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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (1) : The first world emperor (Cakravartī) Bharata

Published: 22.03.2016

In the present declining happiness cycle the universal cakravartī emperor of the six parts of Bharata region in Jambūdvīpa was Bharata. He was the first king of this region and was the eldest son among the hundreds of the first Tīrthaṃkara Vṛṣabhanātha. His mother's name was Sumaṃgalā and when king Vṛṣabhanātha was 6 lakh pūrvas (a very unit of time) old at that point he was born from the womb of Sumaṃgalā along with the twin Brāhmī. When Bharata entered her womb his mother saw the 14 auspicious dreams. Explaining the meaning of those dreams to Sumaṃgalā, Vṛṣabhanātha said to her a son of such excellence body shall be born from your womb who shall become the first world emperor (cakravartī) emperor of this earth and in the end, destroying the basic karmas of worldly sorrow such as birth, decay, death, etc., shall become liberated.

In due course, giving birth to a cakravartī son and daughter, beautiful all over, Sumaṃgalā was very happy. A little while after that the second wife of king Vṛṣabhanātha, Sunandā, too, gave birth to twins Bāhubalī and Sundarī. In due course Sumaṃgalā gave birth to 49 twin sons. This way a total hundred brothers, including Bharata and two daughters were all born.

Nourishment / upbringing and education

All children were brought up with a lot of love and care. When they were older, Lord Vṛṣabhanātha himself began to educate them. All the sons were of sharp intellect and very soon they became experts in the 72 skills suitable for men. In the same way Brāhmī and Sundarī, too, received education on grammar and mathematics besides 64 arts conducive to women. When Bharata was 14 lakh pūrvas old, at that time his father Vṛṣabhanātha anointed him to the throne. After ruling justly for 63 lakh pūrvas, handing over Vinītā to his son Bharata and many other kingdoms to Bāhubalī and other sons, he became a renouncer.

When Bharata was seated on the royal throne of Vinītā he was 77 lakh pūrvas old. He began to take care of his subjects with a sense of justice and expediency. He was comparable to Indra of a beautiful form, bright, soft-spoken, valorous and brave. He was very generous, kind and loved his subjects. He held the 1008 excellent insignias of the conch, cakra (wheel), gadā(club), padma (lotus), chatra (parasol), cāmara (fly-whisk), dhvaja (flag), śaśi (moon), Sūrya (sun) etc. The glory of king Bharata began to be sung across all directions.

After 1000 years of Bharata's taking over the throne of Vinītā, on account of his strong meritorious deeds, one day a divine cakra (wheel) appeared in his armoury. Seeing this, keeper of the armoury came at great speed in the presence of the king, gave the news to the king of the appearance of the divine cakra. Hearing this good news from the mouth of the keeper of the armoury, the king was overjoyed. He sent him after giving him gifts, etc. completely satisfying him.

Thereafter, adorning himself with fine robes and jewellery, surrounded by a group of high officials of the kingdom, subjects, elders, king Bharata reached the armoury to see and invoke the cakra jewel. After respectful and auspicious ceremonies to the cakra jewel, Bharata returned to his assembly and seating himself on his royal throne ordered the celebrations for eight days on the auspicious occasion of obtaining the wheel (cakra) jewel. At the time of the completion of the aṣṭāhnikā celebrations the cakra jewel was taken out of the armoury. Invoked by thousands of gods the cakra jewel, surrounded by divine long, intense and sweet notes of music, passed through the skies and past the centre of the Vinītā city and the south bank of river Gaṃgā towards the Magadha tīrtha on the east. King Bharata began to follow the divine cakra with four battalions of army on a consecrated elephant. Passing through the skies, the cakra would pause after every yojana distance, and then the king would rest there with his army. The moment the divine cakra would begin its movement in the sky, the king would resume moving ahead with his army. Kings of provinces that came on the way would accept his sovereignty and give him appropriate gifts. This way, raising the banner of his victory king Bharata reached Magadha tīrtha.

Near Magadha tīrtha emperor Bharata set up a huge army camp at a spot that was 12 yojanas long and 9 yojanas wide. When the camp became well-organised emperor Bharata started to observe a fast in honour of the ruling god of Magadha tīrtha. After completing his austerities the emperor moved his chariot ahead in the direction shown by the cakra jewel and covering parts of the earth with his huge army, moving eastwards from Magadha tīrtha entered the salt ocean.

