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

Published: 20.04.2016

Departure and Initiation

After the completion of the year-long charities, the Lord's departure ceremony was held in pomp and splendour, organised by men, kings and gods. The Lord's departure procession reached the Sahasrāmravana on Ujjayanta Mountain, passing through the main streets, with a lot of people. Alighting from the gem-studded palanquin, under the Aśoka tree Lord Neminātha removed all his adornments, which were donated by Indra to Kṛṣṇa. Thus, staying as a householder for 300 years, the Lord removed five fistfuls of hair, observing a fast for six days and on the sixth day of the bright fortnight of Śravaṇa month with the moon being conjunct with the constellation Citrā. Śakra took the Lord's hair in his upper cloth and immersed them in the milk ocean. Then the Lord recited the resolve to sacrifice all, with the Siddhas as witness. The Lord took initiation with thousand men. As soon as he took initiation, he gained telepathy (manah ̣ paryava jnāna), the fourth knowledge type. The next day, the Lord broke his fast with rice pudding at the house of a Brahmin Varadatta in a cattle-shed. The divine words, "aho dānam, aho dānam" resounded in the sky and the gods showered the five auspicious things. Thereafter, with a resolve to destroy his obscuring karmas, the Lord started severe penance and restraint and went wandering elsewhere.

Omniscience and religious discourse (Samavaśaraṇa)

After becoming a mendicant, after observing various kinds of austerities for 54 days, the Lord arrived at Ujjayantagiri-Revatagiri and observing a fast there went into deep meditation. In one night, in the fire of the second stage of deep meditation, destroying the four obscuring karmas like deluding, intuition obscuring, knowledge obscuring etc., on the forenoon of the new moon day of the dark fortnight of Āśvina, under the Citrā constellation, he attained pure intuition and omniscience.  The moment the Lord attained omniscience, the gods created the Samavaśaraṇa on the Raivataka Mountain. Kṛṣṇa reached with all the materials of arddhacakrī astride his best elephant, along with the ten 'daśārho', mothers, kith and kin to attend the samavaśaraṇaof Lord Neminātha. Lord Ariṣṭanemi (Neminātha) was seated on a transparent throne with the eight auspicious emblems(pratihāryas). The Lord's face was visible from all directions in the same manner. After circumambulating and invoking the Lord, everyone stay in their places. The Lord gave a sermon to all in the language they understood, which was like destroying the darkness of ignorance and throwing the light of knowledge.

Founding the Tīrtha

Listening to the knowledgeable sermon of the Lord, first a king named Varadatta immediately requested the Lord to be initiated at his feet. Lord Neminātha, finding him in all ways eligible, initiated him. At that time Kṛṣṇa asked him, 'why does Rājīmatī like you the most?' In response, the Lord narrated the account of his relationship with her of the last eight births. Hearing this account of the past births, three kings who had come for Samavaśaraṇa at once gained knowledge of their past lives and they at once took initiation under the Lord. The same way, two thousand people took initiation following Varadatta. Among those two thousand and eleven monks, the Lord appointed Varadatta among eleven Gaṇadharas, imparting them the three fold reality (tripadī) knowledge of origination, decay and permanence. Based on the tripadī the monks created the 12 Aṃgas and came to be called Gaṇadharas. At that time, many princesses such as Yakṣinī, too, took initiation. The Lord made Āryā Yakṣinī the preceptor of the female-monk order. The ten daśārhos; Ugra Sena, Śrī kṛṣṇā, Balabhadra and Pradyumna too accepted the votary's conduct and right belief from the Lord. Queen Śivādevī, Rohiṇī, Devakī, Rūkmiṇī, etc. and many women accepted the female-votary's conduct. This way, the Lord established the four-fold tīrtha with monks, femalemonks, male and female votaries for the welfare of living beings and became Tīrthaṃkara.

Rājīmatī and Rathanemi

When Ariṣṭanemi returned from the wedding, his younger brother Rathanemi saw Rājīmatī and became attracted to her. He started gifting something or the other every day to Rājīmatī. As a sister-in-law Rājīmatī behaved in a civilised manner with Rathanemi and kept accepting his gifts quietly. So Rathanemi thought Rājīmatī too was attracted to him. Hence whenever he had an opportunity, he would go to her. One day, finding some time alone with her, he toldRājīmatī, "Dear one! By not marrying you and sacrificing you, brother has done a foolish thing. In fact it is his bad luck. If you wish you can change his misfortune into my good fortune. Agree to marry me. I shall make you my soul mate and keep you in my heart." Rājīmatī was surprised to hear Rathanemi's words. Now she realised what was the real intent behind his loving behaviour. She explained to Rathanemi that she has become Ariṣṭanemi's wife by a promise of the word and she is like his mother, his sister-in-law and such thoughts should not occur in his mind. Not just that, 'though your brother did not marry me, being his wife by the promise of word, I am like someone else' food. In the same way as partaking of another vomited food is unacceptable and inedible, and hence avoided, desiring another's woman is condemnable and shameful. It is something that binds you to a life in hell. It is a sin to even bring this thought in your mind.' Listening to Rājīmatī's tactful words Rathanemi felt ashamed. After sometime Rathanemi became a renouncer and taking initiation, went to Revatācala to serve Lord Neminātha.

There, Rājīmatī used to be lost in the thoughts of Neminātha every day, forgetting her own self. After a year's long wait, when she heard of the initiation of Ariṣṭanemi, all her enthusiasm was quelled. She thought in this situation it is best to follow his path. Deciding thus, she took permission from her parents and with a firm mind, accepted mendicancy. Once, after attaining omniscience Lord Neminātha was seated at the Revata Mountain. The female-monk Rājīmatī went there with other female-monks to pay obeisance to him. On the way, suddenly a heavy downpour occurred. To protect themselves from the rain the femalemonks got scattered looking for shelter. Rājīmatī too went into cave nearby and removed all her wet clothes and set them to dry. Rathanemi was already seated in that same cave meditating, which Rājīmatī was unaware of because of the intense darkness. In the glow of a lightning, seeing Rājīmatī's naked form, Rathanemi's mind became agitated. When Rājīmatī saw Rathanemi, she suddenly got frightened. Seeing her scared, Rathanemi said, "Oh beautiful one! Accept me now. Come; let us enjoy sensual pleasures for a while. After enjoying pleasures we shall again follow the path of the Jina."

Seeing Rathanemi with a demoralised conduct, Rājīmatī fearlessly dressed herself up and said, "Rathanemi! You are an ordinary man; if a Vaiśramaṇa god or even Indra comes in front of me, I wouldn't like them. There are snakes of the agandhana clan among the serpents who prefer falling into the fire, but do not even take back poison which has been vomited once. You are a man of a good clan. Would you again accept things renounced? Shame on you Rathanemi,!" Rājīmatī's words worked like a rein on Rathanemi; his mind became steady on the spiritual path. He purified his soul at the feet of Lord Ariṣṭanemi and immersing himself in severe penance, turning to ashes all his accumulated karmas, became pure, emancipated and liberated. Rājīmatī, too, reached the Lord's feet and observing austerities and restraint, obtained omniscience and in the end attained liberation.

