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

Published: 14.05.2016

A Major Problem

After the completion of the recitation of Ekādaśāṃgī, the monks were confronted with a difficult problem regarding the profession of the canonical knowledge. None of the monks attending the congregation had the knowledge of Dṛṣṭivāda. The congregation was worried that without Dṛṣṭivāda, how can the essence of the preachings of Lord Mahāvīra be adopted. Some of the monks came out with a suggestion that only Ācārya Bhadrabāhu was proficient in the fourteen Pūrvas, and that he was engaged in Mahāprāṇa meditation in Nepal. He alone could recite the entire fourteen Pūrvas to the monks and thus save Dṛṣṭivādaī from going into oblivion.

Finally, the congregation decided to send a large group of monks to Bhadrabāhu in Nepal on behalf of the congregation and request him to teach the fourteen Pūrvas and save the ocean of knowledge. Accordingly, under the leadership and guidance of some Sthaviras, a large group of monks went to Bhadrabāhu in Nepal. After reaching there, bowing in veneration, the leader of the Sthaviras appealed, "Omniscient-like Lord! After the recitation of Ekādaśāṃgī by the congregation of monks in Pāṭalīputra, they sent this message to you that today, in the Śramaṇa congregation, you are the last authority on the fourteen Pūrvas; other than you there is none else to teach the fourteen Pūrvas. So to save the knowledge, please impart the knowledge of the fourteen Pūrvas to the eligible monks".

Perspective of Āvaśyakacūrṇi and Dharma Sāgara Tapagaccha Paṭṭāvalī

From among the congregation in Pāṭalīputra, a few monks were sent to Nepal to bring Bhadrabāhu. However as he was engaged in the Mahāprāṇa meditation, he declined to obey the congregation. The congregation again dispatched the second group of Mokṣa. They asked Bhadrabāhu, "What penalty one has to pay if he disobeys the congregation?" Bhadrabāhu replied, "Excommunicate- cation". But as I already started observing Yoga Spiritual-exertion of Mahāprāṇa Meditation, the congregation should take mercy upon me and send intelligent and able monks here, so that I can teach them seven lessons per day". Thereupon, the congregation sent Sthūlabhadra etc., 500 other monks to learn the fourteen Pūrvas from Bhadrabāhu. This narration is found in a fore mentioned literature.

The Mentions in Titthogālī

Listening to the message of Śramaṇa congregation from the Śramaṇas who arrived there, Ācārya Bhadrabāhu said, "The lessons of the Pūrvas are very complicated. Sufficient time is required to teach them. Since I am at the far end of my life, because of which there is lack of time, I regret for my incapability to teach the knowledge of Pūrvas to the Śramaṇas. I am left with very short time in my life. I am engaged in self-realization. Under these circumstances, what spiritual purpose does it serve to me if I teach these texts?"

As Ācārya Bhadrabāhu refuted the command of the congregation, the Śramaṇas got upset and said emotionally, "O eminent ācārya! With regrets we are forced to pose the question, what penalty one pays if he disobeys the congregation's command?"

Ācārya Bhadrabāhu solemnly answered, "According to the rules of Jain Order, the one who gives such a reply should be considered as a heretic in the canonical texts and should be ex - communicated from the congregation".

The leader of the congregation said, "You are the highest leader of the congregation. Despite the awareness of the twelve rules of "Saṃbhoga Viccheda" (excommunication from the congregation) how are you declining to teach the Pūrvas?"

Ācārya Bhadrabāhu said in a decisive tone, "I am willing to teach the Pūrvas on one condition. When I am practicing Mahāprāṇa meditation, for spiritual- exertion, I will not talk with anyone and nobody should talk to me. After the completion of my meditation, every day, I will teach seven recitals of Pūrvas to the monks: one recital after returning from seeking alms, three recitals in the rest of the day time (kālavelās) and three recitals after the evening pratikramaṇa. Thus there will not be any hindrance even in my meditation and at the same time, the command of the congregation will also be fulfilled".