He marked his aim with an arrow with his name and from his divine bow, pulled his bow-string and released his arrow. The arrow thus released by Bharata crossed a distance of 12 yojanas and fell at the palace of the Lord of Magadha tīrtha. Seeing that arrow in the premises of the palace the Lord of Magadha tīrtha got agitated and angry, but the moment he saw the name inscribed on it, his temper cooled down. He began to think that the cakravartī of Bharata region (kṣetra) in Jambūdvīpa, Bharata, has come to conquer the six parts. It is the tradition of past, present and future Lords of Magadha tīrtha to present him to the cakravartī and offer appropriate gifts.

The moment he thought of this, the Lord of Magadha tīrtha went to cakravartī Bharata with clothes and jewellery, crowns, etc. and the arrow with Bharata's name inscribed on it along with the water of Magadha tīrtha. Amid cried of 'hail-victory', the Lord of Magadha respectfully told emperor Bharata that I salute you as the protector of the last boundary of the eastern direction and offer you some presents on my behalf, pray accept these. Accepting the gifts of Magadha tīrtha's over Lord, emperor Bharata bade him farewell after appropriate honours.

After bidding farewell to the Lord of Magadha tīrtha, Kumāradeva, the emperor returned to his army camp. Breaking his fast, he ordered all his companions and subjects to observe the eight days ceremony of Magadha tīrtha's Kumāradeva. The moment the aṣṭāhnikā ceremony concluded the cakra named Sudarśana came out of the armoury and moved in the direction of Varadāma tīrtha located in between the south and west in the naiṛtyakoṇa. Astride his elephant the emperor Bharata began to follow the cakra with his army. Achieving victory everywhere along the route guided by the cakra, accepting gifts and respected by those he won over, he reached close to Varadāma tīrtha. He ordered his army to set up a camp there and in honour of the over Lord of the Varadāma tīrtha, began his fast. Soon as his fast was over, he started for Varadāma tīrtha guided by the cakra jewel. Halting his chariot near Varadāma tīrtha by the salt ocean, emperor Bharata drew the bow-string, releasing the arrow with his name inscribed on it. The Varadāma tīrtha Lord, too, accepted his sovereignty and said respectfully I am the door-keeper of the southern borders of your kingdom. The emperor Bharata accepted his gifts and after respectful reception and honours, bade him farewell. Returning to the camp with the army the emperor broke his second fast and ordered celebration of eight days in honour of the over Lord of Varadāma tīrtha.

This way in appropriate manner through observing fasts emperor Bharata brought under his suzerainty the entire land in the north-west quarter and reached close to Prabhāsa tīrtha. The Lord of Prabhāsa tīrtha presented gifts to cakravartī Bharata.

Due to the effect of the fourth fast when Siṃdhudevī of the Siṃdhu river bank learnt from clairvoyant knowledge (avadhijṅāna) that the first cakravartī of Bharata, the emperor Bharata is reaching her for taking over the six parts, she went to the emperor with 1008 bejewelled pots, urns (kuṃbha) and many kinds of invaluable gems that are difficult to procure.

Thereafter, emperor Bharata moved ahead towards the Vaitāḍhya Mountain in the northeast. The moment the fifth fast in honour of the Lord of Vaitāḍhya Mountain was completed the seat of the Vaitāḍhya Lord started to tremble. He sensed the arrival and objective of Bharata and presented himself before Bharata with 14 kinds of adornments and vermillion tilaka (mark of good luck on the forehead) for the jewel (strīratna). Bharata welcomed him, accepted his gifts and bade him farewell.

After some time, Bharata approached the Timisra cave. After completion of the sixth fast the throne of the Lord Kṛtamāla, of Timisra, shook. When he realized that emperor Bharata is determined to empower the six divisions (khaṇḍa), he came to emperor Bharata with clothes, jewellery, etc. The emperor accepted the gifts of Kṛtamāla and sent him off with due respects.

After completion of the sixth ceremony emperor Bharata instructed his chief commander, Suṣeṇa, to take the four divisions of the army to conquer the land from the bank of the river Siṃdhu to the Salt Ocean and Vaitāḍhya Mountain and bring all the gems, etc. from there as gifts.

The chief commander Suṣeṇa was famous for his daring, brilliance, expertise in all languages, the knowledge of all the secret and indomitable places in Bharata region, expertise in weaponry and scripture, well-versed in economics and polity and was invincible in courage. Coming to the army camp, he left for the river Siṃdhu along with the well-equipped army. Coming close to the river Siṃdhu the chief commander held up Bharata Cakravartī's cakra jewel. The cakra jewel turned into a huge boat. The commander-in-chief sat inside that boat along with the entire army and after sometime, alighting at the western part of the River Siṃdhu, started his victory campaign. He gained victory over Siṃhala, Aṃgaloka, and the island of the Yavanas (Yavanadvīpa), Arabia, Rome, all countries up north up to the mountain Vaitāḍhya. The kings of the countries that were won over gave Cakravartī Bharata gifts of hordes of invaluable things through the army-general and accepted emperor Bharata as their sovereign and took refuge under him.