The revelation of an extraordinary secret by Ariṣṭanemi

Establishing the religious order, placing many people on the true path, Lord Ariṣṭanemi arrived in Bhaddilapura city, travelling through several republics. There, listening to the Lord's sermon, six brothers; Anīkasena, Ajitasena, etc., becoming disinclined, got initiated at the Lord's feet. Those six brother-monks began to wander around, observing the fasts regularly. Leaving Bhaddilapura, Lord Ariṣṭanemi arrived at Dvārikāpurī with many monks. Taking permission from Arihanta Ariṣṭanemi, the six monks including Anīkasena went to break their fast in groups of two each to Dvārikāpurī. The first two of them, taking alms from many families, reached Devakī's palace. Seeing the monks, Devakī saluted them with devotion and gave them pure food with love. Accepting the alms the monks returned. Within moments, Devakī saw the second set of two brothers entering her palace for food offerings. These two monks looked exactly like the previous two. These two also begged for food, their voices were also similar to those of the first two. Devakī thought, perhaps what I gave them in alms previously was not sufficient for them, hence they have come again; she again gave them food with respect and sense of joy. Both monks returned after accepting the offering.

After these two monks left, the third set of two brothers too, after going to small and big families, by coincidence, came to Devakī's palace. These two monks, too, looked like the previous two sets of monks. Devakī gave offerings with pure feelings, dedication, respect and devotion. After giving the offerings, to clear the agitation in her mind, Devakī asked them – "Lord! It is difficult for less fortunate people to see you. It is my great fortune that you have purified this palace by stepping foot here, but I have a doubt, leaving thousands of people serving monks and the qualified ones in Dvārikā, how have you came to my house thrice?"

To clear Devakī's suspicion, the two monks said to her – "Oh beloved of gods! We are six brothers, sons of the gāthāpati Nāga and his wife Sulasā, of Bhaddilapura. We all look similar in form and shape. All of us six brothers took initiation listening to the sermon of Lord Ariṣṭanemi and have taken to a life-time vow of observing the two-days fast. Today, after self-study in the first half of the day, we six brothers took permission of the Lord and came to break our fast in three sets to higher, middle and lower caste families and in that course by coincidence, came here in turns. Hence, oh beloved of the gods, the twin-monks who came here first was not the two of us."

After the monks left Devakī thought, "In Polāsapura city a monk named Atimuktaka had said about me in my childhood that when I grow up, I would be the mother of eight sons, who would all be similar in every way and of extraordinary beauty and in Bharata no one else except me will give birth to such sons. But seeing these six monk-brothers, that prediction seems wrong. Perhaps some other woman has also given birth to such sons."

Seated on a chariot, Devakī reached the Lord's Samavaśaraṇa and started paying respects to the Lord. Thereafter, the Lord asked Devakī – "Oh Devakī! Have you developed a doubt in your mind about the monk Atimuktaka's prediction after seeing the six monks of the same bodily beauty and form? And have you come here to me to resolve that?" Devakī confirmed the Lord's statement.

The Lord said – "At that time there was a gāthāpati named Nāga in Bhaddilapura who was very wealthy. His wife's name was Sulasā. Sulasā was told in her childhood by a soothsayer that when she grew up, she would give birth to still-born babies. Hearing this Sulasā became devoted to Hariṇaigameṣī right from her childhood and started praying to him with great love. Happy with that laywoman's devotion that god would make you both fertile at the same time. You both would become pregnant at the same time. Sulasā would beget dead sons. Hariṇaigameṣī would place her dead sons with you and take your sons to Sulasā. Hence, oh Devakī! Those six monks are, in fact, your sons, not Sulasā's." Hearing this extraordinary revelation a very happy Devakī saluted those monks and such a deep love emerged in Devakī's mind that milk started oozing out of her breasts, her eyes were filled with tears and her whole body blossomed and became thrilled. For a long time Devakī kept staring at those monks without blinking her eyes. Thereafter, she saluted those monks and again circumambulating Lord Ariṣṭanemi, went back to her palace.

The same incident is described in "Cauvanna Mahāpurisa Cariyaṃ" somewhat this way:

When Devakī asked the third set of two monks if 'Śramaṇa nirgranthas do not get food in Kṛṣṇa's city of gods, Dvārikā, that you have entered for offerings from the same family thrice', the monk-twins said, clarifying –"No, it is not like that. In fact, we are six brothers born to the same mother and look similar in form, colour and body. Actually, we were exchanged immediately after we were born, with still-born babies of the lay couple Mṛtavatsā and Sulasā by the god Hariṇaigameṣī. Sulasā brought us up and got us married. When we grew up, hearing the story of the change in our families from the mouth of Lord Neminātha, we became disinclined and to free ourselves from this illusory web, we accepted initiation from the Lord Neminātha." Hearing this form the monks, Devakī fell unconscious on the ground. When she regained consciousness, her eyes were filled with tears and milk started oozing out of her breasts. Crying, she said –"How unfortunate I am that my six sons were taken away from me and when they meet me, they do so in such a state that they have broken all worldly ties and renounced." Hearing her pitiable sobbing, other people too reached there. The news spread in the entire Dvārikā. The remaining four monk-brothers too reached there and all the six monks tried to explain to Devakī – "In this world nobody is a mother or father to anybody. Here all living beings, bound by their karmas, wander about in the cycle of birth and death. A person is born as someone's father in one birth and his son in the next. A Lord of one birth becomes the servant in the next. A mother of the previous birth becomes a lioness in her next birth and kills her sons of the previous birth. In this world, a person is suffering within a web he has created for himself, even if he wants to break free, he cannot. Seeing this horrible, fearsome state of the world, we became disenchanted. We accepted the path of restraint from Lord Neminātha and since then we are immersed in breaking the root cause of the cycle of coming and going in the world."

Hearing all this, Kṛṣṇa said in a tearful voice –"What a strange thing this is that I am enjoying the wealth of three divisions and my own brothers are wandering accepting alms. Brothers, think that we are born today. Let the seven of us live together from today and together enjoy the joy and wealth." Vasudeva too agreed with Kṛṣṇa and requested the six monk brothers to give up the monk status and return to worldly life. The monks said – "In the same way as a deer, which has released itself from a hunter's trap never returns to it, having come out of the horrible web of sensual enjoyments, we do not want to get stuck in it again. Monks, break all kinds of bondage and inspire and show the path to others to do the same. How is it better to free oneself from these bonds and again go back to them? We would like it if, instead of pulling us back into the world, you too, accept initiation into monkhood to break the root-cause of sorrow, the karma bondage." Saying this, they returned to serve Lord Neminātha.

A sorrowful Devakī too reached the Lord's Samavaśaraṇa following her monk-sons. The Lord soothed the fire of her sorrow with his explanation of how horrible is the bondage of karma.

