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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (2): Era of Ten Prior Canons Knowing Monks (Daśa Pūrvadhara era) (I)

Published: 13.05.2016

(V.N. 170 TO 584)

Pontiffs of ten prior canons knowing monks era

8. Ācārya Sthūlabhadra
Tenure V.N. 170 - 215

9. Ācārya Mahāgiri
TENURE V.N. 215 - 245

10. Ācārya Suhastī
Tenure V.N. 245 - 291

11. Ācārya Guṇa Suṃdara
Tenure V.N. 291- 335

12. Ācārya Śyāma (Kālakācārya I)
Tenure V.N. 335 - 376

13. Ācārya Śāṃḍilya (Skaṃdila)
Tenure V.N. 376 - 414

14. Ācārya Revatīmitra
Tenure V.N. 414 - 450

15. Ācārya Dharma
Tenure V.N. 450 - 494

16. Ācārya Bhadragupta
Tenure V.N. 494-533

17. Ācārya Śrīgupta
Tenure V.N. 533 - 548

18. Ācārya Ārya Vajra
Tenure V.N. 548 - 584

Era of ten prior canons knowing Monks

With the heavenly abode of Ācārya Bhadrabāhu, the last Caturadaśa Pūrvadhara, in V.N. 170, the Śruta kevalī era ended leading to the beginning of the era of ten prior canons knowing monks (Daśa Pūrvadharas). Śvetāmbara tradition considers that the Daśa Pūrvadhara era stretched from V.N. 170 to 584, a span of 414 years, whereas according to Digambara sect, it is between V.N. 162 to 345, lasting for 183 years.

8. Ārya Sthūlabahdra

Birth V.N. 116
Initiation V.N. 146
Ascend to pontiff chair V.N. 170
Heavenly abode V.N. 215
Household life duration 30 years
Ordinary monk tenure 24 years
Tenure as pontiff 45 years
Total longevity 99 years

After Ācārya Bhadrabāhu, the last Śrutakevalī, Ācārya Ārya Sthūlabhadra became the eighth pontiff. The name of Ārya Sthūlabhadra, who won over Kāmadeva, the god of love and sensual pleasures, is taken first among the rare human beings.

Inspired by the unique victory of Ārya Sthūlabhadra on sensual pleasures, many poets have composed poems on his life history in many languages. The life of Ārya Sthūlabhadra sets a unique example of a combination of extremes - romance and detachment. It is impossible for a person staying in a place that brings disgrace and suspicion on one's character, to come out immaculately. But Ārya Sthūlabhadra, even after living continuously for four months in the house of Kośa, the most beautiful concubine of that time, stayed completely platonic and proved that the impossible can be made possible.

Birth and Parents

Ācārya Sthūlabhadra was born in V.N. 116 in an orthodox Brahmin family that staunchly believed in Jain Dharma and was respected by kings. After the demise of Udāyī, the Emperor of Magadha, the ancestor of this family, "Kalpaka" was appointed the Prime Minister of the Magadha kingdom by the first Nanda. Since then, i.e. from the tenure of the first Nanda until the ninth Nanda, the head of the same Brahmin family always graced the post of the Prime Minister. The name of the Prime Minister of the ninth Nanda was Śakaṭāra or Śakadāla.  Ārya Sthūlabhadra was the son of this Brahmin Śakadāla of Gautama lineage. The name of Sthūlabhadra's mother was Lakṣmī Devī.

The Prime Minister Śakadāla was a high standing politician of his times, an educationist and an efficient administrator. During Śakadāla's tenure as the Prime Minister, the boundaries of Magadha kingdom grew remarkably and the revenues of the treasury increased tremendously.

Thus Sthūlabhadra belonged to such a prominent ministerial family. Sthūlabhadra's younger brother was Śrīyaka. Yakṣa, Yakṣadinnā, Bhūtā, Bhūtadinnā, Saiṇā, Maiṇā and Raiṇā were their seven sisters. The revered minister Śakaṭāra made necessary arrangements for the education of his two sons and seven daughters and made them proficient in all branches of learning.

Life with Kośa

Even after becoming an outstanding scholar, the young Sthūlabhadra was unaware of sensual pleasures. To provide the detached Sthūlabhadra practical training and to draw him towards household life, the Minister Śakaṭāra sent him to a shrewd concubine named Kośā. Within a few days of their acquaintance, both the teacher Kośāand the student Sthūlabhadra were so captivated by each other's' attributes, that even a moment's absence from one another made them feel lifeless. This mutual attraction eventually reached to such an extent that for about 12 years they were so extremely fond of each other, that they had never seen any face other than that of their servants.