The General offered them all due respect and after some political discussions, sent them back. Following emperor Bharata's instructions over all the defeated provinces crossing the Siṃdhu River, the General came to the emperor. After giving the General and the army some days of rest, one day emperor Bharata ordered General Suṣeṇa to open the southern entrance of the Timisra cave. As per the emperor's instructions, the General offered worship to the Kṛtamāla Lord through a fast in the fasting hall and at the end of it, reached the southern entrance of the Timisra cave along with all the materials of worship. There was also a group of many provincial chiefs, caravan and its maids and attendants with the General. After due worship of the entrance the General saluted the door with folded hands and hit the door with full force using the powerful and competent staff of emperor Bharata. Thus, after hitting the door thrice the doors made a huge rumbling sound and moved backward and opened up wide. The General went to the emperor and gave him news of the doors opening, making the emperor very happy. He honoured the army-general.

At the same time, the cakra jewel too, came out of the armoury and began to move in the direction of the southern entrance of the Timisra cave. Emperor Bharata, too, reached the southern entrance and entered the cave. While entering that dark cave named Timisraprabhā emperor Bharata took in his hands a Kākiṇī gem. With its impact the Timisra cave became luminescent with light that shone as far as 12 yojanas. Two fearsome rivers named Unmagnajalā and Nimagnajalā flow in the middle of Timisraprabhā cave. These two rivers rise out of the eastern part of the cave and merge into River Siṃdhu on the west. River Unmagnajalā throws out anything that falls into it after whirling it thrice, whereas Nimagnajalā whirls anything that falls into it thrice and drowns it into its depths.

Emperor Bharata instructed his gem to build a strong bridge over those two rivers through which he moved with his army towards the northern entrance of the Timisra cave. As soon as Bharata reached there the northern doors opened up on their own with a rumbling sound. The emperor moved ahead with the army. At that time, prosperous and vibrant people of Mleccha clan by name of Āpāta used to live in the northern part of the Bharata region. Their warehouses were full of gold, gems and ample food grains. They had abundant supply of forces and chariots. By themselves they were strong, healthy, courageous fighters and were unfailing in their aim in the battlefield. When they saw the emperor's army advancing from the foremost end of their region, they held mutual discussions and equipped with different kinds of weapons and arms charged on the first battalion of Bharata's army.

From this kind of attack of the Āpātas, the small battalion of Bharata's army was wounded and terrified and started to flee. Seeing this condition of his army the emperor's General got onto the horse named Kamalasena and taking emperor Bharata; staff, pounced on the Āpātas with the speed of Garuḍa. None of the valiant soldiers of the Kirātas was able to beat General Suṣeṇa. They felt so defeated, troubled and uncertain about what to do that they left the battleground and ran several yojanas behind, and not finding any path, after due discussions, spread out on the sands at the banks of Siṃdhu river and observing a fast, completely naked, lay down with their faces to the sky and began to invoke their god, the Nāgakumāra named Meghamukha. By the impact of the worship of those Kirātas the seat of the Nāgakumāras trembled.

The Nāgakumāras came to the Kirātas and while staying in the clouds, asked them as to what they could do for them. Hearing the speech of their clan deities thus, the Kirātas were very happy and said –"Some bad person has attacked our country and wants to grab our independence, you may punish them, dissipate their strength and chase them away so that they will never have the guts to attack us anymore. "Hearing the Kirātas the Nāgakumāras told them the person attacking you is the Cakravartī emperor Bharata, who cannot be harmed by any god, demon or gandharva nor can be defeated, yet out of love for you we shall try to fix the king Bharata and trouble him.

Reassuring the Kirātas thus, the Meghamukha Nāgakumāras assumed the form of clouds and sent black clouds over his camp and produced torrential rains. Seeing these extraordinary showers king Bharata held his whisk jewel (carmaratna) which at once spread out across 12 yojanas. The emperor sat on it with his army and his divine umbrella jewel enveloped everybody. This way the entire army was protected. The king placed his gem in the midst of the protective umbrella, which created a bright light. Everything that the army needed could be acquired by the gem. This way the army was safe under the umbrella and the gem even as torrential rains continued to pour on the other end. For seven days this was the situation so emperor Bharata began to wonder as to who is so unhappy with my victory and is creating these hurdles in our path.