A description more or less similar to that in Aṃtagaḍa-Sūtra is available in Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra: - Hearing the words of the all-knowing Lord, Devakī was filled with joy. Happily, she prayed to the six monks, and praising her luck, said –"One son born form my womb has set up a grand empire and other sons have accepted initiation which gives the ultimate empire. But it is my lack of good deeds that I have remained away from bringing up even a single son from childhood."

Soothing Devakī, the Lord said – "Devakī, stop feeling bad unnecessarily. The fact is that in your previous birth, you had stolen your co-wife's seven gems and after her incessant sobbing, you returned one of the gems back and retained six with you. This karma of yours has resulted in six of your sons going elsewhere and just one remaining with you."

The epitome of compassion, the monk Gajasukumāla

Devakī returned to her palace after attending the Lord's Samavaśaraṇa. Hearing the revelation of her six sons form the Lord's mouth, her mind became overwhelmed with love for her sons. In this tension, she stopped eating. Kṛṣṇa got worried seeing his mother in this condition. He understood his mother's anguish, and for fulfillment of her desire, invoked the deity with a three-day fast. Hariṇaigameṣī appeared. Kṛṣṇa told him –"I want a younger brother." The god said, "A soul will exit the realm of gods and shall be born as your brother, but when he has passed childhood and becomes a young adult, he will accept initiation from Lord Ariṣṭanemi." Happily Kṛṣṇa told his mother about the birth of a son. In time, Devakī gave birth to a son, whose body being as soft as an elephant's palate was thence named Gajasukumāla. With comprehensive care and upbringing, he grew up to be a young man. A Brahmin named Somila lived in Dvārikā. He was a learned person. His wife's name was Somaśrī. They had a daughter named Somā. One day, Kṛṣṇa saw Somila's daughter decked up in good clothes and ornaments, playing with her mats while he was going to see Arihanta Ariṣṭanemi with Gajasukumāla. Distracted by Somā's beauty; the men of the royal household said, "Go to Somila and request his daughter's hand for Gajasukumāla and bring her to the internal chambers with his permission."

Thereafter, Kṛṣṇa began to listen to the sermon of the Lord after paying obeisance him, with his brother Gajasukumāla at Sahasrāmravana. After the sermon, Kṛṣṇa returned to his palace. But Gajasukumāla stayed there and after thinking for some time told the Lord – "Lord! I have faith in your speech; it is my desire that I seek permission from my parents and accept initiation as a monk." Lord Neminātha said, "Do as it please you."

Reaching the palace, Gajasukumāla expressed to his mother his desire to become a monk. Devakī fell unconscious hearing his words. When Kṛṣṇa heard this he tried to explain to Gajasukumāla, "I give everything of mine to you. What is the need for you to become a monk?" Gajasukumāla said, "We have to ultimately let go of all the things in this world, hence I wish to not even accept them. Instead it is better to accept monkhood under Lord Ariṣṭanemi and accept the tradition of austerities." Thus, Gajasukumāla remained steadfast in his decision and became a monk, getting initiated under Lord Ariṣṭanemi After initiation, the same day in the afternoon, with the Lord's permission; he went to Mahākāla graveyard, stood like a statue and for one night, became meditative in this state.

There Brahmin Somila, who had gone out of the city to get material for a sacrificial ritual, on his way back passed through the graveyard. There seeing Gajasukumāla meditating, remembering a past life enmity, became angry and agitatedly started thinking – "This Gajasukumāla has left my daughter Somā without any fault of hers and become a monk, hence I must take revenge on Gajasukumāla." Thinking thus, he kept a wet-earth basket on Gajasukumāla's head and in it, placed burning coal picked up from a burning corpse and looking here and there, went home quietly.

Gajasukumāla did not feel animosity for Somila even in his mind and kept bearing the unbearable pain of burning coal on his head. Even as the nerves and veins in the head started to break by the intense heat of the embers, a pure stream of knowledge began to intensify in the monk's mind. These words were echoing within him–"I am deathless, immortal, and indestructible, even if the body burns nothing of mine is burning. I can neither be burnt by fire nor can any weapon break me."

Mokṣa, so difficult to attain even after millions of birth, came to him within less than a day from true penance with which he proved that it is not impossible to attain it with intense penance with pure feeling and diligence.

Kṛṣṇa's longing for Gajasukumāla

The next morning Kṛṣṇa went to pay obeisance to Lord Ariṣṭanemi. When he did not see monk Gajasukumāla, he asked the Lord. The Lord said – "Kṛṣṇa! Monk Gajasukumāla has accomplished his task." Kṛṣṇa asked – "How is that?" Then Lord Ariṣṭanemi told him the entire account. Kṛṣṇa asked in anger – "Lord, who is that, who took Gajasukumāla's life before its time?" The Lord said – "Kṛṣṇa, do not be angry. In the same way as you helped an old Brahminby picking up bricks on your way here, that man too, helped Gajasukumāla to attain liberation." When Śrī kṛṣṇā pleaded, the Lord said – "While returning to Dvārikā, the man who, on seeing you, gives up his life, he is Gajasukumāla's murderer." Then, saluting the Lord, Kṛṣṇa entered Dvārikā. Filled with fear Somila began to think – "Kṛṣṇa has gone to meet the Lord; learning everything from the omniscient Lord, he will destroy me." Thinking thus, Somila started to run from his house to save his life. By coincidence, he came to the same path from where Kṛṣṇa was returning. Seeing Kṛṣṇa, Somila fell down with fear and, out of fear, immediately died.

Monk Ḍhaṃdhaṇa

Lord Neminātha's monk order had monks who were all into severe penance and austerities but among all of them Ḍhaṃdhaṇa monk is considered to the best even by the Lord Neminātha himself. The son of Vasudeva Kṛṣṇa and queen Ḍhaṃdhaṇa, Ḍhaṃ Ḍhaṇkumāra became disinclined on listening to Lord Neminātha's discourse. In his full youth, leaving all his beautiful wives and wealth, he took initiation as a monk from Lord Neminātha. Śrī kṛṣṇā himself arranged a grand departure ceremony for his initiation. Becoming a monk, Ḍhaṃdhaṇa began to serve Lord Neminātha. On account of his kindness and soft-spoken behaviour he soon became dear to, and respected by all. While observing restraint through tough penance, he studied all the scriptures as well. After sometime, his predestined interfering /obstructing (antarāya) karmas emerged. When he would go for his alms he would not get it. Not just that, the monks who went with him also returned empty-handed. This went on for many days. Thus on one day, the monks asked Lord Neminātha respectfully, "Lord! Ḍhaṃdhaṇa monk is a disciple of yours, the Lord of three worlds, and the son of the brave arddhacakrī Vasudeva Kṛṣṇa. Why is it that he does not get even small offerings from even the big merchants, pious laymen and magnanimous householders?   As if this weren't enough, the monks who accompany him also return disappointed."