The leaders of the group of monks accepted the condition of Ācārya Bhadrabāhu. Ācārya Bhadrabāhu, keeping his word, started teaching the Pūrvas to the 500 brilliant Śramaṇas including Ārya Sthūlabhadra. Because of the complicated and obscure nature of the subject and because of the slowness in the progress of the recitals, gradually 499 monks feeling tired and frustrated stopped learning & went back to Pāṭalīputra. But Ārya Sthūlabhadra kept at his study of Pūrvas with courage, concentration and dedication. Thus of the remaining period of the twelve years of his Mahāprāṇa meditation, Bhadrabāhu taught the Pūrvas to Sthūlabhadra continuously for eight years; and Sthūlabhadra became well-versed in eight Pūrvas.

One day Sthūlabhadra asked Ācārya Bhadrabāhu, "Lord! How much more remains for me to learn?"

Ācārya Bhadrabāhu replied, "O humble son! Whatever you have learnt so far is equivalent to one drop of the unfathomable Sindhu Ocean. You are still left with learning the entire Sindhu Ocean, except for this one drop."

Catching a glimpse of slight disappointment on the face of his disciple, Ācārya Bhadrabāhu said in an encouraging tone, "Do not be disappointed, O amiable One! I will teach the remaining Pūrvas very fast."

By the time Ācārya Bhadrabāhu finished his Mahāprāṇa Dhyan, he had taught Sthūlabhadra two topics less of the ten Pūrvas and with his congregation from Nepal left for Pāṭalīputra. There he preached dharma to a huge audience in a garden outside the city.

Sthūlabhadra's ascetic sisters, Yakṣā and the six others also came to the garden to pay homage to Ācārya Bhadrabāhu, Ārya Sthūlabhadra and other monks. After bowing to Ācārya Bhadrabāhu, Female-monk Yakṣā asked, "Lord! Where is our eldest brother, Sthūlabhadra?"

The ācārya answered "Ārya Sthūlabhadra might be studying in the dilapidated temple (caitya) nearby."

Yakṣā along with her six sisters left towards the said temple. Sthūlabhadra, from a distance, saw them approaching and wanted to show them a miracle from his learning. Instantly, using the power of his knowledge, he turned himself into a huge and beautiful lion. After reaching the decrepit temple, the Female monks saw the ferocious lion sitting there and their eldest brother was not visible anywhere, they fled to their teacher and told him, "O Lord! There is a lion sitting at the temple and Ārya Sthūlabhadra is nowhere to be seen. We are worried if our astute Śramaṇa has been devoured by the lion."

Using his knowledge the ācārya instantly understood what had happened. Assuring them, the ācārya said, "Children! Return to the temple and now see; you will find your brother sitting there and not the lion. In fact, the lion is none other than your brother".

The sisters once again went to the temple and were overjoyed to see their brother in place of the lion. They paid humble deferential salutations and inquisitively asked, "Eldest brother! Just a few seconds back there was a lion seated at where you are sitting now. Where has that lion gone?"

The amused Ārya Sthūlabhadra replied with a smile, "There was no lion here. That was just me, testing my knowledge"

The seven lady ascetics were extremely happy knowing that their eldest brother was a treasure house of extraordinary knowledge & miracles.

Later, Female monk Yakṣārelated to Ārya Sthūlabhadra, the sad incident of their younger brother-monk Śrīyaka whom she encouraged to initially observe Ekāsana (taking food only once in a day) and then undertake complete fasting, as a result of which he passed away.

After the departure of the female-monks, when it was the time for learning, Ārya Sthūlabhadra went to his teacher. Ācārya Bhadrabāhu told him in clear words, "Son! It is very difficult to acquire knowledge but actually it is much more difficult to digest the acquired knowledge. You failed to digest the secret knowledge. You could not control the temptation of displaying your power. In front of your sisters you exhibited your eminence and the miracle of your knowledge. And hence you are no longer eligible to learn the remaining knowledge. Be happy with whatever you have learnt."