Seeing the emperor thus worried, 16 thousand heavenly beings with him reached the Nāgakumāras equipped with all kinds of war equipment and called out aloud, "why are you causing pain to emperor Bharata creating hurdles in his path? It would be better if you gave up this unjust deed and returned to your place, else we shall be forced to do something?" Hearing this, the Nāgakumāras were frightened. They stopped the rains immediately and clearing all the clouds, told the Kirātas that the Cakravartī Bharata is a great powerful emperor who is prosperous and accomplished; nobody can destroy him. Our effort and aim to cause him discomfort have been in vain. It would be good if you too accept his suzerainty and gifting many valuable jewels to him take refuge under him and apologies to him.

After the Nāgakumāras left the Kirātas had a bath and meditated and in wet clothes and their hair left open, reached king Bharata with lots of gems, jewels, etc. as gifts and pleaded with him, saying, and "O king! May you live long, may you rule over the entire Bharata to the north and the south. We shall obey your orders, remaining subordinate to your Lordship." Thus they accepted the suzerainty of king Bharata.

Calling his army General, king Bharata ordered him to win over kingdoms located in the regions of in the east Siṃdhu, mountain Vaitāḍhya in the south, the Salt Ocean in the west and mountain Himavaṃta in the north. As per the orders of the king, the General started on his victorious expedition along with the four-fold army divisions. Within very little time he won over all the regions and made them part of Cakravartī Bharata's vast empire and gaining valuable gifts from there, presented them to Cakravartī Bharata. Very happily the king conferred honours on the General and gifting the entire army personnel asked them to rest for some time.

One day the cakra jewel again emerged from the armoury and through the skies began to move towards the northeast corner. The king's army, following the cakra jewel, reached close to the mountain Cullahimavaṃta where the cakra jewel stationed itself in the sky. The king ordered the army to camp there. King Bharata started his fast in the fasting hall. This was Bharata's seventh fast in the course of his campaign to win over the six parts of Bharata. On completion of his fast king Bharata took aim with his bow and released the arrow upwards. The arrow went several yojanas up and landed at the palace of Kumāradeva of the mountain Cullahimavaṃta. Recognising the arrow that had fallen in his palace, Kumāradeva understood the situation and he presented himself before Bharata, taking along with him various kinds of invaluable medicines, flower garlands, gośīrṣa sandalwood, etc. King Bharata accepted his gifts and bade him farewell with appropriate honour and ceremony.

He then turned his chariot backwards and came to mountain Ṛṣabhakūṭa. After touching Ṛṣabhakūṭa mountain thrice with his chariot he wrote the following script on the eastern entrance of the mountain with his Kākiṇī jewel: "I am Bharata, the cakravartī, sovereign Lord and first ruler and king Bharata of the second half of the third ārā of the declining happiness  cycle. I have won over the entire Bharata and I have no enemies."

Having done that, Bharata reached the camp with his army. He broke the seventh fast and making his subjects happy in many ways, ordered the aṣṭāhnikā ceremony in honour of Kumāra of mountain Himavaṃta. After completion of the ceremony, following the cakra jewel the king Bharata reached mountain Vaitāḍhya in the southern direction. There to honour the Vaitāḍhya gods Namī and Vinamī, king Bharata observed a fast. Consequently, by the time the fast was completed, entered Namī with clothes and jewellery and Vinamī with the female jewel named Subhadrā endowed with beauty of form and grace and qualities of a woman in the presence of the king Bharata. Bharata accepted the Vidyādharas' gifts and after due respects and ceremony, sent them. The subjects observed the aṣṭāhnikā ceremony.

At the end of the ceremony the cakra jewel emerged from the armoury and took to the skies in the northeast direction. Following the cakra with his army Bharata reached close to Gaṃgādevī. There in honour of Gaṃgādevī Bharata observed the 9th fast in the fasting hall. On completion of the fast Gaṃgādevī came to Bharata with offerings of beautifully decorated and gem-studded urns, thousand and eight in number, and the gold thrones. Accepting these from Gaṃgādevī he sent her off with due respect and honour. After Gaṃgādevī left he broke his ninth fast, and making people satisfied giving them many kinds of facilities, he instructed them to hold aṣṭāhnikā ceremony in honour of Gaṃgādevī.

After completion of the ceremony of Gaṃgādevī, the cakra jewel came out of the armoury and took skywards towards the southern direction of the west banks of river Gaṃgā and stopped close to the Khaṇḍaprapāta cave. The king observed a fast in the fasting hall in honour of the Lord of the Khaṇḍaprapāta cave, Naityamāla. This was his tenth fast in which he meditated upon the Naityamāla god. On completion of the fast the Naityamāla god appeared before Bharata and with hands folded, said, "I, Naityamāla god, living in your kingdom, am your servant. May you please accept these gifts?" King Bharata accepted the gifts of Naityamāla god and after due respects, bade him farewell. After the Naityamāla god left, Bharata broke his tenth fast and ordered the aṣṭāhnikā ceremony in honour of Naityamāla god.