Dispelling the doubts of the monks, the Lord said – "In his past birth Ḍhaṃdhaṇa was a Brahmin named Pārāśara in Dhānyapura village of Magadha province. There he used to undertake agricultural transactions on behalf of the king. He was harsh by nature, used to make people cultivate the king's land. At lunch time, without giving them a break, he used to make them work. He used to make the hungry-thirsty bullocks draw an extra plough. Due to these bad deeds, he accumulated severe interfering karmas. After many births the same Pārāśara's soul has taken birth as Ḍhaṃdhaṇa. Because of the past obstructing (antarāya) karmas he is unable to get offerings from wealthy families even if they want to give him." Hearing the above account from the Lord he was repentant for his past bad deeds. Saluting the Lord, he said – "I shall break my own bad deeds and shall not accept food obtained through someone else." Because of obstructing (antarāya) karma monk Ḍhaṃdhaṇa would not get food and he would not accept food brought by others. As a result, it was a penance without food for several days, yet he was steady in his penance and restraint. One day, at the Samavaśaraṇa Śrī kṛṣṇā asked – "Who is the monk in your order who does the toughest penance?" Lord Ariṣṭanemi said – "Ḍhaṃdhaṇa is the monk who does the hardest penance. Despite spending time without food for several days, he has no ill-feeling in his mind." Hearing this Kṛṣṇa was very happy. He was returning to his palace after the discourse when he saw Ḍhaṃdhaṇa going for his alms. Alighting from his elephant he saluted Ḍhaṃdhaṇa with respect. One merchant was seeing all this. This monk is blessed that Śrī kṛṣṇā is saluting him with such devotion.

By coincidence, Ḍhaṃdhaṇa muni was going to that same merchant's house to beg for food. Happily the merchant offered sweets to Ḍhaṃdhaṇa. Taking this offering, Ḍhaṃdhaṇa went to the Lord and saluting him, asked – "Is my antarāya karma destroyed?" The Lord replied – "No, you have got your offering because of the influence of Hari. Hari saluted you, hence influenced by that, the merchant has given you this offering."

Ḍhaṃdhaṇa did not allow any attachment towards the offering. He went to throw the food on a ground. While doing so, pure thoughts entered his mind – "Oh! How difficult it is to destroy karmas accumulated. While doing bad deeds stuck in passion a person does not think one day he has to bear their consequences." Thinking thus, he went into the second stage of deep meditation. In this state of meditation he destroyed all the four obscuring karmas and attained pure intuition and omniscience. From that bare ground monk Ḍhaṃdhaṇa returned to the Lord and, saluting him, sat in the omniscient congregation. After sometime, destroying all karmas, he became omniscient, enlightened and liberated.

The great wonder in Lord Ariṣṭanemi's time

Śrī kṛṣṇā doted on the Pāṇḍavas who at that time ruled Hastināpura. Once, sage Nārada reached Hastināpura and went to Draupadi's palace. The Pāṇḍavas welcomed Nārada and Draupadi did not pay him much attention on account of his being devoid of vows. Nārada was upset with this insult and left from there with a feeling of avenging this insult. With that same feeling of unrest he went to the women-loving king Padmanābha's palace in Amarakaṃkā city in Dhātakīkhaṇḍa in Bharata. King Padmanābha welcomed Nārada in a big way and took him to his harem. There, pointing to his queens, each more beautiful than the other, he said – "Oh sage! You must have seen harems of many kings, think and tell me, are there any queens in those harems who can compare with the beauty of my queens?" Nārada was just waiting for that occasion. He said – "Oh king! Where have you seen the harems? All your queens look like maids in front of Draupadi, the queen of the Pāṇḍavas of Hastināpura." Nārada left but had aimed right. In order to acquire Draupadi, king Padmanābha prayed intensely to his god. The god said – "Draupadi is a chaste woman. She does not like any other men except the Pāṇḍavas. Still out of love for you, I shall bring her." Saying so, the god reached Hastināpura and through his knowledge of avasvāpinī he put Draupadi to deep sleep and took her to Padmanābha.

When Draupadi woke up she realised her situation. She became very worried. Seeing her anxiety, Padmanābha said – "Goddess! You needn't be worried. You are in the palace of king Padmanābha of Amarakaṃkā. I want to make you my principal queen." Draupadi, understanding the complexity of her situation, and after some thought, replied with some foresight – "oh king! Kṛṣṇa of Bharatakhaṇḍa is my protector; if he does not come searching for me here within six months, I shall think about what you said." Padmanābha thought it was impossible for someone to come from another island, so there is nothing wrong in waiting for six months. He agreed with Draupadi's proposal and kept her in the chambers of other women. Draupadi stayed there observing the āyambila fast.

The next day, not finding Draupadi in her palace, the Pāṇḍavas made efforts to trace her. When they couldn't find out, they informed kṛṣṇā. Kṛṣṇa was just thinking about this problem when Nārada reached there. When Kṛṣṇa asked about Draupadi Nārada said – "I saw someone like Draupadi in the harem of king Padmanābha of Amarakaṃkā in Dhātakīkhaṇḍa Island." Hearing Nārada's words, he started for Magadha tīrtha along with the Pāṇḍavas and there, observing a fast, invoked the deity of the salt ocean, Susthita. With the help of god Susthita, the six chariots of Śrī kṛṣṇā and Pāṇḍavas reached Amarakaṃkā, crossing the Salt Ocean.

Kṛṣṇa sent his charioteer Dāruka to Padmanābha asking that Draupadi be returned. But thinking what can these six men do to him, Padmanābha refused to let Draupadi go and declared war. As per the wishes of the Pāṇḍavas, Śrī kṛṣṇā allowed them to fight Padmanābha first, but defeated by his army, they returned to Kṛṣṇa. Thereafter, hearing the sound of Kṛṣṇa's pāṃcajanya conch and the twang of his Sāṃrga bow, Padmanābha's army ran helter-skelter. Padmanābha too ran into the city and shutting his city's doors, hid himself in the harem. Taking the form of Narasiṃha (man-lion) Kṛṣṇa with a blow of his hands broke to pieces the iron doors and went towards Padmanābha's palace. Even the mighty ones' hearts weakened with the lion's roar of Kṛṣṇa. Seeing death himself approaching him Padmanābha fell at Draupadi's feet and begged for his life – "Goddess, please protect me from this dark death-like Keśava, I take refuge in you." Draupadi said – "If you want to save your life then walk behind me wearing my clothes." The scared Padmanābha did as told. In female form, walking behind Draupadi, he fell at Kṛṣṇa's feet. Kṛṣṇa's heart melted and he gave him freedom from fear and took Draupadi to the Pāṇḍavas.