When Ārya Sthūlabhadra heard the words of his teacher, he felt remorse for the sin he committed. He prostrated on the feet of his Guru and repeatedly implored for his forgiveness and he repeatedly promised that he would never, ever repeat such a mistake. But Ācārya Bhadrabāhu bluntly refused his plea saying that he was unfit to acquire the wisdom of the last four Pūrvas filled with much celestial and miracle-achieving knowledge.

The whole congregation came to know of what transpired. They approached Ācārya Bhadrabāhu, persuaded and prayed that he should forgive the sin of Sthūlabhadra and punish him suitably for his fault and continue teaching the remaining Pūrvas.

The ācārya listened to their entreaties attentively and said, "As a matter of fact, I thought that Ārya Sthūlabhadra was eligible to acquire the knowledge of the Pūrvas. So I already taught him ten Pūrvas with complete details including meaning and interpretation and only two topics remain. There is a strong reason behind my decision not to impart the knowledge of the remaining four Pūrvas to him. When Sthūlabhadra triumphed over the invincible Kāmadeva, his Ācārya Saṃbhūtavijaya honored him with the title "Duṣkara kāraka". When such a great ascetic like Sthūlabhadra, who has conquered his mind, who is well versed in ten Pūrvas, and is of noble lineage, could not restrain the enticing ostentation of his knowledge, it is incomprehensible  how the common men of future will be able to digest the knowledge of celestial and miraculous powers.

In future, as time passes, there will be cantankerous, ill-tempered and arrogant Śramaṇas, who will get upset in a moment, and will disobey and disrespect their teachers and with little spiritual essence. If such monks acquire the great powerful knowledge of these Pūrvas, then, when they become angry even over a trivial issue and using these four types of lore may harm people; declining from their asceticism may even get ready to totally destroy others. As a result of such bad deeds, they will be for infinite time, wandering in the cycle of transmigration. Considering all these facts, it is better not to pass the knowledge of the remaining four Pūrvas to the next generation".

To this Ārya Sthūlabhadra replied, "Whatever you said is true, however, the people of the next generations will complain that on account of Sthūlabhadra's misdemeanor, the knowledge of the last four Pūrvas, perished. I shudder with the very thought of such ignominy. Hence, even if you do not elucidate the meaning and special interpretation of the remaining four Pūrvas, I pray, at least, teach these to me in their original text".

Ācārya Bhadrabāhu was certain that the knowledge of the last four Pūrvas will definitely be lost with his demise. So he imparted the knowledge of the last four Pūrvas to Ārya Sthūlabhadra only in their original text without elaborating either their meaning or interpretation.

In V.N. 170 (357 BC) after Ācārya Bhadrabāhu's accession to heaven, Ārya Sthūlabhadra became the eighth pontiff.

Both the Śvetāmbara and Digambara traditions agree that Ācārya Bhadrabāhu was the last Caturdaśa Pūrvadhara and Śruta -Kevalīācārya of Lord Mahāvīra's tradition.

Wandering many places and uplifting the laymen, Ācārya Sthūlabhadra one day arrived at Sravasti. There he made Dhandeva, his childhood friend, an ardent believer and follower of the true religion and showed him the right way to obliterate the cycle of transmigration.

After the completion of 44 years as Pontiff, Ācārya Sthūlabhadra, the third heretic, known as 'Avyaktavādī' originated from amongst the disciples of Āṣāḍhācārya in 214 V.N. in the city of Śwetāmbika. (Its short description is given at pages 415 to 417 in part II of the Nona bridged edition of Jain Dharama Kā Moulika Itihāsa).