Soon as the ceremony was over, Bharata called the army General Suṣeṇa. Getting instructed by him, Suṣeṇa established control over the Salt Ocean east of the river Gaṃgā, until the Vaitāḍhya  mountain in the south and Cullahimavaṃta and all the rest of the geographical area in the north both easy and difficult to conquer thus taking reins of that specific area.

After resting for a few days the king called for Suṣeṇa. After receiving instructions from the Lord, Suṣeṇa got the doors of the Khaṇḍaprapāta cave's northern entrance just as his ad the entrance of the Timisraprabhā cave and he intimated king Bharata of it. With the help of his Kākiṇī gem, the king lit up the pathway of the Khaṇḍaprapāta cave, which he entered, and came out from the southern entrance. After exiting the cave the king prepared for the army to camp there and started a fast for procuring the nine treasures. This was the king's eleventh fast. Sitting on a seat of grass (darbha) the king meditated single-mindedly on the treasures. By the end of the fast the treasures came to stay with king Bharata. He broke his fast and ordered the aṣṭāhnikā ceremony for the treasures.

Upon completion of the ceremony the king ordered his General to conquer the area east of the river Gaṃgā. The General did as commanded and completed his victory campaign.

Sometime after this the cakra jewel came out of the armoury and taking the sky route, move through the king's army camp, towards the Vinītā city. The king was pleased seeing this. He ordered the army to move towards Vinītā city. After completing 60 thousand years of his victorious campaign over the six parts of the entire Bharata emperor Bharata returned to the capital of his kingdom Vinītā. In the forefront the eight auspicious things, followed by the pitcher, ewer, the divine umbrella, and those holding the gem studded staff and umbrella began to walk. Following them, were in respective order: 7 ekendriyaratna, nine treasures, 16, 000 devas, 32, 000 kings, the army general, 5 ratnas, etc. Following them were thousands of ṛtukalyāṇikā, janapada Kalyāṇaka, theatre artistes, cooks, the four-fold army, many kings gods, princes, swordsmen, charioteers, staff holders, singers singing songs, instrumentalists, dancers, and following them were well-decorated horses. Behind them was king Bharata astride the elephant Ratna. He was followed by a convoy of horse riders.

Reaching Vinītā city, ordering the army to camp there, Bharata started the fast in honour of the Lord of Vinītā. Completing the fast, he entered the city astride an elephant along with thousands of gods and goddesses and kings and subjects. The nine great treasures and the four-fold army did not enter the city. Vinītā city was decorated like a new bride. The king reached the entrance of the grand royal palace. Getting off the elephant accepting the welcome and honours from the people of the royal palace there he broke his 12th fast and started to live enjoying all the pleasures.

Sensing that it was appropriate time for his coronation, king Bharata became immersed in a fast in his fasting hall. On completing the fast, he ordered the construction of a huge coronation hall at the north-east corner of the Vinītā city. King Bharata entered the coronation hall in the same prosperous splendour as he had entered the Vinītā city after his victory campaign over the six regions. There is great, valuable coronation ceremony was conducted. After his coronation, the king again entered his palace and after his bath, etc., started to observe a fast. The subjects celebrated his coronation ceremony for 12 years.

The subjects in king Bharata's kingdom were happy and prosperous in every way. People did their duty and lived happy lives. He was the sovereign over the entire Bharata. His army was invincible and indestructible. He took care of his people in the form of a cakravartī ruler for thousand less than 6 lakh pūrvas. In his time both the king and the people tasted incomparable progress.

Bharata's Indisposition

Bharata's mind was not peaceful in spite of attaining sovereign rule over the empire. He regretted the dilemma in the minds of his brothers for a destructible kingdom, losing his 99 brothers. Consequently, he was least interested even though he ruled over the entire Bharata.

Once, Lord Vṛṣabhanātha, along with his disciples, was seated in the garden of Vinītā city. He was giving his divine sermon. A listener asked – "O Lord! How will cakravartī Bharata die?" The Lord replied – "attaining salvation!" The questioner said softly – "Ha! Even the Lord is biased towards his son."

When Bharata heard of this he was sad that the Lord was being accused on his account. To clear the doubts of that man towards the Lord's speech, he called that man and said – "take this vessel filled with oil and take a tour around the markets of Vinītā city but remember, if even a drop of oil falls, you shall be hanged."