There Vasudeva Kapila, seated in the Samavaśaraṇa of the Tīrthaṃkara of that time cycle, Munisuvratanātha, in Pūrṇabhadra garden in Campā city of Dhātakīkhaṇḍa, hearing Kṛṣṇa's conch, asked the Jina Lord – "Whose conch is this which sounds like mine?" Narrating the account of Draupadi's kidnapping Munisuvratanātha said that this is the conch blown by Vasudeva Kṛṣṇa of Bharatakhaṇḍa in Jambūdvipa. Kapila said – "Then I must welcome that guest." Munisuvratanātha said – "In the same way was two Tīrthaṃkara and two cakrvartiscan not meet in one place, similarly, two Vasudevas too cannot meet. But yes, you will be able to see the rear part of Kṛṣṇa's white-yellow flag."

Hearing Lord Suvrata's words, Kapila Vasudeva, with the desire to meet Kṛṣṇa Vasudeva, followed Kṛṣṇa's chariot's wheel marks towards the sea-coast and he saw the rear part of Kṛṣṇa's white and yellow flag on the chariot that was moving away. He blew his conch with this desire – "this is me Kapila Vasudeva who has come here longing to see you. Please return." Kṛṣṇa replied through his conch – "We have come very far. Now do not ask us to return." Kapila reached Amarakaṃkā with Kṛṣṇa's reply. Condemning Padmanābha, he expelled him and made his son the king of Amarakaṃkā.

Here crossing the salt ocean Kṛṣṇa told the Pāṇḍavas – "I will come after thanking Susthita god, in the meanwhile, you may cross the Gaṃgā." The Pāṇḍavas crossed the Gaṃgā on a boat and to check out how Kṛṣṇa would cross without a boat, retained it there. After bidding farewell to Susthita god, when Kṛṣṇa came to the banks of Gaṃgā Riverhe did not see the boat. He put the chariot into Gaṃgā River, and holding the horses with one hand and using the other hand to swim, he started crossing the river. Reaching the middle of the river, he was tired and started thinking the Pāṇḍavas are strong that they crossed the river without a boat. Reaching the banks he asked the Pāṇḍavas, 'how did you cross the river?' They said – "by a boat." Upon this Kṛṣṇa asked – "Then why didn't you send the boat for me?" Laughing, the Pāṇḍavas said–"To test your strength." Kṛṣṇa became unusually angry and said – "Do you still need to test my strength now? Crossing the limitless ocean, and victory over Amarakaṃkā did not make you realise my strength?" He broke to pieces the Pāṇḍavas' chariots with an iron staff, and ordering them to leave his kingdom's boundary, started for Dvārikā.

The Pāṇḍavas came to Hastināpura with Draupadi. They narrated the whole incident to mother Kuntī. Hearing this Kuntī reached Dvārikā and told Kṛṣṇa – "Kṛṣṇa! You have expelled my sons from your kingdom; tell me where will they live?" Kṛṣṇa said – "Let them settle a new city called Pāṇḍu-Mathurā on the southern sea-coast and live there."  On Kuntī's advice, the Pāṇḍavas left Hastināpura and settled Pāṇḍu-Mathurā on the southern sea-coast and staying there, made it prosperous in all ways. Kṛṣṇa anointed his sister Subhadrā's and Arjuna's grandson, Abhimanyu's son, Parīkṣita, on the throne of Hastināpura. In due course a city named 'Rathamardana' was settled at the place where Kṛṣṇa broke the Pāṇḍavas' chariots.

The Future of Dvārikā

Redeeming living beings with his nectar-like sermons Lord Ariṣṭanemi arrived at Dvārikā. Hearing the news of his arrival Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma along with their kith and kin went to the Samavaśaraṇa. Kṛṣṇa asked the Lord respectfully – "Lord! How will the end of this Dvārikā of mine come about?" The Lord said – "Kṛṣṇa! The great ascetic Parāśara's son, the celibate monk Dvaipāyana, will be killed cruelly by intoxicated Śāmba and other Yādavas. As a result, Dvaipāyana in his anger shall resolve to burn Dvārikā and the Yādavas and take god-form and he will burn everyone to ashes. Your end will come by the arrow of your elder brother Jarākumāra at the forest of Kauśāmbī."

Hearing the reply of the Lord people became silent. They looked at Jarākumāra. Filled with self-contempt, disgusted, to save him from this stigma just for the sake of a bow and arrow, he left Dvārikā and became a forest-dweller. In the same way, Dvaipāyana too started living in a forest to protect the people of Dvārikā.

Kṛṣṇa was pained and sad hearing the prediction about Dvārikā from Ariṣṭanemi. He began to think about the destructibility, transience or royal glory and wealth – "Jālikumāra, etc. are blessed that before destruction they have taken the path of renunciation. And I am still unconscious in the path of a vast empire and its wealth." Understanding well Kṛṣṇa's internal anguish, Lord Ariṣṭanemi reassured Kṛṣṇa – "Due to consequences, Vasudevas do not ever renounce even in the three cycles. Hence do not worry unnecessarily. Yes, in the forthcoming utsarpiṇī cycle in this very Bharata, you will be the 12thTīrthaṃkara and in your time, Balarāma too will become emancipated, enlightened and liberated." Kṛṣṇa was happy to hear these words of the Lord.

Returning to Dvārikā he informed people – "The end of Dvārikā is inevitable, hence whosoever desires may voluntarily take initiation into mendicancy at the Lord's feet. They need not worry about the food and well-being of their kith and kin. The kingdom will look after them." Hearing this magnanimous announcement of Kṛṣṇa innumerable people took initiation and became mendicants. On account of the attitude of welfare and service to humanity and the Jina order, Kṛṣṇa gained the Tīrthaṃkara Nāmakarma.

Hearing about the burning of Dvārikā the brother and charioteer of Balarāma, Siddhārtha, took initiation under the Lord. After becoming a monk, observing severe penance for six months, the soul of Siddhārtha, completing its time, became a god.

Here, the order was given in Dvārikā for people to stay away from intoxicants. Since an intoxicant shall cause the destruction of Dvārikā in future, all the available stocks of intoxicating liquor in Dvārikā were thrown into the Kadamba forests and the caves of Kādambarī.

An attendant of Śāmba suddenly for some reason went to Kādambarī cave and dying of thirst, started drinking water from the spring-well near the Kādambarī. Drinking a few drops, he realised that this is not water, but the best liquor. Śāmba's attendant drank the liquor himself and also collected it in a vessel for his master. When Śāmba drank the liquor he wondered as to how did his attendant get such superior quality liquor. Learning about the well from his attendant he took many of his friends to the Kādambarī cave and all of them got lost in intoxication.

The liquor that had been thrown on the Kādambarī cave reached the cliffs and ponds below and with the flowers falling into the ponds, the water turned into delicious liquor. The Yādava princes became drunk on the intoxicant they consumed. Roaming about here and there they spotted Dvaipāyana deep in meditation. The drunken Yādavas thought it is this Dvaipāyana who will become the cause for the destruction of our Dvārikā, so let us finish him here and at once all of them pounced on him, and half killing him, ran away. When Śrī kṛṣṇā learnt of this incident he got angry with the Yādavas and sad at once; taking Balarāma with him, he went to Dvaipāyana and begged for forgiveness on behalf of the Yādavas. Dvaipāyana's anger did not subside. He said – "The Yādavas almost killed me beating me up with cruelty, hence I have resolved to kill them, but I shall not do anything to you two brothers."

