Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (1) : Lord Śrī Sumatinātha

Published: 27.03.2016

After a large time gap of nine lakh crores sāgaras from fourth Tīrthaṃkara, Abhinandana came the fifth Tīrthaṃkara, Lord Śrī Sumatinātha.

There was a beautiful town full of happy and prosperous people called Puṣkalāvatī Vijaya in Jambūdvīpa. A king named Vijayasena ruled there. King Vijayasena's wife was Sudarśanā. They did not have any children.

One day, on some occasion, people of all classes gathered for some fun and frolic in a large garden. Sitting on her palanquin queen Sudarśanā saw in that garden a woman enjoying herself and surrounded by eight newly-wed women. She was curious to find out about that woman. Her female attendant told her that she is the merchant Nandiṣeṇa's wife Sulakṣaṇā. She has two sons and these are her eight daughters-in-law.

Hearing this, Sudarśanā felt very sad at her childless state. She disliked herself that she could not become a mother of even a single child. She started thinking of what use is a woman's life, youth, wealth and prosperity if she did not have the joy of having a child. With these thoughts the queen went into deep depression. The ambience of the garden started to feel like a graveyard to her. Immediately, she returned to the palace.

Reaching her bedroom in the palace, she began to cry her heart out. A female attendant immediately informed the king of the situation. On hearing this, the king rushed to Sudarśanā at once. He wanted to know the reason for her sorrow so the person responsible may be punished.

The queen said, "Lord, I am responsible for this state of mine. I dislike this meaningless life of mine that I could not beget even a single child." King Vijayasena reassured her in every way and said, "I shall not leave a stone unturned to fulfil your desire through appropriate remedies, medicines, etc."

One day, king Vijayasena undertook the belā fast and worshipped the family goddess, thus pleasing the goddess who visited him in his dream and said, "You needn't lose hope. Soon you will get a glorious son."

Within a few days, in the last lap of the night the queen saw a young lion entering her mouth. Hearing about her dream the king cheerfully said, "Oh queen! As per the goddess' words, you are going to get an illustrious son, brave as a lion."

In good time queen Sudarśanā gave birth to an extremely bright son. She was filled with joy and happiness. A celebration was held in the palace. Prisoners were freed and people were made content with gifts. The naming ceremony was arranged with great fanfare and the prince was named Puruṣasiṃha.

The prince was brought up in royal splendour. In time, he was trained in all kinds of skills and the arts by able teachers. This way, when he became young, endowed with all good qualities, his parents got him married with pomp and gaiety to eight extremely beautiful and well qualified princesses. Prince Puruṣasiṃha started spending his life happily amid all the worldly pleasures.

One day, Prince Puruṣasiṃha reached a garden near Śaṃkhapura for some pleasure. There he saw a ācārya, named Vinayānanda, surrounded by monks at a beautiful spot. Seeing him his heart was filled with intense joy and he got goose pimples in excitement. He wondered who this great man was who, in full youth, has conquered lust (kāmadeva) and has become a Śramaṇa. Let me go to him and gain some special important knowledge from him about religion. He presented himself before the ācārya. After paying his respects he said to him, "Lord! Though I have understood that this world is meaningless, all the worldly pleasures are insipid, perfection over karmas extremely difficult, yet would you kindly tell me as to which religion is capable of (helping us) cross the ocean of worldliness?"

Very happy with the question of the prince, Ācārya Vinayānanda said, "Oh gentle one, you are blessed that despite possessing incomparable form and youth your mind has the curiosity for religious matters. From the aspects of sacrifice / giving, conduct, austerity, dharma is of four types. Dāna (giving) is also of four types – giving of knowledge (jṅānadāna), giving protection from fear (abhaya -dāna), gift of the right path (dharmo-pagrahadāna) and gift of compassion (anukampādāna). Dharma has a second category – conduct. Adherence to the five mahāvratas, forgiveness, gentleness / sweetness, simplicity, contentment, control of mind, to be ever alert towards carelessness through constantly being immersed in knowledge, to consider all living beings as friends and indifference to all the goings-on in the world by being without desires, unbiased and detached – this is śīla-dharma (conduct).

Dharma has a third category – tapa (austerity) dharma. Austerities are of two kinds – external and internal austerities. Fasting, eating only a small portion of food, etc. are external austerities, and study of scriptures, meditation, suppression of the senses, etc. are internal austerities. Gradually increasing the practice of these two types of austerities is tapadharma.