Ārya Sthūlabhadra was a householder for 30 years. Between V.N. 170 & 215, as the Pontiff ācārya of the congregation served the Jain order. Finally, at the age of 99, he acceded to heaven in 215 V.N. in Vaibhāragirī near the city of Rājagṛha after fasting for 15 days.

From the point of view of Indian History, the era of Ārya Sthūlabhadra may be regarded as the political era of dynastic-transition and political upheaval. The Greek invasion against India, the rising of the great political philosopher Cāṇakya, the decline of the Nandas and the rise of Maurya Dynasty were the significant political events of his era.

Sikandara (Alexander the great) invades India

During Sthūlabhadra's pontifical period (from 170-215 VNY), approximately 200 V.Y (327BC) the Greek Emperor Alexander with a huge army invaded the north-western frontier of India. At that time, there were many small kingdoms in the north-western frontier and many republic states of different clans in Punjab. Dhanananda, the ninth Nanda emperor of Magadha, because of his miserly nature, and because of imposing heavy taxes on people, lost the love and confidence of his subjects. Many small kings who were until then under the control of Magadha and the vassal kings too, revolting against him, declared their independence. Because of their internal rivalries, the kings were trying to expose and humiliate each other.

Due to the lack of a single supreme political power in the country, Alexander was successful in his initial military campaigns. He conquered the Indian regions from Hindukuśa and Kābula mountain pass to the regions east of the Sindhu River, and Kāshmīra and Takṣilā.

Though all the kings and the republic states fought bravely against Alexander but the stubborn resistance put up by King Paurava and a fierce battle that ensued therein will always remain as a remarkable incident in the history of India. The army of King Paurava, putting their lives at stake, fought the army of Alexander valiantly; yet they met with defeat. Though victorious in the battle, Alexander impressed by the chivalry and valour of Paurava, felt that he should make friends with him. Hence he reinstated the kingdom he won to Paurava, and marched ahead continuing his victory campaign.

The army of Alexander wanted to advance further but the combined forces of the republics of Kṣudraka and Mālawa offered a tough fight in the battlefield at the confluence of Indus and Cināba. The Greek army succumbed to a heavy loss. Alexander himself was wounded in the battle with the Mālawas. As he was injured, the rumours of Alexander's death started spreading. As a result many soldiers in the Greek army, as a group, retreated towards Greece. The Greek army lost its morale. Considering his condition and that of his army, Alexander gave up further expeditions and headed back towards his homeland.

As he marched towards Greece leaving behind the conquered territories of India, the Indian provinces, setting themselves free of the yoke of foreign rule, declared themselves as independent. Alexander died in June in 323 BC., while reaching Babylon.

After the death of Alexander, his empire fell apart and anarchy prevailed everywhere. Alexander had no children. Therefore, his commanders-in chief distributed the vast empire among themselves. The first partition took place immediately after Alexander's death in 323 BC and the second in 321 at a place known a Strīyāśa.

The invasion of Alexander aroused a new awareness among the Indians and laid the thought foundation for the establishment of a major sovereign authority. The campaign of Alexander displayed to the world, the combat skills and the chivalry of the Indians. Not only the men, even the women here, with undaunted courage, confronted the enemy in the battlefield and sacrificed their lives to protect their motherland from the Greek invasion.

During the campaign of Alexander to annex the Indian kingdoms in 327 BC, and after his death in 323 BC, during the invasions of Greek king Selucas on India in 304 BC., and between 327 and 304 BC, King Candragupta Maurya played a significant role to make futile the foreign invasions, and to make India a strong Nation. In this context his life sketch is given here in brief.

Origin of Maurya dynasty

In 215 V.N. (312 BC) with the end of Nanda dynasty, India witnessed the advent of the powerful Maurya Dynasty. This great dynasty eliminated the Greek rule completely from our motherland, without a trace. It not only extended its power over the entire India but also hoisted their banner of victory on territories outside India, thereby, bringing India under one sovereign authority, and ruled for 108 years from 215 to 323 V.N. There was all round development and progress during its regime in India.