The man went around Vinītā city as instructed by Bharata. There were many kinds of interesting events happening in that time across the city, but due to the fear of death he could not even take his eyes off for a moment. Thus when the king asked him about the theatre events happening in the city, the man replied – "when the fear of death is hovering over a person, how he can he watch plays and all that?" Hearing this Bharata said –"In the same way as you cannot watch plays, etc. fearing death in the same way, I fear the long tradition of impending death, because of which despite enjoying the pleasures of kingship I am unable to be inclined towards it. Physically I enjoy the pleasures of the world but I am indifferent to them."

Hearing this statement of Bharata the doubt that had entered the mind of that man towards Lord Vṛṣabhanātha was cleared. On account of the people's welfare under the rule of Bharata this country became known as Bharatavarṣa.

Commencement of Parivrājakaascetic sect

According to the Āvaśyakaniryukti and other Śvetāmbara texts, listening to the sermon of the Lord and seeing the amazing Samavaśaraṇa, emperor Bharata's son Marīci too took initiation at the Lord's feet, but being of a tender age, once during the summer months, suffering from the intense heat, he deviated from the path of penance. He started to think that I could not bear the weight of this difficult path of restraint, what can I do? He thought if he returned from the ascetic path people would call him a coward but if remained in the monk's form without observing restraint, he will feel self-critical. So he thought of a new kind of robes in keeping with his own situation. He started a new tradition of robes within the Śramaṇa tradition"

  1. "The Śramaṇas following the path of the Jina are free from the impure practices of the mind, word and deed and are victors over the senses, but I am not free from them hence I shall keep the three-pointed staff (tridaṇḍa)
  2. The Śramaṇas have sacrificed violence, hence pull out their hairs, but I shall be away from basic violence and shall keep my hair shave it
  3. The Śramaṇas are renouncers, without possessions of wealth and gold and are virtuous. I am neither pious nor a renouncer, hence I shall adorn myself with sandal paste.
  4. Being devoid of illusion Śramaṇas do not keep an umbrella, but being full of illusion I shall have an umbrella and shall also wear slippers.
  5. Symbols of pure minds, the Śramaṇas are sky-clad (without clothes) or white-robed. But being impure on account of passion I shall wear black or grey coloured robes
  6. Fearing bad deeds, they do not use unpurified water but I shall use limited water for bathing and drinking."

This way, having conceived of a form of a renouncer, Marīci began to wander around with the Lord. Whosoever came to Marīci with questions on the religion he would preach them the ten-fold Śramaṇa tradition and send them to the Lord? Once Bharata asked the Lord as to who in his assembly would become a tīrthaṃkara like him.

The Lord said your son Marīci who is the first parivrājaka (renouncer), will be the 24thTīrthaṃkara in this very declining happiness cycle. Before that he will also be the first Vasudeva and the cakravartī of Mūkā city. Hearing this, Bharata was immensely pleased and going to Marīci, said to him – "Marīci! The Lord has said you shall be the 24thTīrthaṃkara, hence I invoke you." Marīci's happiness, on hearing this, knew no bounds. He said – "My lineage is so lofty, my grandfather the first Tīrthaṃkara, my father the first cakravartī and I the future Tīrthaṃkara. Can there be any lineage loftier than this?"

Way, from the pride of his lineage Marīci bound himself to a lower gotra. Later he made the son of king Rājakumāra of Kapila his student, who according to the Purāṇas is considered the founder of Yogaśāstras, and Sāṃkhya philosophy. The tradition of renouncers started systematically from the time of Kapilamuni.

Brāhmī and Sundarī

In the same way as Bharata and Bāhubalī are famous among the hundred sons of Lord Ādinātha, his two daughters Brāhmī and Sundarī are well known all over. Lord Vṛṣabhanātha gave the knowledge of writing to the people through Brāhmī. The commentator of the Āvaśyaka niryukti speaks of Brāhmī-Bāhubalī and Sundarī- Bharata as couples. A doubt occurs here that if they are considered as being celibate since childhood what is this marriage all about? It is possible that in accordance with the customs of that period their relationship was announced but later even before beginning the married life they took asceticism at the feet of the Lord.

According to Ācārya Jinasena Sundarī took initiation along with Brāhmī on the very first sermon of Lord Vṛṣabhanātha. But according to the Śvetāmbara tradition, not getting the permission from Bharata, she became the first śrāvikā householder of that time. When Bharata started on his victory campaign over the six parts of the world, Sundarī started observing the daily Āyaṃbila fast. When Bharata returned from his victory campaigns after 60 thousand years, seeing the transient form of Sundarī and her intense aspiration for austerity, she was made an ascetic with Brāhmī who was serving the Lord.

Later traditions after the Śvetāmbara tradition talk of Brāhmī's initiation along with the founding of the congregation tradition but Sundarī's initiation is considered to have occurred after 60 thousand years, that is, after Bharata cakravartī's victory campaigns. But on the other hand there is mention of Brāhmī and Sundarī being sent to arouse Bāhubalī, deep in his meditation, and this is only possible if both their initiations have occurred at the same time, and if we analyse objectively based on existing facts, then the mention of joint initiation of the two as mentioned in the Jambūdvīpa Prajñapti and Kalpasūtra seem more acceptable.

The arousal of Vṛṣabhanātha's sons

Vṛṣabhanātha became a renouncer after giving different kingdoms to all his sons. When Bharata had gained victory over the six zones he wanted to bring his brothers as his assistants too. The brothers consulted each other but could not reach any decision. Ultimately they placed the problem in front of their worldly father Lord Vṛṣabhanātha. When they reached their father he explained to them the transitory nature of worldly kingdom and the importance of the kingdom of spirituality. Everyone was dumbfounded. They accepted the five major vows (mahāvratas) tradition and became the Lord's disciples.

The Non-Violent War

Emperor Bharata wanted to establish his rule over the entire Bhārata. By getting initiated as renouncers, his 98 brothers had made the path easier for him. Yet the trouble was how to conquer Bāhubalī? Without that it was impossible to gain cakravartī status and establishment of a singular rule. Hence he sent a message to his younger brother Bāhubalī to accept his sovereignty. But Bāhubalī categorically refused. On the basis of his power as a cakravartī Bharata had to decide upon attacking Bāhubalī.

Bharata with his large army camped at the borders of Bahalīdeśa. A war ensued for some time between the two armies. But to prevent the human killing in this war, Bāhubalī suggested that both the brothers have a decisive duel. Bharata agreed. In all the duels – with the eyes, voice, arms, fist – Bāhubalī won. Bharata was so hurt by the victory of his younger brother over him that he hurled a cakra at his brother to behead him. Initially an angry Bāhubalī wanted to hold the cakra but then thinking that even if his elder brother has done something disrespectful he should not indulge in a heinous crime as the killing of a brother. Since Bāhubalī was a part of Bharata's family and one of magnificent body, the cakra circumambulator him and returned.

According to Hemacandra's Triṣaṣṭi śalākā puruṣacaritra the moment Bāhubalī raised his fists to hit Bharata he thought 'the tradition of Vṛṣabhanātha's children is that of non-violence and not violence'. But how could he take back the hand that had been raised to fight? He placed the fists he had raised on his own head and pulling out his hair, accepted the Śramaṇa tradition (became a monk).

Even though he desired to present himself in front of Vṛṣabhanātha Bāhubalī could not take a step forward because he attained a sense of vanity in his mind as to how could he simple be present amidst his brothers already initiated. As a result he stood at that very place deep in meditation and remained in that same position for a year. Creepers grew over his body, his soft body shriveled up, his feet got covered by the dust of termites and yet he did not attain omniscience. When Lord Vṛṣabhanātha sensed this condition of Bāhubalī he sent Brāhmī and Sundarī to arouse him. Both the female-monks immediately went to Bāhubalī and in a sweet voice said, "Brother, alight from the elephant, you do not attain omniscience astride an elephant." Hearing the inspiring, sweet voice of the female-monks Bāhubalī understood that he was riding astride the elephant of vanity. All his vanity disappeared and the moment he lifted his feet to proceed to salute his younger brothers, he attained omniscience. After becoming an omniscient the attended the Samavaśaraṇa of the Lord and after paying obeisance to the Lord, sat in the omniscient council.

Founding of the Brahmin caste by Bharata

According to Ācārya Jinasena when king Bharata became a cakravartī he thought he must use his invaluable fame and riches for the welfare and well-being of the society. He also thought, at the same time, that there must be such a class of intelligent, intellectuals who would give assistance of their mind for a just life of the remaining three classes which would help the society move towards greater progress.

He called all the intellectual people to his place. He laid green grass in their path. Most people did not understand its meaning or intent and walked on the grass to Bharata's palace. The wise people thought even green grass has living organisms which will die if we walk over them and shall suffer pain, so they stood outside. King Bharata appreciated their feeling of compassion and called them in from another pathway and honouring them, called them 'māhaṇa' or 'Brahmin'.

According to the Āvaśyaka Cūrṇi Bharata became restive when his 98 brothers took to asceticism and thought of what use was such incomparable wealth which could not be of use to his own people. When the Lord came to Vinītā city Bharata invited his brothers to a feast but they did not accept the food they had renounced. Then Bharata wished to felicitate the female- monks to food but the Lord said monks cannot accept food made for them or brought for them. Then Bharata asked them to accept food that was made for him, which they pronounced to be 'rājapiṇḍa' (given by a king) and said it was not acceptable.

When Bharata asked as to how to make use of this food that had been prepared for the monks, Indra told him to donate it to people who were greater than him in qualities and honour them. Bharata gave it all to householders and told them they need not do any occupation for their livelihood; that their work would be listening to, studying the scriptures, thinking, and service to the teacher. Their life's needs would be taken care of by the ruler. This way the householders who would come for a livelihood, would cry 'māhaṇa', 'māhaṇa' and eat the food. Gradually innumerable people started coming looking for their livelihood. So Bharata instructed the organizers to enquire after the guests and only give food to those who were votaries (śrāvakas). In the course of enquiry those who seemed eligible and right were sent to the king and the king would mark an insignia on them with this Kākiṇī jewel. These people and their progeny remained distinct from the characteristics of the monks and started to teach people not to indulge in violence, and were called as 'māhaṇa', 'māhaṇa'. This way the 'māhaṇa' people came about who later began to be called Brāhmaṇa or 'Brahmin'.

Bharata would make three lines on the śrāvakas through the Kākiṇī jewel of worship to the three gods, teacher and tradition or knowledge, tradition and character and this later on changed into yajṅopavīta. This way the Brahmin caste was founded. Thus, between Lord Ādinātha and Bharata cakravartī's rule, the four castes were established.

Bharata' realisation of the self, omniscience and liberation

One day Bharata went to his glass palace adorned in finery. He was enchanted by his own self as reflected in the mirrors. Admiring his fingers he felt of the entire fingers one was not beautiful as the finger ring had fallen off somewhere. He then wondered how his fingers would look without any of the finger-rings and one by one he removed all his finger-rings, and then all his ornaments. Seeing his body thus devoid of all ornaments it seemed to him like a pond without a lotus flower, and without beauty. Seeing this Bharata thought all the attraction was due to the ornaments hence all this beauty was not one's own, but someone else', not real but false, not natural but affected. He felt that beauty adorned by worldly things is meaningless and full of illusion. Enchanted by it a human being forgets his own true self.

Gradually, the flow of thoughts of Bharata moved from regular rhythm through speed and total disregard for worldly things, and entering apūravakaraṇa, destroying the four obscuring karmas – jñānāvaranīya, darśanāvaraṇīya, mohanīya, antarāya – he obtained pure intuition and pure knowledge. He became the knower and seer of all the modes of the past, future and present cycles. He removed all adornments and removed five fistfuls of hair. Bharata exited the hall of mirrors in the form of an omniscient and came out from the middle part of his palace, he arouse ten thousand kings and initiated them into the Śramaṇa tradition. He then came out of the Vinītā city with them and gladly wandered about. After wandering for one lakh pūrvas he went to Aṣṭāpada Mountain. There he gave up the four-fold food. He remained in this state, without any desire.

Omniscient Bharata remained a prince for 77 lakh pūrvas and thereafter, for one thousand years as king. Following that he was cakravartī for one thousand years less than six lakhs pūrvas. Thus he remained for three lakh pūrvas in the worldly state. Until obtainment of pure intuition and pure knowledge following self-realisation in the hall of mirrors he was not associated with any position or status. Thus, leaving aside that time for a little less than one lakh pūrvas he remained in the omniscient status and for the same number of years as a mendicant. Thus, completing 84 lakh pūrvas, for a month giving up water, under the Śramaṇa constellation, he attained liberation from the shackles of birth and death, obtained permanent, blemish-less liberation (śivapada). He followed the path of Lord Vṛṣabhanātha and in the end attained liberation /salvation (Mokṣa).


Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (1)
Acharya Hasti Mala
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Antarāya
  2. Aṣṭāpada
  3. Bharata
  4. Bharatavarṣa
  5. Body
  6. Brahmin
  7. Brāhmī
  8. Cakra
  9. Carmaratna
  10. Chatra
  11. Cāmara
  12. Cūrṇi
  13. Darśanāvaraṇīya
  14. Devas
  15. Fasting
  16. Fear
  17. Gandharva
  18. Gotra
  19. Indra
  20. Jambūdvīpa
  21. Jina
  22. Jinasena
  23. Kalyāṇaka
  24. Karmas
  25. Kṣetra
  26. Lakh
  27. Magadha
  28. Mahāvratas
  29. Meditation
  30. Mohanīya
  31. Mokṣa
  32. Niryukti
  33. Non-violence
  34. Nāgakumāra
  35. Omniscient
  36. Prajñapti
  37. Pride
  38. Purāṇas
  39. Sāṃkhya
  40. Tīrtha
  41. Tīrthaṃkara
  42. Violence
  43. Vṛṣabhanātha
  44. Ācārya
  45. Āvaśyaka
  46. Śvetāmbara
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