The fourth kind of dharma is 'mental attitude (bhāvanā dharma)'. There are 12 types of attitudes hence bhāvanā dharma is also of 12 kinds. These are: 1 anitya bhāvanā (attitude towards impermanence) 2 asmaraṇa bhāvanā (helplessness) 3saṃsāra bhāvanā (transitory-ness) 4 ekatva bhāvanā (solitariness) 5 anyatva bhāvanā (otherness) 6 aśuci bhāvanā (impure thoughts / impurity) 7 āsrava bhāvanā (karmic influx) 8 saṃvara bhāvanā (stopping karmic influx) 9 nirjarā bhāvanā (dissociation of karmas) 10 lokaswarūpa bhāvanā (cosmos and its structure) 11 bodhidurlabha bhāvanā (rarity of enlightenment) and 12 dharma bhāvanā (spiritual conduct). If a person desirous of attaining salvation reflects, contemplates and focuses on even one of these 12 bhāvanās intensely, that person certainly becomes eligible for salvation very soon. This way the ācārya gave an elaborate exposition on dāna-śīla-tapa dharma.

Hearing from Ācārya Vinayānanda of the true form dharma, prince Puruṣasiṃha opened his mental eye. With folded hands, prostrating before the ācārya he requested, "Revered one! A new path becomes visible to me based on the beautiful form of dharma you have spoken to me of. I am now disgusted with worldly affairs. I request you to initiate me into Śramaṇadharma and let me take refuge in you."

Thus taking permission from his parents, prince Puruṣasiṃha took initiation from Ācārya Vinayānanda into Śramaṇa-dharma (mendicancy). After accepting the path of mendicancy he studied the āgamas under his teacher with great dedication, and for a long time, adhering to self-discipline (observing austerities), he attained the nāma karma of a Tīrthaṃkara out of excellent veneration of several causes /reflections out of twenty. In the end, dying by fasting, he emerged as a powerful god of 33 ocean measured periods in the Vaijayanta palace (vimāna).

Birth of Sumatinātha and naming Ceremony

After completing the stage of residence in the Vaijayanta vimāna, the soul of Puruṣasiṃha descended from there and entered into the womb of queen Maṃgalāvatī on the second day of the bright half of Śravaṇa month under the Maghā constellation. Thereafter, mother Maṃgalāvatī dreamt the 14 auspicious dreams and was very happy. On completion of her pregnancy period she happily gave birth to a son on the eighth day of the bright fortnight of Vaiśākha at the midnight hour under Maghā constellation. When he was in her womb, she had resolved fairly complex problems using her balanced intellect hence the son was named Sumatinātha.

Marriage, Kingship and Initiation

When prince Sumatinātha became a young man, the king married him off to suitable brides. Up to 29 lakh pūrvas, after enjoying the king's position, he became inclined towards the path of perfection. On request by the lokāntika gods, after giving charities for one year, he along with a thousand other kings, pulled out five fistfuls of hair and on the ninth day of the bright fortnight of Vaiśākha, under Maghā constellation, giving up bad karmas, turned monk.

Pure knowledge and Sermon

At the time of initiation he was observing a fast. On the second day, the Lord reached Vijayapura and there he agreed to break his fast at king Padma's house. After initiation he remained a mendicant for 20 years, wandering about and practicing many kinds of austerities He stopped the influx of karmas through adherence to dharma. Then he reached Sahasrāmravana where he entered the meditative state and after destroying the obscuring karmas, attained pure knowledge and pure intuition on the eleventh day of the Caitra month under Maghā constellation. After attaining pure knowledge the Lord gave a sermon in the assembly of gods, men and celestial beings on the mokṣamārgah (path to salvation) and established the four-fold order, thereby becoming Tīrthaṃkara.

Out of 40lakh pūrvas Lord Sumatinātha spent 10lakh pūrvas as a young man, 29 lakh 11 pūrvāṃgas as a king, 12 pūrvāṃgas less of 1 lakh pūrvas as mendicant and monk and sensing the end of his life-span, he remained on fast for a month and on the ninth day of the bright half of the Caitra month under Punarvasu constellation, destroying the 4 non obscuring karmas also attained nirvāṇa.

Besides 100 Gaṇadharas, Lord Sumatinātha's religious congregation had 13000 omniscient, 10450 telepaths, 11000 clairvoyants, 2400 14pūrvadhārīs, 18400 vaikriya-labdhidhārīs, 10650 vādīs, 320000 monks, 530000 female-monks, 281000 votaries and 516000 female votaries


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. Abhaya
  2. Abhinandana
  3. Anitya
  4. Anyatva
  5. Bhāvanā
  6. Bhāvanās
  7. Dharma
  8. Dāna
  9. Ekatva
  10. Fasting
  11. Fear
  12. Jambūdvīpa
  13. Karma
  14. Karmas
  15. Lakh
  16. Mahāvratas
  17. Meditation
  18. Nirjarā
  19. Nirvāṇa
  20. Nāma
  21. Nāma Karma
  22. Nāma karma
  23. Omniscient
  24. Saṃvara
  25. Soul
  26. Sumatinātha
  27. Tapa
  28. Tīrthaṃkara
  29. Vimāna
  30. Ācārya
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