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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4): Kumārapāla Attains Equanimity (Samyaktva)

Published: 30.08.2016

After returning back from Someśwara to Aṇahillapura, Kumārapāla regularly attended the sermons of Ācārya Hemacandra. Within a short period of time, he developed immense devotion towards Jain religion as he was regularly listening to the gospel of Jina. As a first step in that direction, he prohibited animal slaughter in his kingdom.

As time passed, he accepted the 12 vows of a lay devotee. On a certain day, Ācārya Hemacandra explained and analysed the third vow of votary, the 'Adattādāna viramaṇa' (one should not take anything from anywhere without the permission of the owner.) After listening to the sermon, Kumārapāla summoned the 'Aputraka Mṛti Karādhikārī' (the revenue officer who attaches the property of those citizens who die childless to the royal treasury as death tax) and instructed him to revoke that dictate. It was estimated that nearly 72 lakh silver coins worth revenue papers (tax that is to be collected from the citizens) were in the treasury. Kumārapāla destroyed all those papers also.

As Kumārapāla banned such a tax, tales of his fame reached far and wide.

Since Gujarat was the business centre carrying out trade and commerce inside and outside the country, it was a prosperous and booming state. Innumerable merchants with immeasurable wealth equal to that of Kubera resided in Gujarat. So, by collecting 'Mṛti Kara' tax the royal exchequer would mint huge sums of money and wealth. But Kumārapāla firmly resolved that even if the royal treasury suffers a myriad of fiscal deficit, he would still invalidate the tax which pains his people.

Taking the vow of 'Adattādāna' from his preceptor Ācārya Hemacandra Sūri, Kumārapālaabolished 'Mṛti Kara' totally.

With a deep desire to propagate, popularise and elevate Jina order, King Kumārapāla requested Hemacandra Sūri to ink quintessential literature and pyramid the treasure-house of Jina literary works. Hemacandra Sūri started authoring transcendent literature. To facilitate the work of ācārya, Kumārapāla arranged for the ancient scriptures and texts to be brought for reference from a distant place like Kashmir on elephant backs.

After collecting the substantive and ancient books, Hemacandra Sūri composed a saga 'Triṣaṣṭi-śalākā-puruṣa-caritra". In this he elucidated the biography of the 24 Tīrthaṃkaras, from Vṛṣabhadeva to Mahāvīra, their Gaṇadharas 12 emperors, 9 Vāsudevas, 9 Baladevas and 9 Prativāsudevas during that period in an elaborate manner. Thus he gifted a very useful and beneficial work for mankind. He authored numerous works. The list of his works available now, is mentioned in his life history.

By abolishing animal slaughter in all 18 regions of his kingdom for 14 years, Paramārhata King Kumārapāla created awareness and fondness in the hearts of people towards 'non-violence', the first and basic tenet of Jainism. Such an example of compassion and amity can nowhere be found in centuries of Indian history. He constructed 1440 magnificent monasteries in those 18 regions.

The ordinance prohibiting the animal slaughter passed by Kumārapāla, the 'paramount king of Cālukya dynasty' was strictly followed and executed in letter and spirit. To ensure that the ban is implemented effectively, he appointed special officers at every level. As a result, within the vast territories of his kingdom, the transgressor who killed even a small animal intentionally or unintentionally was caught and punished immediately. Even a petty offender could not elude punishment. An interesting episode substantiating this fact was enunciated in Prabandha Cintāmaṇi, as follows:

"This incident is associated with that period when the 'prohibition of animal slaughter' was officially announced in all the 18 regions of Kumārapāla's kingdom. A certain wealthy merchant lived in Sapādalakṣa state. One day, while washing her hair, his wife picked up a loose and placed it in his hand. The merchant killed it saying 'How dare you trouble my beloved'. After enquiry the merchant accepted his guilt.

Kumārapāla pronounced his verdict, 'A sin is expunged only by performing a virtuous deed. So construct a monastery with your hardearned money. This is the punishment for violating the royal order. Religious rituals and austerities will be performed in the monastery and you will acquire merit –the results of your meritorious deed."

The merchant of Sapādalakṣa acquiescing the royal order, spent huge sums of money and constructed a monumental and magnificent monastery in Paṭṭaṇa and it was named as 'Yūkā (louse) Vihāra." Even Kumārapāla accepting his guilt of Jīva-hiṃsā (violence against living beings) though done unintentionally and unknowingly, undergoing a thorough measure of contrition openly pronounced in royal court, "While wandering in the forest, I saw 20 silver coins collected and kept outside its hole by a mouse. I very casually took those coins into my hands. At the sight of losing its laboriously-collected money, the mouse died immediately, writhing in pain. I am guilty of its death. So let a large monastery be constructed and named as 'Mūṣaka (Mouse) Vihāra'. So he got an imposing monastery constructed in Paṭṭaṇa which was named after the mouse as 'Mūṣaka Vihāra'.

