. Chandkaushik peacefully retreated back to his hole. There he spent rest of his life in physical and mental peace. When he died he went to heaven.
Peace and harmony in the society come from the feeling of love and equality of all living beings. This is Lord Mahavir’s concept of non-violence.

CHANDANBALA AND LORD MAHAVIR

Chetak, the chief of Vaishali republic was the brother of Trishaladevi, the mother of Lord Mahavir. Chetak had seven daughters. Of these, Jyeshtha was married to Nandivardhan, the Lord’s brother, Mrigavati was married to king Shatnik of Koshambi, Dharani also known as Padmavati to the king Dadhivahan of Champa. Dadhivahan and Padmavati were very happy with each other and they had a daughter named Vasumati whom they loved very much. Vasumati was beautiful and obedient. Though she was brought up in royal comfort and luxuries, she was exposed to religious tenets as well.
Once king Shatnik invaded Champa. Dadhivahan fought bravely but he was killed in the battle and Champa fell in the hands of Shatnik. Padmavati did not want to surrender herself. She tried to escape with her young daughter. Unfortunately she fell in the hands of some soldiers of Shatnik. They were attracted by her beauty and wanted to molest her. But Padmavati committed suicide in order to save herself from sexual assault. The soldiers were scared by the horrible scene and were afraid that Vasumati too may try to follow her mother. So they treated her well and took her to Koshambi where they intended to make money by selling her.
In Koshambi there was a kind hearted merchant named Dhanavah who was financially well off. He saw Vasumati in the market and decided to get her because he was childless. He liked the girl and thought that she would be able to help her wife Muladevi. So Vasumati went with him.
She had to undergo varying phases of life within a short period. From Princess she had become a captive and now a maid. She had been raised with proper spiritual thinking and therefore was able to accept all the changes in her life as consequences of her earlier Karmas.
She had decided not to disclose her original identity and adopted her new role without grumbling. She took all possible care for Dhanavah who soon developed fatherly affection for her. He used to call her Chandanbala because she scattered fragrance in his life by her sweet, obedient and accommodating nature. For him Chandanbala was a God given daughter.
As Dhanavah’s affection for her grew, his wife Muladevi started harboring suspicion about their relations. She was aware that she could not give any child to him. She was now aged and not attractive. So she started worrying that her husband may marry Chandanbala who grew to be a very attractive, lovely young lady. Muladevi jealously watched the affectionate behavior of her husband for Chandanbala.
Once as he was coming back from a business trip, Chandanbala was as usual cleaning his feet with warm water. While she had to bend for this purpose, her hairs, hanging downwards, almost touched the ground. He therefore picked them up and put on her back. Muladevi was watching that and she became certain that her husband was in love with the girl and would marry her. She shuddered at the fate that would be in store for her in that case and decided that something had to be done to get rid of the girl.
Shortly after that, Dhanavah had to go out on another business trip for three days. After he left, Muladevi called a barber and a locksmith. Long black hairs of Chandanbala were the immediate cause of her jealousy. Chandanbala’s head was therefore completely shaved. Then, she was put into chains and locked in a dark, remote room without any food or water. Muladevi thought that the girl would die of thirst and hunger. There was another maid who was strictly asked not even to go near to that room nor to report anything to Dhanavah.
True to her religious orientation, Chandanbala did not fight back. She did not blame Muladevi for what she had done to her. She accepted that situation as the consequence of her earlier Karmas. She did not even harbor bad feelings towards Muladevi because she used to respect her as a mother. She decided to use the period of confinement for fasting and spiritual meditation and spent most of the time thinking about the nature of Karmas and reciting Navakar Mantra.
On the fourth day, when Dhanavah returned, he expected Chandanbala to receive him with warm water as usual for cleaning his feet. As she did not turn up, he thought that she might be sick. He, however, could not see her in the family room or anywhere else in the house.
After finishing his bath, as he came to the dining room, food was served to him by his wife. He had to ask, “Where is Chandan ?” Muladevi replied that he had spoilt her by too much pampering; she always roamed outside while he went away and that this time she had gone away, nobody knows where, since the day he left.
It was hard for Dhanavah to digest what his wife was stating. He knew his daughter very well. He could hardly eat. Rising from his seat he started looking all around for Chandanbala who was so dear to him. He went round all the rooms and corners of his house. That solitary remote room however did not even occur to him, because that was treated as condemned and he hardly even went that side. Failing in his search he got too much upset, his heart was crying. He even asked the maid, but she couldn’t say anything, because Muladevi was all the time watching her.
The maid respected Dhanavah; she even had soft corner for Chandanbala. She could not face the miserable condition of her master. When Muladevi got out of sight for a moment, she pointed out that remote room to her master. He immediately rushed there and broke open the tottered doors. It was however too dark inside for anything to be visible at first sight.
After a while he could faintly see the starved body in chains. He could not believe that so tender a girl could have survived for three days without food and water. Luckily for him she was not dead. He picked her up in his arms and brought her to the living room area. To his astonishment he found that all the rooms there were locked.
As Muladevi saw him rushing to that remote room, she became afraid that what she had done would no longer remain secret. She was sure that her husband would punish her for her wickedness. In order to escape his instant wrath, she hurriedly locked the rooms and sped to her parents home.
Her husband was eager to find some food and drinks for Chandanbala but he was nonplused to find every place locked. He lay Chandanbala on the floor of Verandah (balcony) and looked around if there could be something that she could eat. At last he spotted a pot of black peas soaked in water. There was however no serving bowl. He therefore picked up a winnowing pan. Taking out black peas from water in that pan, he gave them to Chandanbala and rushed out to call locksmith for breaking her chains.
Chandanbala took the pan. For a moment she thought about the changes that had come in her life. From being a princess she was reduced to the position of a miserable starved girl who had nothing to eat but the soaked peas and that too in a winnowing pan. She laughed at her fate. Before, however, she put the peas in her mouth, she remembered that she was on fast for three days. Would it be possible for me to offer food to a Muni before I break my fasts ? she thought.
At that time Lord Mahavir was in the renounced state. In his endeavor for seeking truth and ultimate happiness he was continually meditating and observing severe austerities. In that process he went without food for days together.
At that particular time he had imposed upon himself apparently improbable stipulations for accepting food. He had vowed that he would accept food only if soaked black peas were offered to him, from a winnow, by a princess, in chains, with shaved head, who had fasted for three days and who had tears flowing from her eyes. How all these conditions can be operative in one single case ?
For months he used to go from place to place and came back without food because his stipulations could not be fulfilled. But how the fate could allow so great a saint to die for want of food ? The fate had wrought apparent havoc on Chandanbala as if to enable her to fulfill the divine mission of terminating six months fasts of Lord Mahavir !
So the Lord happened to come for alms where Chandanbala was thinking to offer food to some Muni. He saw all his stipulations coming true. Here was a princess in chains with cleaned shaven head, having fasted for three days, offering black peas from winnowing pan. Chandanbala was happy to see the great ascetic in front of her and cheerfully offered the peas. For Lord this was the right situation for accepting food. But nay, where were the tears ? He declined the offer and turned back.
Chandanbala felt intensely miserable that the sage did not accept her offer for food. She started crying terribly and tears began to roll down her eyes as she repeatedly entreated the great ascetic to accept her humble offer. The Lord looked back and saw the tears rolling down her cheeks. Now all his hard stipulations were operative and he willingly accepted the food offered by her.
