Jain Cosmography [6]

Posted: 12.12.2011
Updated on: 25.09.2012

Shri Astapadji Tirth

The first Tirthankara lord Rishabhdev died on this place. If one can visit this place of pilgrimage once in a life, he gets ultimate salvation and liberation in that birth only. Such a very significant place of Astapad is located in north of Himalya. It is 185,000 gau (one say 1 gau is equal to 2 miles or 3-2 km) far from Shri Siddh Giri (Palitana). It is located at the south gate of Jambudwip in the middle of Vaitadhya and near the Ayodhya city of Bharat Kshetra. It is a mountain which is as wide as 526 yojans and 6 kala. Its height is 32 kosh (one kosh is equal to 4 gaus). It has eight steps (asta pad), one step is as high as one yojan.

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The region around the Jambu tree (19th century, Rajasthan)

 

The city Ayodhya is near this tirth. Its length is 12 yojans. Lord Rishabhdev, son of king Nabhi, along with 10,000 monks, died here on 12th dark day month of Magh in this Avasarpini period's 3rd ara, when there were 84 lakh years were remaining for this ara's completion. In his memory, his son, Bharat Chakravati made the land surface flat on all its sides and installed 24 Tirthankras idols made from diamond and pearls. Each idol has the size of the original size of all the Tirthankaras as well as the same colour of they originally had. The signs of each Tirthankara have been also established like original ones and they are attended by the Yakshas and Yakshinis. Chakravarti Bharat also established the idols of Mother Maru Devi, 99 Brother Monks and the two Sisters, Brahmi and Sundari. The temple has 84 Pandols and its name is Sinh-Nishadha. In the Astapad tirth, in the east of Meru mountain, there are idols of Lord Adishwar and Ajitnath. In the south there are idols of Lord Sambhavnath, Abhinandan, Sumtinath and Padmaprabhu. In the west are the idols of Lord Suparshvanath, Chandraprabhu, Suvidhinath, Shitalnath, Shreyansnath, Vasupujya, Vimalnath and Anantnath. In the north there are idols of Arnath, Mallinath, Munisuvrat Swami, Naminath , Neminath, Parshvanath and Mahavir Swami. Thus, in all directions there are 2 + 4 + 8 + 10 = 24 idols.

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Depiction of an enthroned Ganadhar with a lotus beneath the throne (West India, 1411 CE).

 

On this holy place, the first Gandhar (principal disciple) of Lord Mahavir Swami, named Gautam Swami, had composed a Sutra named Jag Chintamani. Ravan and Mandodari performed excellent dance as devotion to the Tirthankara, and Ravan has been awarded the reward of himself becoming a Tirthankara. In the next series of 24 Tirthankaras Shri Gautam Swami, while returning from this tirth, has offered milk-sweet to 1503 Tapas with the power of his 'Labdhi', a special power of unending prosperity. This resulted in ultimate knowledge of these 1503 Tapas, thanks to Shri Gautam Swami's great grace. Today this tirth - a place of pilgrimage is almost ruined. But if one offers total devotion to this tirth, one surely gets ride of troubles. 60,000 Sagar-sons sacrificed their own precious lives in efforts to protect this tirth.

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jainuniversity.org (revised and extended)

Photos: Jain Cosmology

Compiled by PK