Śrīyaka would accompany his father to the court of the ninth Nanda and help him in the royal duties.

Contention of Vararuchi

Under the direction of the intelligent and capable Śakaṭāra, Nanda's reign was running smooth, just like how an automatic machine moves on its own. Be it small or big, the way Śakaṭāra handled the stately issues, reflected his vibrant personality.

Seeing the impressive splendor of Śakaṭāra, a scholar named Vararuchi started feeling jealous of him. Gradually, Vararuchi became a strong opponent of Śakaṭāra. With the intention of creating an image for himself in the hearts of the people and the king, through his profound learning, Vararuchi recited novel poems in praise of the king every day. By doing so, he thought of gaining prestige and amassing wealth. But as Śakaṭāra did not utter even one word in praise of Vararuchi, Nanda too neither appreciated his poetry nor offered any gifts. Consequently, Vararuchi understood the situation. After a lot of deliberation, he decided to impress Lakṣmī Devī, the literary expert wife of Śakaṭāra, with his poetry. With the elegance of his poetic words, Vararuchi pleased Lakṣmī Devī and appealed her to recommend Minister Śakaṭāra for compliments for his poetry in Nanda's court. Subsequently Lakṣmī Devī requested her husband to praise Vararuchi's poetry in the court and see that he gets some financial benefit. As insisted by his learned wife, the next day Śakaṭāra praised the poetry of Vararuchi in the court. As a result, Nanda was pleased and presented Vararuchi 108 gold coins in appreciation of his poetry.

Everyday Vararuchi used to recite his novel poems in the court of Nanda and would in return immediately get 108 gold coins from the treasury of the Magadha King Nanda. This continued for a long time.

Prime Minister Śakaṭāra felt the need to curtail the expense of such a large sum from the coffers every day. So one day he told Nanda that the poems recited by Vararuchi were not his original compositions, instead he was presenting the works of some other poets. He further added that those poems can even be recited by his seven daughters Yakṣā, Yakṣadinnā etc. and the same can be demonstrated the next morning itself.

King Nand was quite surprised at this. The next morning the seven daughters of Minister Śakaṭāra were made to sit behind a curtain in the court. Vararuchi recited 108 new verses in the court in praise of Mahārāja Nanda. The entire court was surprised when Yakṣā, the eldest daughter of Minister Śakaṭāra, recited all the 108 verses that were recited by Vararuchi. Then, one after the other, Yakṣadinnā, Bhūtā, Bhūtadinnā, Saiṇā, Maiṇā and Raiṇā, got up and recited all the verses of the poem in front of the king. In fact, his seven daughters were eka pāṭhī (remembering any prose or poetry of any length by just listening once), dwīpāṭhī (ability to remember by listening twice), tripāṭhī, Catuspāṭhī, paṃcapāṭhī, ṣaḍpāṭhī and saptapāṭhī respectively. The entire court was in bewilderment. All the eyes were looking at Vararuchi in hatred. The reputation of all his scholarly knowledge was reduced to rubble within minutes. Vararuchi felt humiliated and ashamed.

With just one ploy of the Minister, Vararuchi lost all his reputation. A fire of vengeance burst in the heart of Vararuchi. By fair means or foul, he decided to restore his lost honor by taking revenge on Śakaṭāra. After much deliberation, he came up with a scheme.

The Mysterious spectacle

After making necessary arrangements to successfully accomplish his mission of taking revenge on Śakaṭāra, Vararuchi, through his disciples proclaimed to the people of Pāṭalīputra, that in the early hours of a specific day, he would recite his self-composed verses in praise of River Gaṃgā and that Gaṃgā, pleased, would present him with 108 gold coins with her own hands. On that particular day, much before sunrise, a large number of people gathered on the banks of the Gaṃgā. Vararuchi took bath in the Gaṃgā and in a high tone invoked her. By sunrise, thousands of men and women saw that suddenly from the currents of the Gaṃgā, a hand of a woman came up, gave a bag in the hands of Vararuchi and disappeared back into the Gaṃgā. When he opened the bag in the presence of all and counted the gold coins, they were exactly 108 in number. The applause of the people there echoed in the skies. The word spread all over, like thunder. Within few days the glory of Vararuchi spread far and wide.