There was a thunderous cheer outside. For months people of Koshambi were watching the great ascetic moving from place to place and going back without food. There were a number of his admirers who were concerned that he was not accepting food. They used to follow the Lord at some distance since he did not desire any company and wanted to stay alone. All those admirers were filled with joy as he ultimately accepted food from Chandanbala. They rushed in, showered flowers and perfumes over her and offered good food and fancy clothes. There were some artisans too. They were quick in breaking her chains and there was joy and pleasure everywhere.When Dhanavah came back, his pleasures knew no bounds as he learnt about the miraculous event. Almost the whole city turned out there. Muladevi also dared to come back to see the unbelievable occasion. She requested her husband for forgiveness. But he was too mad at her wickedness to forgive. Chandanbala however persuaded him to forgive. She asked him to think that the fate had perhaps prompted Muladevi to do what she did only to enable her to fulfill the vow of the Lord. He ultimately accepted her request and forgave his wife thus wiping out all ill feelings not befitting that auspicious occasion.

MAHASATI CHANDANBALA

In Jain scriptures we have narration of many “Satis” (noble women) whose chastity, trustworthiness, patience and endurance were put to the test with all kinds of hardships and difficulties in life.
Among the famous “Satis” the story of Chandanbala is well known. Just as Mahasati Brahmi (daughter of the first Tirhtankar, Lord Adinath) became the leader of nuns during her time, Chandanbala became the leader of Jain nuns during Lord Mahavir’s time.
In the year 600 BC, the king of Champa, Dadhivahan and his wife, Dharini, had a daughter named Vasumati. She grew up to be a beautiful girl. Under the influence of her religious mother, she herself became very religious minded. Because of her calm and gentle nature she was called Chandan (Sandalwood) and later known as Chandanbala.
One day the beautiful princess dreamed that the whole kingdom of Champa was drowning in an ocean of sorrow and in the end she saw that she was the only person who could save it. The nightmare was so frightening, it shook her up. She related the nightmare to her mother with tears. Her mother tried to console her by telling her that the gist of religion is “Not to be overwhelmed by happiness, and never to be discouraged by misery. One can’t fight the power of destiny and Karma. It is needless to worry about it so let us just wait and see what happens.”
Her dream was a premonition to the sorry fate of Champa. King Shatnik of Kaushambi suddenly attacked Champa. His soldiers surrounded the town. He disregarded the treaty that he had signed with Dadhivahan and attacked the kingdom. Dadhivahan called his ministers and asked for advice. The ministers were all mad with rage and wanted war but Dadhivahan explained, “Our army is very small and is not organized nor well-prepared for this sudden attack so there will be unnecessary bloodshed on our side. I will first talk to Shatnik and try to reason with him.”
Dadhivahan went to Shatnik and requested him, “Oh Shatnik, first of all we are both related as our wives are sisters and there is no point in destroying two related families. Secondly, be a man of your own promise and don’t break the treaty that has been signed and honored by us for so many years !” Shatnik said haughtily, “I don’t care for our relation nor do I care for the treaty. All I am interested in is expanding the boundaries of my kingdom. Go back and meet me in the battlefield, or like a coward renounce your kingdom and live in exile.”
Dadhivahan. who was a very religiously inclined person decided he would renounce the kingdom rather than fight a war which would bring unnecessary bloodshed when there was no chance to win at all.
When he told his ministers about his decision to give up without a war, the ministers were very unhappy. They felt humiliated that their king had given up his kingdom without a war. They got all the soldiers together and declared war. Many soldiers fought and many of them were killed by the overpowering army of Shatnik. Finally Shatnik and his men were all over Champa, looting the wealth of the citizens and rejoicing.
Queen Dharini said to her daughter, “Vasumati, your dream has come true. The king has left us, the people of Champa are miserable, and there is no one to protect us know. However, it is better to die than to renounce our beliefs and principles of living.”
Suddenly, a charioteer entered the palace looking for wealth to loot. When he saw the beautiful queen and the princess he forgot about wealth and captured them and took them into a deep jungle. His intentions were not honorable.
When the queen realized that this man was overpowered by lust, she pulled her tongue inward (choked herself), and ended her life to save her honor and chastity rather than be a prey to the desires of that charioteer. The charioteer was really surprised and shocked by the queen’s death. He suddenly came back to his senses and was filled with remorse.
As Vasumati (Chandanbala) stood there looking at her mother, she knew that the only way she could save her honor was to end her life. When she started to choke herself the charioteer started weeping bitterly and said, “Oh Mahasati, Oh princess, you are like a daughter to me. I have already committed a big crime, so I beg you to please come with me and give me a chance to repent for my misdeed.”
She was very unhappy and angry but with her strength of religion she learned to suppress her anger and forgave the charioteer, who called her his daughter, and invited her to stay in his house. Then, they both cremated the queen in the jungle and left for Kaushambi where the charioteer lived.
The charioteer’s wife was waiting for her husband to come home with his chariot loaded with riches from Champa but when the charioteer arrived, his wife saw no sign of wealth, but saw a beautiful girl getting off the chariot.
She was confused and angry and asked the girl, “Who are you ?” (Chandan thought to herself, if I tell this woman the truth, the king of Kaushambi, her uncle, will be very angry and kill the charioteer. So she decided to keep her identity a secret. “Oh mother,” Chandan replied, “The charioteer has adopted me as his daughter and brought me here to live with you.”
The wife could not believe that her husband could be so foolish as to bring a girl with him instead of riches. However, she started to think, may be the charioteer has fallen for the girl’s beauty and someday soon this girl might become his wife and then he will discard me.
Chandan began to live with them. Her stepmother ill-treated her and made her do all the household chores. One day, the charioteer said to Chandan, “Daughter, this is your house. Why do you work like a slave ? Eat well and be happy here.”
When his wife heard this she got angry and said, “Oh yes ! Now I know that she is going to become your new wife soon ! The rich city of Champa was looted; but you, you could not bring anything. I had high hopes that you would at least bring 100 pieces of gold. Instead of wealth you brought me this girl, a big problem, to make me miserable forever. Even now you can sell this girl as a slave and get me 100 pieces of gold. Get me wealth or I will spread the rumor around the own that my husband got himself a new wife and then I will commit suicide.”
The charioteer was angry when he heard this and said. “Do as you please ! You can’t hurt my good name by your false rumors.” Everyday there were heated arguments between the two. Chandan started thinking, “Because of me my adopted parents are so miserable !” She said to her father, “Oh father, why are you talking to my mother with such harsh words. I can’t bear to see you both so unhappy. I want to go and be sold in the market so you can get the money to make my mother happy.” With these words Chandan left the house, and the charioteer with a heavy heart, had no choice but to follow her.
This beautiful princess stood on a platform in the center of the marketplace and began to shout. “Oh people of Kaushambi, I wish to be sold as a slave to any man who is willing to give my father 100 pieces of gold. I can do all the work that could be expected of a slave.” Seeing a beautiful girl in the middle of the marketplace, thousands of people gathered around. Many came forward to strike a deal but none could afford the high price of 100 pieces of gold.
In the afternoon a prostitute who had heard that a beautiful girl was selling herself accepted the offer and started to take the girl home. Chandan asked the prostitute, “Madam, what kind of work will I have to do at your place !” The prostitute said, “Oh my pretty girl, all you have to do is adorn yourself in beautiful clothes and entertain men.” Chandan exclaimed, “Oh madam, please forgive me, but I cannot come with you because I have a religious vow of staying a virgin all my life !” The prostitute was angry and said, “The deal is already made. You have to come with me.” Then she told her maids, “Drag this girl home !”
Chandan started worshipping God and asking for his help. Seeing this the charioteer pulled his sword out of the case and told the maids to leave her. All of a sudden from nowhere came a whole army of monkeys who attacked the prostitute. The monkeys started scratching the prostitute’s whole body with their nails. She was screaming for help but no one wanted to get in the midst of these monkeys.
Suddenly Chandan opened her eyes after meditation and said to the monkeys, “Oh monkeys stop hurting this lady !” The monkeys obeyed and disappeared. The prostitute was surprised to see the girl’s power of worship and strength. She thought, “This girl is a real saint,” and fell at Chandan’s feet and said, “Oh Mahasati ! Please forgive me.” At this time Chandan gave her a sermon on the importance of chastity and the power of worship and meditation. The prostitute was so impressed that she gave up her business of ill-repute forever.
After this incident, Chandan was again shouting “Someone please come forward and buy me.” As she was shouting, the charioteer was weeping and saying to himself. “Oh how unfortunate I am that this pure angel, who was in my home, is moving out today !”
It so happened that in the evening a millionaire by the name of Sheth Dhanna was passing by. When he saw this beautiful angel, he knew right away from her appearance that this was no ordinary girl, but a pure angel. He was willing to buy her, but as he started to pay, Chandan asked, “You are buying me but first let me know what kind of work I will have to do at your house.” Dhanna Sheth said, “Oh daughter, all you will have to do is practice your religion and meditation. When some holy men pass by, please serve them meals at my house so you and my family will both have the opportunity to be blessed.”
Shethji gave 100 pieces of gold to the charioteer. When the charioteer refused to accept the money, Chandan tried to force him to accept it for her mother’s sake. She said, “Oh father if you go home without the pieces of gold my mother will be miserable, and as long as she is miserable you will not have peace. Therefore, you must take it.” Chandan told Shethji to send the gold to the charioteer’s house in a cart. When the charioteer’s wife saw the gold, she was very very happy !
The problem that Chandan tried to get rid of, arose here again. Shethji’s wife, Moola, was extremely jealous of Chandan’s beauty. Though Chandan always addressed Moola as ‘mother’, Moola was still jealous and constantly harassed Chandan. She cursed her and called her names. One of the maids tried to reason with Moola and told her “Oh madam, this girl has a pure and good character. Dispel all your doubts about an affair between your husband and this girl. It is just not true.” Moola became angry and twisted the ear of the maid and threw her out of her house.
One day Chandan had just washed her long beautiful hair and was drying it in the sun. At that moment, Shethji came from work and asked for water to wash his feet. As Chandan was pouring the water on Shethji’s feet, her long hair covered her face and hindered her vision. The simple hearted Shethji held her hair back as she was pouring the water.
When Moola saw this, she was convinced that Shethji had plans to marry Chandan and make her his bride. Shethji suspected that his wife was ill-treating Chandan so he always made sure that Chandan had everything and was not ill-treated.
However, one day Shethji had to leave to tend to business in another town. Moola seized this opportunity and began to beat Chandan. Chandan begged Moola to believe her and told her to put her to test. Moola was angry and said, “OK, now I will test you.” Moola cut Chandan’s beautiful long hair, tied chains on her hands and feet, and locked her in a dark cellar of the house. After locking Chandan in the cellar, Moola went to visit her mother who lived in the same town.
It was four full days and Chandan was still tied up in the dark cellar. Despite her predicament, she was neither unhappy nor angry. She considered this an opportunity for self-perception and meditation.
In the afternoon of the fourth day, Shethji arrived from his trip. He found the house locked so he got his keys and opened the door and started to call, “Is someone home ? Chandan where are you ?” When Chandan heard his voice she said, “Oh father, I am here in the cellar.”
When Shethji saw Chandan chained up, he was so shocked that he fainted. After sometime he regained consciousness and began to cry like a child. She tried to get him up on his feet by saying, “Oh father, I have been hungry for the past three days. Please get up and give me some food.”
Shethji got up and wiped his tears and started looking for food in the kitchen. The only food he found was lentils which had been cooked three days earlier. He could not find a dish or bowl so he made a cone from dried leaves and gave her the lentils. As Chandan got the food, she went on aspiring herself, “Oh, I wish I could share this food with some person.” Shethji had left the house to get a blacksmith to unlock Chandan’s chains.
