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.