Emperor Candragupta Maurya, the founder of this dynasty is associated with the great politician of that time, Cāṇakya. In fact Cāṇakya can be considered as the founder and custodian of this powerful dynasty. The Mauryan dynasty came into existence due to the astuteness of this great Brahmin scholar.

Cāṇakya, founder of Maurya dynasty

A Brahmin named Caṇī lived in Caṇaka village in Golla-Pradeśa. His wife was Caṇakeśwarī. The Brahmin couple followed Jain religion sincerely. Apart from observing the vows of a layman, they used to serve the monks also.

In course of time, Caṇakeśwarī gave birth to a son. At that time, some Sthavira Śramaṇas were staying in a secluded room in their house. Caṇī showed his new born son to the Sthavirs and told them that the child was born with teeth. The Sthavira Śramaṇa replied, "O righteous disciple! Your son will become a great valiant king.

"I hope that my son, by wielding power as a king, will not entitle himself to purgatory". Thus thinking, Caṇī took the child home and filed his teeth. When Caṇī informed the saints what he had done, the Sthavira said, "As you have filed the teeth, now the child will not became an emperor, but in course of time he will become equivalent to an emperor (one who makes another person the king and wields the power via him). Caṇīnamed his son 'Cāṇakya'.

Starting his schooling at the right age and studying with complete dedication, the intelligent Cāṇakya became a master in many disciplines. Cāṇakya used to feel that contentment is the real wealth and so would observe the vows of Votary with utmost faith and sincerity.

When Cāṇakya attained youth, he was married to a Brahmin girl from a respectable family. After the death of his parents, Cāṇakya took over the responsibilities of his modest household. As he was content with whatever little he had, he never tried to accumulate wealth. Once, Cāṇakya's wife went to her maternal home to attend the marriage ceremony of her brother. Cāṇakya's sisters-in-law were all married into very vich families. Hence, they used to wear expensive clothes and bedecked with precious jewels and make-up always surrounded by servants. Cāṇakya's wife, however, did not possess anything that can be termed as an ornament. All through the day & night she wore an old sari and blouse. Her own sisters and the other women who came to attend the marriage derided her of her poverty and poked fun at her. When Cāṇakya came to know that his wife was humiliated because of their poverty, he firmly decided to earn money. He knew that Nanda, the king of Magadha donates adequate amount of money to Brahmins. So hoping to obtain the money, he reached Pāṭalīputra. There, he sat on the first seat which was slightly elevated than the others and kept his stick and rosary beads, etc. on the other seat. In fact, the seat on which Cāṇakya seated himself was intended for king Nanda who would always sit on it to donate money. So as per the instructions of Nanda's son, a servant asked Cāṇakya to vacate the seat and sit on another seat. Cāṇakya felt insulted and did not budge. The servant then kicked Cāṇakya and made him vacate the seat.

Insulted by the servant, Cāṇakya flared up in anger. In front of the vast gathering of people present there, he, in a thunderous and deafening voice took an oath-"I will rest only after I completely annihilate this Nanda, his army, sons, friends and his treasure".

After taking this oath, glaring at Nanda with knitted eyebrows and fiery eyes and trembling with fury, Cāṇakya walked out of the palace and left the city. He remembered the prediction of the Sthavira which he heard from his parents, that in future, though not an emperor, he will become equivalent to an emperor, and remaining like a shadow behind the screen, he will wield power like an emperor. "The words of a renunciant Śramaṇa never go false". So thinking, Cāṇakya firmly decided to search for such a person, through whom he can destroy Nanda, his dynasty and his kingdom.

Encounter with Candragupta

Wearing the robes of a religious mendicant, Cāṇakya set out in search of a capable person. Wandering from place to place, one day he reached the village where the people who take care of the peacocks of King Nanda resided. Looking at the sage-like Cāṇakya, their chief said, "O Great Soul! My expectant daughter has a strange longing to drink the moon. How is it possible to fulfill her impossible desire? If, during pregnancy a craving is not fulfilled, not only the child in her womb even my daughter may also die. This is worrying me a lot. It will be of great help, if you fulfill this strange yearning of my daughter".