One day king Nanda expressed his desire to Śakaṭāra that he too would like to see the miracle with his own eyes.

The Prime Minister Śakaṭāra entrusted the work of finding the factual truth to one of the most efficient and skilled secret emissary. Through him Śakaṭāra came to know that Vararuchi goes to the Gaṃgā at night and places the bag of gold coins in a contrivance hidden in the river and the next day he presses the contrivance with his feet and obtains the bag, thus fooling the common people.

After knowing this, the next night Śakaṭāra got the bag of gold coins that Vararuchi kept, removed by his spy.

The next day before sunrise itself, a large crowd gathered near the banks of the river Gaṃga. At the appropriate time, Mahārāja Nanda, the king of Magadha along with his Prime Minister and other officials reached the river bank. Vararuchi took bath in the river and then started invoking Gaṃgā. After the invocation, as usual Vararuchi pressed the contrivance with his foot. All of a sudden a hand came out of the waves of Gaṃgā, but it was totally empty. There was no bag of gold coins. Vararuchi dived into the river and searched for the bag of gold coins in the water, but in vain. He stood silently with his head bent.

"Here is your bag of 108 gold coins, which you have deposited last night in the river. "Saying these words, the Prime Minister Śakaṭāra kept the bag of gold coins in Vararuchi's hand. Vararuchi experienced much more pain than death itself, at the sight of the abhorrence and the repulsion in the eyes of the people. He was so abashed that his deception was caught that he did not step out of his house for several days. Holding Prime Minister Śakaṭāra responsible for his mass insult, Vararuchi spent days and nights trying to find some weakness of Śakaṭāra to take revenge on him.

One day, through a maid of Śakaṭāra, Vararuchi came to know that Prime Minister Śakaṭāra, on the eve of his son Śrīyaka's marriage, had ordered beautiful and expensive insignia like umbrellas, etc and custom-built, state-of-the-art destroyer weapons to offer as a gift to Mahārāja Nanda.

Conspiracy of Vararuchi against Śakaṭāra

To take his revenge on Śakaṭāra, Vararuchi considered the information he got as the most appropriate one to plan a future conspiracy. He wrote a verse, the summary of which is as follows: "Mahārāja Nanda doesn't know what Prime Minister Śakaṭāra wants to do. After killing Nanda Śakaṭāra wants to make his son Śrīyaka, one day the king of Magadha."

He mobilized a group of young boys (in the age group 6 to 10) by offering sweetmeats, etc. and made them by-heart the above-mentioned śloka. He then asked them to recite it again and again in high tones in all the streets, markets, crosses, play grounds and gardens, etc. Thus the secretive sloka was echoing at all the public places of Pāṭalīputra. Resonating from all four sides, the sloka reached king Nanda. Nanda was shocked; never the less, he was totally confident that Śakaṭāra, under any circumstances, would not do such a heinous deed. However, to find out the truth, he sent a reliable person to find out in detail the activities at the minister's residence. The person reached the residence of Śakaṭāra without any delay. At that very time, incidentally, the umbrella, sword, and the newly made arms & ammonktious which were brought to be gifted to Nanda, were being kept in the newly built artillery room. The confidant of Nanda immediately rushed back and narrated in detail whatever he had seen there. Nanda then waited for Śakaṭāra.

At the fixed time, Śakaṭāra appeared in front of Nanda and bowed to him. In spite of much effort, Nanda could not control his anger; he looked at Śakaṭāra wrathfully and turned his face away from him.

Saving the family by sacrificing self

Nanda's knit eyebrows and angry looks were a telltale sign to Śakaṭāra that some treacherous conspiracy against him had succeeded. He at once returned home and said to Śrīyaka, "Son! Someone had plotted a conspiracy against me and convinced King Nanda that I am no longer loyal to him. Under these circumstances, it is possible that our entire family may be wiped out at any time. Hence, in order to save our family, I order you to follow my instructions. When I bend my head with respect and bow in front of Nanda, without any second thoughts, you with your sword cut my head, separating it from the body and displaying your complete loyalty towards the King, say: 'The disloyal, even if he is our father, has to be slain immediately,'. This is the only way to save our family, else total destruction is inevitable".

