Story of Bahubali

Published: 26.08.2005
Updated: 19.11.2014

Lord Rishabhdev had a son named Bharat. He wanted to be the sovereign over all kings. Hence, he returned home after conquering all the kings of India. But he soon realized that his younger brother Bahubali was not under his rule. Hence, he sent a messenger to Bahubali, the King of Taksashila to come to him. He hoped that Bahubali would surrender to him.

But Bahubali was not prepared to see his brother as a vassal. When Bharat came to know this, he was very angry. He, therefore, ordered his army to march and invade Taksashila.

A long battle was fought. Many people were killed but there was no decisive outcome. Bharat saw that much of his army was decimated. Hence, he felt very anxious.

After the battle, Bahubali went to see his brother. He wanted to know if Bharat had any trouble.

Then Bharat suggested to Bahubali to stop the war and proposed a duel between the two. Bahubali agreed to this.

They decided to wage five kinds of duels. In four duels, Bharat was defeated. There remained only the duel to be fought with fists. So Bahubali asked his brother to attack him first for he feared that his brother Bharat would not be able to bear the blow of his fist. Realizing his weakness, Bharat struck the first blow. This blow made Bahubali falter to the ground; but, he soon got up and regained his poise.

Now it was Bahubali's turn. Bharat became fearful when he saw his brother aiming a blow. So forgetting the canons of war, he threw his lightning disc. But the disc returned to Bharat, for it would not kill a relative. Seeing this unfair play, Bahubali got very angry. So he again aimed at Bharat to give him a blow with his fist.

But lo! A wonder happened. He stopped mid-way and did not give the blow of the fist. He thought, “Why should I kill my brother?”

He began to shed tears. He said, “Take my kingdom of Taksashila. I am not going to gain anything by this kingdom of mine except for external wealth and happiness.”

Then Bahubali became a monk and began to practise hard penance. He remained deeply engrossed in meditation for many months. Creepers grew around him and entwined his body. Birds had built their nests in his matted hair and beard.

Lord Rishabhdev had two daughters named Brahmi and Sundari. They had become nuns many years ago. Once they asked their father, “ Where is Bahubali at present? Has he attained Kevalgnan, the highest knowledge?”

Bhagwan Rishabhdev replied, “No, he has not attained the eternal knowledge. He is still in meditation. An obstacle prevents him from attaining that knowledge.”

They asked him what that obstacle was. “Well, shallow pride works as an obstacle in this case. He is required to offer his salutations and obeisance to monks senior to him. And he does not want to do this. Hence, he has still not called on the seniors. The moment this ego goes, he will attain the divine light.”

Both the nuns went to the place where their brother Bahubali was meditating. They began to recite hymns before him. They asked their brother to get down from the back of the elephant. They sang this throughout the day. They continued to sing even in the dark night.

Bahubali happened to at last hear that song. His consciousness was slowly returning to him. He then began to think, “Am I riding an elephant? Where is that elephant? The nuns can't be wrong!”

The meaning of the whole song became clear to him. He realized that ego (pride) was the elephant. One cannot attain eternal bliss without giving up ego (pride).

He then looked within. He rooted out his ego (pride). He now had self-realization. He regretted the ego (pride) that had blurred his vision.

Then, giving up his ego (pride) he stepped out to see Bhagwan Rishabhdev, and all the obstacles blocking the eternal light vanished.

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Bahubali
  2. Body
  3. Consciousness
  4. Meditation
  5. Pride
  6. Rishabhdev
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