At this auspicious moment, Lord Mahavir suddenly appeared at the threshold. He was in the twelfth year of penance. He had taken a vow of having thirteen requirements met as a precondition for accepting his alms from any lady at any house meaning that if any of these requirements was missing, he would not take food. The thirteen requirements were:
(1) Good character
(2) Princess
(3) Should have been bought from somewhere
(4) Should have a shaven head
(5) Should be wearing only one cloth
(6) Have chains on her feet
(7) Have handcuffs on her hands
(8) Should be hungry and thirsty for the past three days
(9) Should have one foot inside and one foot outside the threshold
(10) Should be carrying boiled lentils in a cone made from a dried leaf
(11) Should be happy
(12) Should have tears in her eyes
(13) The time should be the third part of the day
Chandan immediately knew that a saint was at her doorstep. She was so happy and excited that she ran up the steps to greet the Lord. Her chains suddenly broke and she was free ! When the Lord looked at her, he thought that twelve of the conditions of my vow are being met here, but I need all thirteen of them to be fulfilled.
So he started to walk away without accepting the alms. As he walked away, Chandan was disappointed and tears began to flow from her eyes. “Oh Lord, if you can’t be with me today, then who will be on my side ? Oh no ! It is not possible ! If God himself walks away from his worshippers, then who will worship him ?”
As soon as the Lord saw tears in the eyes of the girl, all of his conditions were fulfilled and he returned to accept the food. At this moment, the air was filled with songs of Chandan’s praise. “Oh blessed is the daughter of king Dadhivahan and queen Dharini; princess Chandan is a “Mahasati” who has blessed this world by offering the Lord his meal after a fast of more than five months.”
Suddenly, her hair grew back and her beauty was restored. There was a golden throne on which Chandan was seated. There was a shower of gold coins, flowers and other such heavenly objects from heaven.
At this time Moola heard of the shower of gold and came and began to collect the coins. A voice from heaven said “No one should touch those coins ! They are for auspicious celebrations and are to be used when Mahasati renounces the world to become a nun.” Moola was disappointed and returned home where she found the beautiful princess seated on a golden throne.
Chandan stepped down from her throne and said “Oh mother, please come and be seated on the throne.” At this moment, Shethji arrived with the locksmith and was overjoyed to see this scene. Chandan explained the whole story and invited her father to sit on the throne next to her mother.
The news spread far and wide. The charioteer and his wife came to worship her. Even the prostitute who had already given up her trade came to worship the Mahasati. King Shatnik and his queen, Mrigavati, heard the news and came to worship her. They begged for her forgiveness for their ruthless attack on her father’s kingdom and begged her to return with them and live in their palace.
Chandan seized this opportunity to preach to the king and said, “Those palaces, where for the greed of power, people are slaughtered, where unjust greedy people like you live - are you asking me to come there ? Persons like you who forced my father to leave his kingdom, my mother to commit suicide and me to be sold as a commodity in the market ? Now why are you asking me to go to those palaces ?”
Shatnik was very ashamed and begged her to come to his palace so he could wash all the impurity and sins of his palace with the footprints of this holy princess. When he insisted, she sought permission of her father and begged him to let her go. After her first meal, she went to Shatnik’s palace and inquired about her natural father, king Dadhivahan.
People went in search of him in the forest and when they found him they insisted that he must come home for his daughter’s sake. King Shatnik welcomed him, begged for forgiveness and returned Champa to Dadhivahan. Chandan was very happy and they both talked about their lives in the past few years.
After twelve years, Lord Mahavir was enlightened. Indrabhuti and other Brahmins embraced the monkshood with the blessing of Lord Mahavir.
Chandan heard the news and wanted to become a nun. Her family tried to persuade her to marry a prince but she refused and went to Lord Mahavir. All the royal families got together and gave her permission and had a great celebration for her.
Chandan became the leader of the nuns. 36,000 nuns accepted her supervision and obeyed her. After deep meditation, she was enlightened. All the people gathered and shouted: “Victory to the liberated soul of Mahasati Chandanbala !”