As Śrīyaka was not prepared to take up this heinous act, Śakaṭāra giving solace said, "During the impending crisis, if you are unwilling to follow my instructions, it will be helping the enemies to succeed in their motives. When bowing before the king, I shall put aconite poison in my mouth. In such a situation even if you sever my head, you will not be affected by the sin of killing your father. Hence before Nanda slaughters our entire family, you have to cut my head to save our family. Honor my word and save our dynasty".

Śakaṭāra, along with his son Śrīyaka went to the palace, stood in front of Nanda and bent his head in salutation. Śrīyaka immediately took out the sword and in a single stroke, cut off the head of Śakaṭāra. This unfortunate event happened in V.N. 146.

Nanda became impetuous and in a surprised tone asked, "Son! Śrīyaka! What have you done?"

In a grave tone, Śrīyaka said, "Lord! When you have ascertained that the Prime Minister is a traitor, I have discharged my duty as a servant".

Nanda became speechless and was looking intently at Śrīyaka. Later he performed the final rites of his late Prime Minister amid royal honors. Nanda then requested Śrīyaka to take charge as the Prime Minister of the Magadha kingdom.

Śrīyaka, with humility said, "O king of Magadha! My elder brother Sthūlabhadra is as competent as my father. Hence I request you to offer him the post of Prime Minister. From the past 12 years he has been staying at the residence of the concubine, Kośā.

The Post of Prime Minister

As asked by Śrīyaka, King Nanda sent his senior officials and invited Sthūlabhadra with due honor to the palace and requested him to accept the post of Prime Minister. To arrive at a decision, Sthūlabhadra sat in the Aśoka Garden of the Palace and started contemplating. Even though Sthūlabhadra was all the while staying with the concubine Kośā and spending his life enjoying the physical pleasures, his prudent inner mind was completely alert. Sthūlabhadra thought, "The royal authority and grandeur unnecessarily pushed my godly father towards premature death; taking up the same authority and powerful post of a Prime Minister cannot give me happiness. It is quite possible that one day I too may end up in the same situation. Under such uncertain situation, it is better that I choose that wealth and power which will keep me happy forever and which is everlasting.

The deep thinking made Sthūlabhadra despise all the worldly pleasures, the mundane affairs and bondages. The understanding of this reality changed the direction of the life of Sthūlabhadra. He thought to himself, "The post of a Prime Minister is undoubtedly a high position, but this is ultimately slavery, servility and dependence. A bonded person cannot experience happiness even in his dreams. A slave will never get even a moment to think of his own pain or pleasure, as he will always be completely engrossed in the thoughts of his service to the king, kingdom and the people. In spite of mentally and physically serving the king and his kingdom, with dedication and without sparing any pains, yet there is constant fear of confiscation and of death. At the expense of so much energy, what you get in return is equal to a cipher. Therefore, the wise instead of wasting their energy just for the benefit of the king, should make good use of it for the beneficiation and purification of one's soul. "

Thinking so, Sthūlabhadra soon came to a decision. He made up his mind to relinquish all the empty pleasures of the world and work towards strengthening his own soul. Immediately he plucked out five handfuls of hair from his head, made a whiskbroom from the threads of his bejeweled blanket and in the robes of a monk, went to the court and stood in front of King Nanda and said, "O King! After deep thought, I have decided that it is not the position of the Prime Minister which increases worldly delusions that I need, instead, what I need is a harmless straw mat for renunciation. I want to practice detachment and not attachment."

After conveying the above, Sthūlabhadra headed out of the king's palace. The entire royal council including King Nanda was stunned at the unexpected decision of Sthūlabhadra.

Initiation of Sthūlabhadra

Sthūlabhadra instantaneously forsook the palatial mansion, the divinely beautiful Kośā and all the opulence, just like how a snake sheds off its skin. He dissociated himself from the body, wealth and kinsmen and with total inclination towards renunciation, reached the outskirts of the city, where Ārya Saṃbhūtavijaya was seated, bowed to him with respect and took refuge at his feet and in V.N. 146, he took the Śramaṇa initiation.

Apart from strictly following all the vows of an ascetic, he served his Guru with humility and also served the older Śramaṇas, and through penance burning his Karma, Monk Sthūlabhadra studied the scriptures with great enthusiasm and concentration from his Guru Saṃbhūtavijaya.