The erudite Cāṇakya immediately understood that the person, whom he is searching for, is in the womb of the Chief's daughter. So he said to the Chief, "If you promise to hand over the boy to me when he attains youth, I will fulfill your daughter's desire".

The Chief happily accepted the pre-condition. Then under the instructions of Cāṇakya, a hay and grass hut was made ready. A big hole like portion at the top of the hut was left open. At night, the moon's reflection fell in the hut through that opening. Cāṇakya asked a person to secretly climb on to the hut and to hide himself. Then when he signals him, he has to cover the opening slowly with hay.

After making all these arrangements he called the pregnant woman into the hut and made her sit on a stool. He then gave her a plate filled with water. The full moon reflected in the water. Cāṇakya addressing her, said, "Daughter, drink this moon".

The expecting woman started drinking the water. As she kept drinking the water slowly, the person hiding on the roof of the hut began covering the opening with hay little by little. Thus when she drank all the water, the moon was no longer seen. She felt happy thinking that she drank the moon. As her desire was satiated, the child in the womb started growing and in due course she gave birth to a radiant child. Keeping in mind the incident of her desire, he was named as Candragupta.

Farsighted Cāṇakya wanted to collect gold to maintain an army for the future king. He was wandering from place to place in search of experts in metals. Meanwhile Candragupta grew up into a boy and while playing with his friends used to behave like a king with them.

Wandering from one place to another, Cāṇakya came back to the village of the peacock caretakers. At that time Candragupta was playing with his peers, showing signs of the princely arts. Observing the princely gestures of the boy and listening to the conversation of the children playing with him, Cāṇakya understood that he was the same boy whose mother's wish he had fulfilled when she was pregnant.

Stroking Candragupta on his face and head with love, Cāṇakya introduced himself and said, "Come with me, I will make you a king".

The ambitious child Candragupta at once held the little finger of Cāṇakya and visualising the most magnificent images of his future empire, accompanied Cāṇakya. Apprehensive that any obstacle might impede him from accomplishing his task, Cāṇakya, without even informing Candragupta's parents or guardians, left the village immediately for an uncertain destination.

The task that Cāṇakya decided to accomplish was in fact a herculean and a highly impossible one. If one carefully analyses, it becomes quite clear that Cāṇakya's struggle was in fact, not just to avenge his insult. In truth, there were many latent intentions behind this undertaking in his heart. The then disintegrating tendencies prevalent in the country created great discontentment in his heart. He desired to provide a good rule with strong government to the people who were being crushed under the burden of heavy taxes and were suffering badly under the evil rule of the Nands. In all probability, the humiliation in the palace of the Nandas could have aggravated the already innate ambition of Cāṇakya and might have severely stimulated his thoughts and gave him the strongest inspiration for a political revolution.

There were two famous universities in India at that time. One was Takṣśilā and the other Nālandā. Had Candragupta been enrolled in Nālandā University which was under the very nose of Nanda, he would have had the risk of being noticed by Nanda. To avoid such risk, Cāṇakya might have preferred to admit him in Takṣśilā University, which was away from Pāṭalīputra. This inference seems proper and logical.

In Takṣśilā University, there was appropriate arrangement for imparting the best military training to the young Princes, which includes both theory and practical training, archery and the training related to elephants, etc. Apart from the training provided by the university, a separate teacher was also available to independently teach and train military arts to the princes.

No sooner had Cāṇakya found the brilliant child Candragupta in the village of the peacock caretakers, than he directly brought him to Takṣśilā and made necessary arrangements for his education & training in the University.

It has already been mentioned earlier that Alexander, with a huge army, invaded and conquered all kingdoms from Greece upto the Northwestern frontiers of India and then in 325 BC invaded India. The small kingdoms and small republics that were situated near the North-western front could not confront the huge army of Alexander and were miserably defeated by him one after the other despite their strong resistance. This pitiable situation in India caused anguish in the minds of the young and old alike and evoked patriotism encouraging them to take a firm resolution to do their share to protect their motherland. The young were ready to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of their Motherland. An ambitious youth like Candragupta, who had by then already received the best military training in Takṣśilā, could not remain a passive spectator during the country's dire needs. Hence, he in the capacity of a Commander-in-Chief of a troop of soldiers fought bravely against the army of Alexander and offered a strong resistance.

Under the able guidance of the far-sighted Cāṇakya, who was an inimitable diplomat and a great political philosopher of the times, the fearless young Candragupta took up the challenge of liberating his motherland, India from the slavery of Greece; and with undaunted valour, courage and gallantry, he was successful in rooting out the enemy from the borders of the country. When Candragupta revolted against the Greeks, he was neither a ruler of any kingdom nor he had any systematic army. He mobilised the youth who were willing to stake their lives for the sake of the country and emerged victorious in the most difficult task.

After putting an end to the foreign rule, Candragupta as per the instructions of Cāṇakya, his guardian or his destiny-writer, with his tenacious efforts mobilised a powerful army to invade and to establish his authority over Pāṭalīputra. After mobilising a powerful army and finalising all military preparations Cāṇakya ordered Candragupta to embark on a lightning attack on Pāṭalīputra. Obeying his orders, Candragupta at once headed towards Pāṭalīputra with his army. Cāṇakya was also with Candragupta during this military campaign. Both the armies fought bravely but the small army of Candragupta could not withstand the vast and organised army of Magadha. Ultimately both Cāṇakya and Candragupta had to flee from the battlefield to save their lives. Nanda ordered the soldiers of Magadha to chase them both. But the crafty Cāṇakya, taking Candragupta along with him, went on escaping, in a disguise, crossing dense forests, high mountains and fast-flowing rivers.

A lesson to Cāṇakya from a rural woman

With the burning desire to stay alive till he accomplishes his oath and mission of annihilating the Nanda dynasty totally, Cāṇakya took refuge in a secluded hut, for the night, together with Candragupta. The old lady of the hut served boiling hot native porridge in a plate and placed it in front of her children. One of the children put his hand in the centre of the plate of the hot porridge to eat and started yelling as his hand scalded. The woman in a fretful voice complainingly said "My son! You too, like Cāṇakya seem to be foolish".

Listening to the elderly woman Cāṇakya was startled. He enquired her, "What foolish act did Cāṇakya do that you are comparing this boy to be foolish like him".

The old woman replied, "O traveller! Without conquering the frontier territories he straight away attacked Pāṭalīputra, which is in the heart of the kingdom; he faced a terrible defeat, and foolishly risked his life. Similarly this foolish child without first eating the porridge near the ends of the plate directly put his hand in the middle of the plate and scalded his hand".

Cāṇakya learnt a lesson from the old woman's taunts. He thanked her in his heart, and immediately worked out his future plans and even before sunrise, left the place for an unknown destination.

Confronting many problems, Cāṇakya successfully crossed the border of Magadha along with Candragupta. After reaching a secure place, once again he started mobilising the army. This time he made an alliance with Pravartaka, the king of Himālaya foothills. Cāṇakya, luring him to his side, promised him half of Magadha Kingdom, and convinced him to invade the kingdom of Nanda. In a short time, Candragupta too mobilised a powerful army. Following the instructions of Cāṇakya, the combined army of Candragupt and Pravartak attacked the frontier regions of Magadha Kingdom, invading, subjugating and establishing their rule on the frontier regions and cities one after the other and ultimately reached Pāṭalīputra. A fierce battle broke out between the two armies. After a long fight the Magadha army fled away from the battle field. With the fall of Magadha, Candragupta captured Dhanananda alive. The entire credit for the success of this military campaign goes to Cāṇakya, because of whose shrewd diplomatic tactics the armies of Candragupta and Pravartaka had emerged victorious, continuously.

