Story of Kapil Kevali

Posted: 06.12.2010
Updated on: 23.07.2012

A Story of Kapil Kevali

Jain philosophy very specifically mentions that human desires are as infinite as the sky itself. Muni Shri Kapil Kevali’s life is one such rare instance of unique divine light that dawns on a person who abandons worldly life full of infinite desires.

Kapil, son of the state minister Kashyap of Kaushambi city, was brought up in indulgence and had therefore remained totally unlettered. On seeing the palanquin of the learned state minister, who had replaced Kapil’s father Kashyap, tears rolled down Shridevi’s eyes. She exclaimed: “Alas, her son Kapil was unlettered!” Mother’s tears inspired Kapil to go for studies. He went to Shravasti for studies but there he fell in love with the maid-servant of Shalibhadra. Abandoning studies, he got busy with the problem of livelihood as he had got married. As the time of his wife’s delivery approached, the monetary stress became all the more acute.

The king of the city used to give two masa (a unit of weight) of gold to a person who came to him first in the morning to give him blessings. Thus with a view to reaching the palace first early in the morning Kapil left his house by midnight, but suspecting him to be a thief, the town-police arrested him. The other day Kapil narrated his experience in the court and the king said: “You may ask whatever you want, I shall surely grant it.”

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This was an unexpected surprise, as if an ocean was offered to him when he had asked for a few drops. Kapil therefore decided to reveal his mind the next morning, after careful consideration of the issue. Sitting on a stone-seat in Ashokvatika Kapil thought 100 gold- coins would be better than two masa gold-coins. That led him to demand one crore gold- coins. Meanwhile a worn out leaf fell from the tree and that led him to think that whereas his actual need was that of two masa of gold, he had desired to have one crore gold-coins. One who goes begging loses all considerations of propriety. Desires are unending, have has no limits!

A worn out leaf provided Kapil a very striking reminder of the transient nature of life and world. How ungrateful he was. Driven by strong inducement he was about to deprive the very king of his kingdom who had wished to give him something. He felt that even a thousand gold-coins were of no use to him. Actually he needed two masa of gold. Reflecting still further he thought: “What would I do even with two masa of gold? I should be content with what I have. In contentment lies the real happiness. Greed has a slippery way and yet mind is tempted to go that way.” In satiety is what the mind inhales and it exhales dissatisfaction. At the time when Kapil was deeply engrossed in such thoughts, he had the realisation of jatismaran-gyan (memory of past birth). Attired as a Monk, Kapil had gone to the king who offered him numerous and varied temptations but despite all the offers he succeeded in remaining as firm as the Meru mountain.

Once while Muni Kapil was on his way to Chorpalli in the vicinity of Shravasti city, Balbhadra-chieftain of the robbers-asked him to sing a song. Kapil Muni sang the stories of the eighth adhyay (chapter) of Shri Uttaradhyan Sutra in such a touching tone and appealing tune of drupad rag that it cleansed the wickedness of all the 500 thieves and they all became averse to worldly desires and pleasures. They underwent initiation under the guidance of Kapil Kevali. This Muniraj Kapil Kevali attained nirvan (emancipation). It is said that the famous Bhadreshvar tirtha in Kutch (Gujarat state) was founded at the hands of such a great Kapil Muni.

Source/Info

scribd.com

Compiled by PK

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