When Sthūlabhadra left the palace, Nanda appointed Śrīyaka as the Prime Minister of Magadha. The skilled politician Śrīyaka, like his father Śakaṭāra, administrating wisely started contributing for the all-round development of the kingdom. The King Nanda respected the young Prime Minister just as he respected the late Prime Minister Śakaṭāra.

The toughest self-imposed challenge of Sthūlabhadra

On the other hand, Sthūlabhadra, living in the close proximity of his revered Guru and persistently working hard day and night, learnt and mastered the entire Ekādaśāṃgī (eleven limbs of canons).

As monsoon season set in, three other disciples of Saṃbhūtavijaya approached him and expressed their desire to take up formidable vows. All the four disciple disciples wanted to observe the four months long fast. Besides the first disciple wanted to meditate near the mouth of the lion's lair the second one wanted to meditate in a standing posture near the hole of a snake with poison in his sight, and the third disciple wanted to meditate sitting on the wall of a well.

When Ārya Saṃbhūtavijaya listened to the tough vows that the disciples intended to take up, he contemplated and felt that they are capable of accomplishing them and so he gave them, his consent.

At that juncture, Ārya Sthūlabhadra, bowing at the feet of his Guru with folded hands in reverence, expressed his desire that he would want to stay for four months in the picture chamber of the courtesan Kośā amidst many attractive murals that provoke the senses, eat rich and delicious six-course meal and still continue his asceticism without any diversion and without violating the Strict principles of celibacy. Using his powers of cognition Ārya Saṃbhūtavijaya comprehended that Sthūlabhadra would be successful in this challenging vow. Hence Ārya Saṃbhūtavijaya granted him the permission to stay in the picture chamber of Kośā.

Taking the permission of their Guru, the four disciples walked towards their respective desired and chosen places. The first three disciples started their fasting and meditation at the places they selected.

Ārya Sthūlabhadra also arrived at Kośā's mansion. Being informed of the arrival of Sthūlabhadra with whom she had been associated for a long time, and whom she treasured more than her own life, Kośā came running to him with her hands folded in welcome. She, in her mind thought that as Sthūlabhadra's disposition is very delicate by birth, so he has come back forever, as he is oppressed by the burden of his spiritual vows. She smiled at him and welcomed him with sweet words.

Ārya Sthūlabhadra said, "Oh female-votary! Permit me stay in your picture chamber for four months."

Kośā overwhelmed with joy said, "Lord! The picture chamber is entirely at your service. Please stay in it and make my life worthwhile."

Ārya Sthūlabhadra who had full confidence in himself entered the chamber and sat down. Kośā offered the tastiest six-course meal (Madhukari) to him during his customary alms begging. After retiring from the meal, Kośā dressed in the most attractive manner, presented she before him, bowed to him and said in a beguiling tone, "O! Treasure of my life! Please shower your nectar-like loving smiles at your beloved one, who is burning in fire of your passion and rejuvenate her".

Monk Sthūlabhadra remained completely dispassionate and silent.

Realizing that her entreaty to fulfil her sensual desire had no effect on Sthūlabhadra, her hurt feminine pride rose to its full. Kośā, using all the wiles of a woman on Sthūlabhadra, with her infallible glances, various charming and alluring gestures, agonizing screams which touch the heart, by becoming unconscious, weeping, thus repeatedly performing many tricks and ploys, tried to attract him towards her. All of the charming and provocative gestures of Kośā went waste and did not even get her at least a single side-glance of the strong-willed ascetic Sthūlabhadra. The more she tried to distract and bring him out of his holy path and seduce him with her actions and gestures, the more he progressed in his concentration and in achieving perfection in his meditation. She served him delicious food to eat and incited him to enjoy the sexual pleasures, every day, by adopting new methods and techniques to somehow attract him towards her. However, Ascetic Sthūlabhadra did not swerve even a little from his holy path and with total control over the senses continuously advanced on the path of spiritual attainment. Ultimately, when the four months were closing in, Kośā astonished by Ārya Sthūlabhadra's remarkable ability to control his senses, acceding her defeat, ceased all efforts to attract him. She knelt before his feet and reproached herself and begged for forgiveness.

Thereupon, listening to Ārya Sthūlabhadra's discourse, Kośā expressed her deep faith in the religion and she took initiation into Female-votary Dharma from him and served him with a pious heart.

After four months, the first three disciples blemish Lesly accomplishing their vows came back to their Guru. Ācārya Saṃbhūtavijaya rose a little from his seat and welcoming them said, "Welcome to you, "O Monks who performed arduous penance!"

When Ācārya Saṃbhūtavijaya saw Ārya Sthūlabhadra returning from the mansion of Kośā, the courtesan; he at once got up from his seat and greeted him saying, "O noble monk who attained the unattainable! Welcome to you".

The three disciples were jealous of Sthūlabhadra as he was given a greater welcome and more honor. The envious disciples talked among themselves, "Ārya Sthūlabhadra is the son of a minister, so our prejudiced Guru addressed him as "Duṣkaraduṣkarakārī" (one who attained the unattainable) and showed him more respect. If by staying in a luxurious mansion and relishing six-course meals, one acquires such a title, then let us in the next monsoon season, definitely do the same and achieve the same title".

Thereafter, Ācārya Saṃbhūtavijaya with his disciples wandered other places. For eight months he visited many lands and uplifted many souls. Soon the monsoon season approached once again.

Competition against Sthūlabhadra

The disciple, who meditated near the lion's cave, for four months in the previous monsoon season, approached the Guru and with all humility, expressed his desire and begged for permission to stay in the courtesan Kośā's picture chamber, eating delicious meal, every day for four months. It was not hidden from Ācārya Saṃbhūtavijaya that the disciple was taking this vow out of jealousy towards Sthūlabhadra.  After using his powers of cognition, he said, "Son! You abandon the very thought of performing such extremely difficult vow. Only Sthūlabhadra has the strong will power to fulfil such a vow".

The disciple was adamant. "O Guru! This is not a tough vow for me, moreover it is very easy. I will definitely take up this vow".

Ācārya Saṃbhūtavijaya again explained to him not to have such false courage, but blinded by envy, the disciple did not heed his advice and refuting the advice of his Guru, the disciple walked towards the courtesan's mansion.

When Kośā saw the disciple arrive at her mansion, she at once understood that he had come to spend the four months there, as he had bred jealousy against Ārya Sthūlabhadra. Thinking that he should not get trapped in these mundane worldly affairs, effort to protect him was necessary. With this thought in mind, Kośā bowed to him and asked, "O monk! Of what service can I be to you?"

"O gentle one! I too like Ārya Sthūlabhadra want to stay in your picture chamber for four months. So permit me to do the same".

Kośā's teaching a lesson to the disciple

Kośā gave him the permission to stay in the picture chamber and served him with the tasty meal. In the afternoon, in order to test the monk, she dressed herself in the most attractive and seductive attire and entered the picture chamber. Kośā did not even have to make any attempts at seducing the monk. Just one glance of the gorgeously dressed nymph like beauty, made the monk desperate, and he like an accustomed beggar, started beseeching her. After a stomach full of six course meal, just the sight of a beautiful woman made him blind with lust.

In order to protect the monk from falling into a fathomless, blind well of lust, she demanded money from him. "Expecting money from a person

like me is like trying to extract oil from sand. Take pity on me and fulfil my desire", said the monk.

Intelligent Kośā said in a decisive tone, "O great soul! A monk may break his vow, but a courtesan never breaks her traditional rules. If you still want to fulfil your desire, I can give you a solution. The King of Nepal Kṣitipāla used to donate bejeweled blankets to novice monk. Go there and get the blanket for me".

Blinded by lust, the monk at once proceeded to Nepal. He did not even think for a moment that Mokṣa are prohibited to wander during the monsoon season. To quench the thirst of his burning lust, he crossed thick forests inhabited by wild animals and insurmountable mountains and eventually reached Nepal. There he obtained the bejeweled blanket from the king. He folded it and hid it in a hollow bamboo stick. Pleased with his achievement, he started his return journey to Pāṭalīputra.

The monk presented himself with greedy eyes, expressing his hankering, gave her the blanket which he obtained after great struggle. Kośā wiped her feet with the blanket and threw it in the gutter.

Seeing the fate of the blanket which he acquired with unceasing efforts and facing many obstacles, he expressed in a sad and surprised tone, "O dove-eyed one! You have thrown this extremely precious blanket into the filthy gutter; you are a very foolish woman".

Kośā immediately replied, "O monk! Like an imbecile, you are worrying about the blanket but you are least bothered about your conduct - jewel which you are willing to ruin by falling into the filthiest deep mire of worldly pleasures".