All the above mentioned events illustrate the basic trait -'gratitude' of Kumārapāla (towardsācārya).

He expressed his gratitude even to all those who helped him in small and ordinary ways. When Kumārapāla was meandering in the forests trying to save his life, he had to spend three days without having even a grain of food. At the same time, a woman of Ībhya caste, who was going from her in-law's to her parents' home in a palanquin, offered Kumārapāla delicious sweetmeats Karamba etc. Even after ascending the throne of the vast Gurjara kingdom, he did not forget the woman or the tasty 'Karamba' that she offered. To commemorate that event he built a monastery 'Karamba-Vihāra' in Aṇahillapura Paṭṭaṇa.

To honour Ācārya Hemacandra who enlightened him and his subjects with his preaching, and to express his gratitude in a tangible form, he renovated the dilapidated building 'Sāligavasahi' in Stambha Tīrtha, where ācārya ordained him into Śramaṇa dharma. Spending lavish sums of money, he got a Jina idol studded with diamonds installed in it.

In spite of his reformatory deeds like prohibition of animal slaughter and construction of 1440 monasteries and the resultant name and fame that he acquired, it did not satisfy the spiritual aspiration of Kumārapāla. His mind and soul were filled with passionate desire to acquire immortal fame like Vikramāditya, the pioneer of a new era who gave his due to the world and made his life meaningful. He often requested his guru Hemacandra Sūri to help him acquire such extraordinary supernatural power (Siddhi). Yielding to the reiterated entreaties of Kumārapāla, Ācārya Hemacandra Sūri sent a message to his preceptor Devacandra Sūri on behalf of King Kumārapāla and the congregation of Paṭṭaṇa, inviting him to Paṭṭaṇa to perform a certain significant task. When he read the letter, Ācārya Devacandra Sūri thought that probably it might be some important work of congregation. So within a few days he reached Paṭṭaṇa and enquired King Kumārapāla and his disciple about the work of congregation. Both of them requested, "O Lord! To enrich the glory of Jina order, please reveal to us the secret of Swarṇasiddhi (golden touch)."

The moment his disciple uttered the word 'Swarṇasiddhi", the preceptor became furious. Shoving him away, the ācārya said in a firm voice, "You are not at all worthy of Swarṇasiddhi. How can a supernatural power be bestowed to an undeserving person like you? You will not be conferred with this power under any circumstances." Turning towards Kumārapāla next, he said, "O King! You are not blessed enough to attain a power like Swarṇasiddhi. Announcing prohibition of animal slaughter in 18 regions and by constructing many monasteries you have acquired great merit (puṇya) and ameliorated both this world and the other world. What more do you aspire?"

Thus disapproving his disciple and the King, Ācārya Devacandra Sūri left Aṇahillapura and embarked on his religious travel, and while doing so, he once again came back to the place from where he had proceeded to Paṭṭaṇa.

This incident of Swarṇa Siddhi associated with Hemacandra and Kumārapāla has been described in Jain literature from centuries. Probably the motive behind such a supplication was the strong desire of Kumārapāla to transform Jainism into a universal religion and nothing else.

The greatness of Kumārapāla is that he wanted to see an omnipotent and unified Jina order. He was overwhelmed with a sense of infliction and helplessness whenever he witnessed dissension among the followers of different gacchas and scholars, their conflicts, disputes on insignificant and trivial matters, lack of uniformity in their doctrine of Śramaṇas, altercation about the Tithi (date) for performing ritualised confession (Pratikramaṇa), hostile environment, exchange of harsh words, etc. He tried many a times to eliminate the antagonism. On the basis of some incidents from his life, like asking Ācārya Hemacandra Sūri to pay homage to Someśwara etc., it can be inferred that he supported and encouraged harmony amongst different religions. More so, he was very much impressed and influenced by the harmonizing policy of Ācārya Hemacandra Sūri. Hence he gave importance to tradition and conventional values rather than to scriptural based beliefs. This fact comes into light while going through the events of his life. To put it in a nutshell King Kumārapāla was a staunch follower and supporter of Jainism, he gave importance to conventional ancient beliefs. He was pertinacious to see the Jain congregation on high pedestal, which it once stood during the regime of King 'Samprati'.

Kumārapāla was so deeply dedicated to Ācārya Hemacandra Sūri that if he came to know that someone had uttered something against the ācārya, he was never at peace until and unless the culprit was punished, even if the person was staying hundreds of miles away from Pāṭaṇa.


Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4)
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. Dharma
  2. Environment
  3. Gujarat
  4. Guru
  5. Hemacandra
  6. Jainism
  7. Jina
  8. Lakh
  9. Mahāvīra
  10. Pratikramaṇa
  11. Puṇya
  12. Siddhi
  13. Soul
  14. The Pioneer
  15. