Glory of Jainism: Sadhvi Yaksha

Published: 05.09.2012

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Sadhvi Yaksha

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

In the court of Nandraja Mahapadma there was an arrogant poet named Vararuchi. But his arrogance melted before the power of memory of the seven sisters in the King's court. Consequently, the poet Vararuchi plotted against Shaktal. With a view to proving the truth, Shaktal ordered his younger son to slay him in the presence of the king and his family. Shriyak killed his own father in the royal court in accordance with his father's order. The daughters were greatly shocked and moved by the unparalleled sacrifice. They realized the transience of wealth, power and worldly happiness. Hence all the seven sisters decided to accept the path of renunciation. In the wake of Shaktal's death, his son Sthulbhadra and the seven learned sisters accepted initiation from Acharya Shri Sambhutivijayji.

Shriyak, the younger brother, also accepted sadhu's way of life but he was unable to keep a fast. Once on the occasion of the paryushan holy festival, Sadhvi Yaksha explained to her brother Shriyak the significance of discipline and penance and added that it would only be by the fire of penance that his karmas would be destroyed. She also added that in case he could not observe a fast on such an auspicious day, he should perform at least ekasanu (taking food only once a day). By means of such a small but sincere beginning he would be able to proceed on the path of penance. Inspired by his elder sister, muni Shriyak took an oath to observe ekasanu. Till mid-day he passed his time very easily and so Sadhvi Yaksha suggested him to observe fast the whole day. Out of sheer over-enthusiasm, Shriyak muni decided to keep fast for that day. But at night he was tortured by thirst and hunger and perhaps because of excessive thirst, muni Shriyak lost his life.

As Sadhvi Yaksha came to know about muni Shriyak's death, she suffered extreme distress, intense repentance and excessive self-disgust. Shreesangh told her repeatedly that she was not at fault in this matter but for days together she did not take any food or water. Shreesangh was extremely distressed. Sadhvi Yaksha said that she would accept food and water only if some person with absolute and pure knowledge would say that she was innocent.

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

Sources
Title: Glory Of Jainism
Artist:

Ashok Saha and Prathana Saha

Publisher:

Shri Anilbhai Gandhi (Trustee),
Shri-108-Jain-Tirth-Darshan-Bhavan-Trust,
Shri-Samavasaran-Mahamandir,
Palitana - 364270 (India)

Edition: 1998

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharang
  2. Acharya
  3. Discipline
  4. Jinshasan
  5. Karmas
  6. Muni
  7. Paryushan
  8. Sadhvi
  9. Sutra
  10. Yaksha
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