When the monk listened to Kośā's reprimanding moral preaching, the shadow of lust that had engulfed his mind immediately disappeared. He felt remorse at his degeneration. He expressed his gratitude to Kośā for her timely guidance and for saving him from sinking into the ocean of material existence.

Thereafter, the monk left the house of Kośā & stood in front of Ācārya Saṃbhūtavijaya. Truthfully narrating the tale of his decline, he asked for his forgiveness. In addition, to eradicate the impurities he accumulated; he received the appropriate punishment and purified himself.

The three disciples in unison praised Ārya Sthūlabhadra and declared that he is eligible to be decorated with the great title of "Duṣkaraduṣkarakāraka" (accomplishing the unattainable).

Aversion of Śrīyaka

The seven daughters of Śakadāla, Yakṣā, Yakṣadinnā, Bhūtā, Bhūtadinnā, Sainā, Mainā and Rainā, just like their brother Sthūlabhadra, after the demise of their father, became disinclined towards the world, and they too took initiation. For his immoral conduct, Varuruchi also had to end his life in a befitting manner, by drinking molten tin. Seeing such strange outcome of one's own deeds, Śrīyaka also spurned the world. After serving as a Prime Minister of Magadha for seven years, he too took initiation as a Jain monk in 153 V.N., from Ācārya Saṃbhūtavijaya.

A terrible long-lasting famine occurred during the combined tenure of Ācārya Saṃbhūtavijaya and Ācārya Bhadrabāhu. Ācārya Saṃbhūtavijaya passed away in V.N. 156, during the period of the dreadful famine. After him, Ācārya Bhadrabāhu took the reins of the congregation into his hands completely. At the command of Ācārya Bhadrabāhu, Ācārya Sthūlabhadra travelled many places propagating the religion.

The first discourse and writing of canonical literature in Pāṭalīputra V.N.160

Prior to Ācārya Sambhūtivijaya's departure to heaven in 156 V.N., due to severe drought, Central India was struck with dreadful famine. In order to save themselves from its severe impact most of the monks, abandoning the famine-affected areas, migrated to far off places. Ācārya Bhadrabāhu along with some monks went to Nepal. Because of the scarcity of food during the famine, fearing any violation in the observance of vows of self-restraint, many spiritually inclined monks took the vow of fast unto death and attained Samādhi and made their life meaningful.

When the famine was over, and the conditions returned to normalcy, all monks who migrated to different places, returned to Pāṭalīputra. Prolonged living without enough food and water due to the terrible long famine and facing many death-like difficulties, the monks were unable to practice recitation of Āgamas regularly. As a result, much of the canonical texts were forgotten. The need for the recitation and rememorisation / writing of sacred texts was felt. For this purpose, the aged and the scholarly monks, the Sthaviras who were well-versed in Ekādaśāṃgī, were to congregate at a common place and recite all the canonical literature and protect the Dwādaśāṃgī from falling into oblivion.

After taking such a decision, the first recitation of Āgamika scriptures took place at Pāṭalīputra in 160 V.N. All the monks present there participated in it. Pontiff Bhadrabāhu was in Nepal at that time, practicing Mahāprāṇa meditation. Hence the recitation was carried out under the auspices of Sthūlabhadra, the disciple of the late Ācārya Saṃbhūtavijaya.

The recitation of each of the twelve canons of Dwādaśāṃgī was carried out in series, one by one in a proper manner; and with the extreme and mutual cooperation of the Śramaṇas, the forgotten texts were recollected in their original form. All the monks memorised the forgotten texts by listening to the same being recited over and over again by the monks who had retained and recollected them. Thus, the farsightedness, mutual cooperation and collective exchange of the recalled texts, saved Ekādaśāṃgī from going into oblivion.


Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (2)
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. Anger
  2. Aśoka
  3. Body
  4. Brahmin
  5. Celibacy
  6. Concentration
  7. Cooperation
  8. Dharma
  9. Digambara
  10. Fasting
  11. Fear
  12. Gautama
  13. Guru
  14. Guṇa
  15. Jain Dharma
  16. Karma
  17. Kevalī
  18. Lakṣmī
  19. Magadha
  20. Mahāprāṇa
  21. Meditation
  22. Mokṣa
  23. Pride
  24. Pūrvadhara
  25. Sloka
  26. Soul
  27. Yakṣa
  28. samādhi
  29. Ācārya
  30. Āgamas
  31. Śruta
  32. Śrutakevalī
  33. Śvetāmbara
  34. śloka
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