Dvaipāyana died and became the god Agnikumāra and reached Dvārikā to burn it to ashes. But Dvārikā had become a land of penance. People were engrossed in different kinds of austerities. Dvaipāyana continuously tried to burn Dvārikā for eleven years, but did not get a suitable opportunity on account of the religious practice of the people there. Because of Dvaipāyana's failed attempts the people of Dvārikā started thinking his influence has waned, hence it is not necessary to give trouble to the body anymore. So people started indulging in liquor and eating flesh, etc. that is, falling from righteousness turned to bad deeds and consequences. Agnikumāra got his chance and at once started a rain of fire over Dvārikā. Intense flames started spreading all over Dvārikā. Within moments Dvārikā was almost finished. Śrī kṛṣṇā and Balarāma tried to take Vasudeva, Rohiṇī and Devakī in a chariot but the chariot would not move from its place. Dvaipāyana said – "Kṛṣṇa, I told you then that leaving you two brothers, nobody will be saved. The whole Dvārikā burnt and Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma couldn't do anything, just wrung their hands and saw the destruction and after it was all over, left that place.

Facing several ordeals on the way, through constant effort and struggle, they finally reached Kauśāmbī. Dying of thirst, Kṛṣṇa asked brother Balarāma to bring him some water and Kṛṣṇa rested under the shade of a tree. Wearing a yellow robe, he was lying down with his right foot over the left knee. At that time Jarākumāra came there in search of hunt. Thinking the yellow robed Kṛṣṇa to be a deer, he released his arrow which pierced his right foot. Kṛṣṇa screamed –"Who is this, who attacks me when sleeping? Come, face me." Recognising Kṛṣṇa's voice, Jarākumāra came forward – "Brother, I am your unfortunate brother Jarākumāra. To save you I kept wandering in forests and today finally I became your killer." Kṛṣṇa told him the whole account of Dvārikā burning and giving him the kaustubha gem, said – "Showing this, stay with the Pāṇḍavas. Now without crying for me, leave. In a while Balarāma will be here with water and will not let you alive. The moment Jarākumāra left, Kṛṣṇa died.

After sometime when Balarāma returned with water, he saw Kṛṣṇa sleeping. He was surprised as to how could Kṛṣṇa sleep with such thirst. Then he saw the injury on the foot and in anger, shouted – "Who wounded my brother in his sleep? Come forward, I shall teach you a lesson for attacking on the sly." Saying this Balarāma started searching here and there for that killer. When he couldn't find anyone, he tried waking up Kṛṣṇa and then taking his body on his shoulders, started walking ahead and would try to wake up Kṛṣṇa thinking he is asleep.

This way Balarāma kept wandering in the forest, carrying Kṛṣṇa's dead body. The charioteer of Balarāma, Siddhārtha, had taken initiation under Lord Neminātha and observing austerities, completed his life and become a god. He thought – "How incurable is the result of karma and even people like Balarāma are not immune to it. I must explain to Balarāma. The god tried to explain through various forms and means and again and again kept repeating the words –"Kṛṣṇa is dead."

In the end Balarāma began to think – "Is Kṛṣṇa really no more? All these people are saying the same thing." Seeing this question arise in Balarāma's mind, the god appeared before him and said – "Baladeva! I am your charioteer Siddhārtha. By the grace of the Lord, through austerities and penance I have become a god. You had told me that if I became a god I should come to address you. Oh king! It is the unshakeable rule of the world that one who is born must die one day. Hence, please believe that Vasudeva Kṛṣṇa is no more. If a knowledgeable and able person like you will be shaken up by the blow of death, what will be the condition of ordinary people? Hence it is useless to grieve after what is past. Please accept the path of restraint and self-redemption, with which you will not have to go through the pain of the loss of a dear one."

Baladeva's illusion cleared from Siddhārtha's speech and he performed the last rites of Kṛṣṇa's dead body with respect. Knowing the feeling of Balarāma towards initiation, Lord Ariṣṭanemi sent the monk Jaṃghācāraņa to him. Balarāma took initiation from the monk and through the flame of severe penance, started to burn to ashes his karmas.

Once to break his month-long fast monk Balarāma went to a village for alms. His body, withered from penance, was still beautiful. His body was charming, glowing and his long locks of hair attractive and impressive. The women of the village would keep staring at him when he wandered about seeking food. A woman drawing water from a well, while staring at him, tied the rope around the neck of her child instead of the pot. She was about to tighten the rope when another woman alerted her. When the monk learnt of this incident he decided he would not enter a village or a city seeking alms. He decided to stay in the forest and started doing penance in the deep forests of Tuṃgiyāgiri. By the impact of his penance the creatures of the forest like lions, deer, etc. forgot their enmity and would sit by his side.

One day Baladeva muni was standing in the kāyotsarga posture facing the sun, deep in meditation. At that time, a wood-cutter came to chop wood there. He saluted the monk and started his work. When it was time to eat the wood-cutter sat in the shade of the half-chopped tree and began to eat. Seeing an opportunity the monk too went to him. The deer seated by his side also walked with him that he would see a good deed when the monk breaks his fast.  The woodcutter was very pleased to see the monk and with great devotion and faith started to give a part of his food to the monk. At that very moment a strong gust of wind blew and the halfchopped tree fell on all the three. The monk's penance was great and at the same time the wood-cutter and the deer too had pure and lofty feelings. All the three died together and were born as gods in the fifth kalpa of Brahmaloka.

The great monk Thāvaccāputra

Thāvaccāputra was among the wealthiest merchants of Dvārikā. Because his father had died while he was still a child, the entire business was taken care of by the elder Thāvaccā's wife. She maintained her clan's respect and honour in the same way as her husband did. Because of the popularity of the Thāvaccā's wife, her son also became popular as Thāvaccāputra.

Once upon a time, Lord Ariṣṭanemi, along with 18000 monks and 40,000 female-monks, arrived at the Nandanavana Garden on Raivataka Mountain. Hearing the auspicious news of the arrival of the Lord, Śrī kṛṣṇā and countless people of Dvārikā came to the Samavaśaraṇa. Thāvaccāputra also came there with his dear ones. The Lord gave his sermon, hearing which Thāvaccākumāra became disenchanted and going to his mother, said –"Mother, I have heard the Lord's nectar-like speech. I want to take mendicancy at the Lord's feet to escape from the cycle of birth and death." Thāvaccā elder became speechless at her son's words. She tried to explain to him in many ways but seeing him firm in his decision, she gave him permission.

When Vasudeva Kṛṣṇa learnt of Thāvaccāputra's decision he tried to dissuade him, too. But Thāvaccāputra said – "afraid of the cycle of birth, disease and death, I want to become a monk. If you can protect me from these then I am ready to live in this world enjoying its pleasures." In response to this Kṛṣṇa said – "birth, disease, death are irreversible naked truths of the world which cannot be cured by god or man. These can only be addressed by the destruction of karmas." Thāvaccāputra said – "Well, that is why I want to become a monk."

Impressed by the firm decision of Thāvaccāputra, Kṛṣṇa announced that "Thāvaccāputra is taking initiation under Lord Ariṣṭanemi, and if anyone else wants to do the same, he has Kṛṣṇa's permission. People dependent on them will be looked after by me." People from various families and castes, one thousands of them, became ready for initiation with Thāvaccāputra. Kṛṣṇa himself consecrated those people an all of them took initiation under the Lord at his Samavaśaraṇa. After initiation, Thāvaccāputra studied the fourteen pūrvas and through penance, destroying karmas, wandered about. Impressed by Thāvaccāputra's penance and intense austerities, Lord Ariṣṭanemi gave him the thousand monks as his disciples and the liberty and instructions to roam around with him. The monk Thāvaccāputra accepted the Lord's command and immersed himself in wandering with great responsibility.

Wandering with his thousand monks, Thāvaccāputra came to Śailakapura. Impressed by his discourse the king of Śailaka along with 500 men took initiation. From there they reached Saugandhikā city. There a well-established merchant named Sudarśana, who had become a devotee of a monk ācārya named Śuka, who was learned, impressed by Thāvaccāputra monk's religious discourse, became a votary. Learning of his disciple's acceptance of the votary's conduct, Śuka reached Sudarśana's house. When Sudarśana praised Thāvaccā monk, Śuka expressed desire to have a religious discussion with him. Happily, merchant Sudarśana took Śuka to monk Thāvaccā. Śuka discussed with monk Thāvaccā about various religious and philosophical matters. He was very happy when monk Thāvaccā resolved with humility and knowledge all his doubts. Śuka obtained the knowledge of reality listening to Thāvaccā. He saluted monk Thāvaccā, accepted to be his disciple and along with his one thousand followers, removing five fistfuls of hair, became a Śramaṇa monk. Śuka studied, along with his followers, the 14pūrvas and11Aṃgas and in some time, became famous for his self-knowledge. Then Thāvaccāputra instructed him to wander with his disciples, which Śuka accepted. Impressed by his discourse, the devotee of Śramaṇa tradition, king Śailaka, along with his 500 śrāvaka friends, became a monk. This way, observing restraint and giving religious discourse for many years, Thāvaccā muni reached Puņḍarīka Mountain. There, after one month of saṃlekhanā, he attained nirvāṇa. His disciples, Śuka and Śailaka (the sage) also reached Puņḍarīka Mountain after sometime and after a month-long saṃlekhanā, attained nirvāṇa.

Ariṣṭanemi's stay at Dvārikā and redemption of Bhavyas

Despite being a renouncer and omniscient Lord Ariṣṭanemi did not stay at one place. He traveled far and wide. While his monsoon stay was uncertain, it can be certainly said that for most part his place of stay has been Dvārikā. The fact that Lord Neminātha went again and again to Dvārikā shows that it was an important religious centre of that time. Once when the Lord was seated in Nandanavana the ten sons of Aṃdhakavṛṣṇi including Samudra, Sāgara, etc. took initiation. The second time we find mention of the initiation of Vṛṣṇ's sons, including Himavanta, etc. The third time there is mention of Baladeva's sons, Sumukha, Durmukha, Kūpaka and Vasudeva's sons, Dāruka and Anādhṛṣṭi, are also found to be initiated in Dvārikā. Then Vasudeva and Dhāriṇī's sons Jāli, Mayāli, etc. and Kṛṣṇa's son Pradyumana and Jāmbavatī's son Sāmbakumāra, Vaidarbhīkumāra, Anirūddha and Samudravijaya's Satyanemi, Dṛḍhanemi and Kṛṣṇa's other queens too took initiation at Dvārikā. This shows that Kṛṣṇa's entire family had unshakeable faith in Lord Ariṣṭanemi.

The liberation of Pāṇḍavas

As instructed by Kṛṣṇa Jarākumāra reached the Pāṇḍavas at Pāṇḍavas Mathurā and showing them the kaustubha gem given by Śrī kṛṣṇā, told them of the burning of Dvārikā, the destruction of Yādava clan and the sudden killing of Kṛṣṇa at his own hands. Hearing this heart-rending sorrowful news from Jarākumāra the Pāṇḍavas became unhappy. The news of the death of their saviour and friend Kṛṣṇa was worse than being stuck by a thunderbolt. The whole world seemed empty to them and their hearts were filled with a feeling of detachment. Sensing the desire of the Pāṇḍavas for the spiritual path of restraint Lord Ariṣṭanemi immediately sent his elder monk Dharmaghoṣa along with 500 monks to Pāṇḍavas Mathura. The Pāṇḍavas handed over their kingdom to Pāṇḍusena and accepted initiation under Dharmaghoṣa. Queen Draupadi took initiation under Āryā Suvratā. After initiation the Pāṇḍavas and Draupadi, respectively, studied the fourteen pūrvas and eleven Aṃgas and observed severe penance.

Burning their accumulated karmas through intense restraint and penance the Pāṇḍavas were wandering as mendicants when they heard that Lord Ariṣṭanemi was roaming in Saurāṣṭra region. Taking leave from their preceptor they left for Saurāṣṭra. On the way to Saurāṣṭra they stayed at Sahasrāmravana outside the city Hastakalpa near Ujjayantagiri for a day. Leaving Yudhiṣṭhira there the remaining four monks went to the city to break their fast with food offerings. There they learnt that Lord Ariṣṭanemi had attained nirvāṇa on Ujjayantagiri. The four monks immediately returned to Sahasrāmravana. Upon Yudhishthira's advice, leaving the food received, the five monks went to Śatruṃjaya Mountain and observed saṃlekhanā. After two months of saṃlekhanā, obtaining pure knowledge, they attained nirvāṇa. Queen Draupadi, after years of severe restraint, penance and austerities, observing a month's saṃlekhanā, became a maharddhika god in the fifth kalpa.

Parinirvāṇa(liberation) and the Congregation

After a little less than seven hundred years of being an omniscient, sensing the end of his time, the Lord, observing one month's fast with 536 monks on Ujjayantagiri, became, emancipated and liberated on the eighth day of the bright fortnight of Āṣāḍha month under Citrā constellation at midnight hour, destroying the non-obscuring karmas i.e. name, age, status and feeling, while in the nisadyā posture. Arihanta Ariṣṭanemi was 1000 years old.

The congregation of Lord Ariṣṭanemi had 11 Gaṇadharas like Varadatta, etc., and 11 gaṇas, 1500 kevalīs, 1000 manah ̣paryavajṅānīs, 1500 avadhijṅānī, 400 fourteen-pūrvadhārīs, 800 vādīs, 18000 monks, 40000 female-monks, 169000 votaries, 336000 female-votaries and 1600 of anuttaragatis. 1500 monks, 3000 female-monks i.e. totally 4500 antevāsīs of the Lord became emancipated, enlightened and liberated.

Historical Backdrop

Modern historians only consider Lord Mahāvīra and Lord Pārśvanātha to be historical figures, but for some years now diligent and objective research has proven that Arihanta Ariṣṭanemi was also a historical person. In Ṛgveda we find mention several times of the term Ariṣṭanemi. In the Mahā Bhārata, the term tākṣrya has been used as a synonym for Ariṣṭanemi. That tākṣrya Ariṣṭanemi gives the king Sagara a discourse related to liberation, which is found in Jain scriptures on mōkṣa-related matters. In the 'Ṛṣi-bhāṣita-Suttra' there are 45 chapters related to Ariṣṭanemi and Kṛṣṇa, among them twenty enlightened ones are from Ariṣṭanemi's time-period. The chapters written by them are proofs of the existence of Ariṣṭanemi. Apart from Ṛgveda, other Vaidika literature mentions Ariṣṭanemi. Moreover, it seems that the influence of Ariṣṭanemi was not limited to India alone but also in many other countries. Colonel Todd writes – "I think that there were four enlightened or great men in the ancient times. Among them the first was Ādinātha and the second Neminātha. Neminātha was the first "Oḍina" of the Scandonavians and the first god 'Foo's the Chinese", Dharmānanda Kausāmbi considers the ghora āṃgirasa to be Neminātha.

The Yajurveda clearly mentions – "the one who showed the spiritual Veda, the one who gave discourse to living beings in the world and the one by whose discourse the soul of living beings becomes strong, we make offerings to that omniscient Ariṣṭanemi." The Mahābhārata gives thousand names of Viṣṇu. Among these there is the term "Śūraḥ Śaurirjaneśvaraḥ." The last stanza of these ślokas is worth paying attention to. The Jain scholar at the beginning of the 19th century in his work "Mokṣa Mārga Prakāśa" writes 'Jineśvara' in place of 'Janeśvara'. Secondly, in this Kṛṣṇa is mentioned as "Śauriḥ". Near Baṭesara in Agra district is a place named 'Śauripura'. According to Jain texts this was the capital of the Yādavas in the beginning. They left from here to Dvārikā. It was here that Ariṣṭanemi was born, hence it is called 'Śauri', and he was Jineśvara in any case. From the above facts it is clear that Lord Ariṣṭanemi was, no doubt, a historical person.

Ariṣṭanemi in Vaidika Literature

Many ancient and modern historians world over consider Kṛṣṇa to be a historical person. In that case then there should be no two views on accepting the historicity of his uncle's son, Lord Ariṣṭanemi nor is there any scope of debate in this matter. Yet there is a puzzle in the mind of historians till date that while Vaidika texts give detached description of the Yādavas there, is Ariṣṭanemi mentioned or not? Efforts were made to resolve this question but the research was limited to Mahābhārata and Śrīmadbhāgavata alone hence even success was limited. As a last resort when Vedavyāsa's "Harivaṃśa" was perused minutely, a solution to this question came out clearly. In Harivaṃśa Vedavyāsa accepts that Kṛṣṇa and Ariṣṭanemi were paternal cousins. 'King Yadu had five sons comparable to divine princes, Sahasrada, Payoda, Kroṣṭā, Nīla and Aṃjika.' Kroṣṭā and his second queen Mādrī had two sons, Yudhājita and Devamīḍhuṣa. Kroṣṭā's elder son, Yudhājita had two sons, Vṛṣṇis and Andhaka. Vṛṣṇis had two sons, Svaphalka and Citraka. Citraka had 12 sons, Pṛthu, Vipṛthu, Aśvagrīva, Aśvabāhu, Supārśvaka, Gavēṣaṇā, Ariṣṭanemi, Aśva, Sudharmā, Dharmabhṛt, Subāhu and Bahubāhu and two daughters, Śraviṣṭhā and Śravaṇā. Along with the clan description of Ariṣṭanemi, Kṛṣṇa's clan is also described in Harivaṃśa by Vedavyāsa this way – "Yadu had Kroṣṭā, Kroṣṭā's second son Devamīḍhuṣa' son Śūra and Śūra had ten sons, Vasudeva, etc. and five daughters, Pṛthukīrti, etc. Vasudeva had a son Kṛṣṇa from his queen Devakī. Thus the accepted text of Vaidika tradition, Harivaṃśa's description of the Yādava clan also shows that Śrī kṛṣṇā and Śrī Ariṣṭanemi were paternal cousins and their great grandfathers were Yudhājita and Devamīḍhuṣa, who were brothers. The only difference between the two traditions is that in Jain literature Ariṣṭanemi's father Samudravijaya is considered the elder brother of Vasudeva; while in Harivaṃśa Purāṇa, Citraka and Vasudeva are considered paternal cousins. Possibly, Citraka (Citraratha) was Samudravijaya's other name. But in both traditions there are no two views about Kṛṣṇa and Ariṣṭanemi being paternal cousins. The dissimilarity in names in the two traditions could be a result of events, bad times, many fierce battles, clan fights, foreign invasions, etc. But the description gathered in Jain literature and āgamas about Tīrthaṃkara, there is no scope for not considering that proven. Not just that, in Harivaṃśa there is mention of Kṛṣṇa's queen Satyabhāmā's middle sister by the name of Dṛḍharatha, about whose marriage there is no clear description. Dṛḍharatha, this qualifying name is probably indicative of Rājīmatī, because in that time there was no greater woman steady in her vow, who by merely being promised by word to her groom, remained unmarried for life after he went back and observed the mahāvratas.

Sources

Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (1)
Author:
Acharya Hasti Mala
Editors:
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011
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  1. Agnikumāra
  2. Agra
  3. Anger
  4. Antarāya
  5. Antarāya Karma
  6. Arihanta
  7. Avasvāpinī
  8. Aśoka
  9. Balarāma
  10. Bharata
  11. Body
  12. Brahmin
  13. Consciousness
  14. Dhātakīkhaṇḍa
  15. Fear
  16. Hastināpura
  17. Indra
  18. Jina
  19. Kalpa
  20. Karma
  21. Karmas
  22. Kāyotsarga
  23. Kāyotsarga Posture
  24. Kṛṣṇa
  25. Magadha
  26. Mahābhārata
  27. Mahāvratas
  28. Mahāvīra
  29. Manah
  30. Mathura
  31. Meditation
  32. Mokṣa
  33. Muni
  34. Munisuvratanātha
  35. Neminātha
  36. Nirvāṇa
  37. Nāmakarma
  38. Nīla
  39. Omniscient
  40. Paryava
  41. Purāṇa
  42. Pārśvanātha
  43. Saṃlekhanā
  44. Soul
  45. Time Cycle
  46. Tripadī
  47. Tīrtha
  48. Tīrthaṃkara
  49. Utsarpiṇī
  50. Veda
  51. siddhas
  52. Ācārya
  53. Āgamas
  54. Āryā
  55. Āyambila
  56. Śrāvaka
  57. śramaṇa
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