End of Nanda dynasty & Establishment of Maurya dynasty

Candragupta presented before Cāṇakya, Dhanananda as a captive. Dhanananda begged for his life and pleaded that he would practice religious life in seclusion. Cāṇakya agreed to his request and said that he could take his two wives, his daughter and enough money along with him and go in a chariot wherever he wants to.

Abiding Cāṇakya's orders Dhanananda prepared to leave the palace along with his two wives, his daughter and sufficient wealth, on a chariot. Just as he bawled at the horses to get going, as if by divine intervention, at that very moment Candragupta reached the palace on a chariot, from the opposite side. Seeing the chariot-mounted, radiant Candragupta, at the very first sight itself, Dhanananda's daughter forgot her status, noble birth, etc. and was completely captivated by the charm of Candragupta. Like a Cakorī (Himalaya partridge) enamored of the moon, stares at it incessantly, similarly the princess forgetting her senses and unconcerned about the surroundings kept staring at Candragupta. Dhanananda being old and well-experienced in worldly matters immediately realized that his daughter had totally surrendered herself to Candragupta. He stopped the chariot and said, "Dear child! It is believed that self-selection of the bridegroom (Svayamvara) is the best means of choosing the groom for a girl born in a Kṣatriya family. As per your wish, happily marry Candragupta. Get down from this chariot, and mount onto the chariot of Candragupta and free me of my responsibility of searching an able groom for you."

Hearing her father's words the princess as if spellbound, got down from the chariot immediately. Just as she kept one foot to get into the chariot of Candragupta, six spokes of the wheels of the chariot broke down making a loud noise.

Seeing this Candragupta said, "Who is this inauspicious girl, climbing into my chariot, with whose mere touch of a foot, the spokes of the wheels of my chariot broke down? Had she seated herself completely in the chariot, not only my chariot, but my very existence may be jeopardized." So saying, he prevented the princess from getting into the chariot.

Cāṇakya interrupting him, said, "No, no Candragupta! Do not do that. You, without any hesitation, allow her to sit in your chariot. The breaking of the six spokes of the wheels is a very good omen for you and for your future generations. It implies that up to six generations your dynasty will rule the country continuously."

"Just as you wish Lord!" saying this Candragupta bowed down to Cāṇakya's command and allowed the princess to sit in the chariot.

Soon after, Candragupta and Pravartaka began portioning among themselves, the immense fortune of Dhanananda. Just then, an extremely captivating and extraordinarily beautiful damsel, from the seraglio of Dhanananda was presented in front of them. King Pravartaka was completely besotted by her beauty. Their marriage was arranged on the advice of Cāṇakya. During the wedding ceremony, when the bride's hand was placed in the hand of the groom their hands were sweating profusely, as they were in front of the sacred fire. As she was a poison girl (Viṣa-kanyā), the mere contact of her fatal poisonous sweat had a quick effect on Pravartaka. Ultimately as a result of the fatal poisonous sweat, king Pravartaka lost his life. In this manner when Pravartaka died without any efforts, Candragupta became the sole and unrivalled lord of the entire wealth and kingdom. Thus in 215 V.N. (312 BC), when Ācārya Sthūlabhadra attained heavenly abode, in the same year, the end of Nand dynasty, the death of Pravartaka, and the coronation of Candragupta Maurya as the unrivalled king of the vast empire of Pāṭalīputra and of Parvatak's kingdom took place. Candragupta put an end to Nanda rule and established Mauryan dynasty in Pāṭalīputra in 215 V.N. (312 BC)

Sources

Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (2)
Author:
Acharya Hasti Mala
Editors:
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011
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