Glory of Jainism: Manorama

Published: 21.10.2012

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Manorama

Sudarshan Sheth was a man of sterling character and was put to test very often. Queen Abhaya was the consort of king Dadhivahan of Champapuri city of a country called Ang. She was proud of her beauty and believed that she could ensnare any man. If apsaras (nymphs) could ensnare rishis (sages) who practised severe penance, it was easier for her to make an ordinary man like Sudarshan deviate from his righteous path. Kapila, wife of the purohit, had also made overtures to Sheth Sudarshan but he did not fall into the trap, and she also wanted to avenge her defeat. Once Sudarshan had just finished his meditation, when he saw servants of queen Abhaya approaching him. He was bound and brought to her court. She tried different tricks to bewitch him but failed. She even tried to caress his body but Sudarshan was determined to protect his character. He decided to be in a state of kayotsarg (meditation posture) and not to eat anything till the ordeal was over.

Abhaya had not been successful in leading him astray and her pride was wounded. She caused bruises over her body with her nails and alleged that Sudarshan had tried to violate her chastity. He was produced before the king. King Dadhivahan knew that Sudarshan had a spotless character. When asked about the queen’s allegation of rape, he chose not to open his mouth. He knew that if he told the truth, the queen would be in trouble. It was better, he thought, not to say anything and suffer the consequences himself. The king ordered Sudarshan to be hanged. His face was smeared with black and the body was coloured red. He was seated on a donkey with garlands of exotic flowers. With the beating of broken drums, he was taken round the village. Sudarshan was deep in meditation. The people’s faith in his spotless character had been rudely shaken but his wife, named Manorama, was unperturbed having unshakeable faith in his incorruptible character. She thought that the cause of her husband’s predicament was some evil deeds committed in the previous birth. The only way out of an adverse situation was prayer, she thought, and began to pray.

Sudarshan too was deep in meditation. The courtiers were busy announcing the impending death of Sudarshan for his alleged misdeed. He was to be publicly executed. Manorama prayed and vowed to observe fasts till Sudarshan’s innocence was proved. Shasandevi was pleased by her sincere prayer, devotion and faith in her husband’s character. She blessed her and said that Sudharshan’s life would be spared. Sudarshan was taken to the gallows but the rope broke and in its place people saw a throne. People burst into applause and queen Abhaya stood exposed. She and the king asked for forgiveness and mahasati Manorama and Sheth Sudarshan stood vindicated. It was the triumph of their righteousness. Virtuous people, almost as a rule, have to suffer, have to face ordeals. The same held true for Sudarshan and Manorama. Sudarshan’s character and Manorama’s religious faith were tested. Manorama never doubted Sudharshan’s character and she thought that the allegation against him was the result of pastkarma. The only course open to her was to pray to tide over the crisis. At last both, Sudarshan and Manorama, came through the ordeal unscathed.

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. Abhaya
  2. Body
  3. Champapuri
  4. Kayotsarg
  5. Meditation
  6. Pride
  7. Rishis
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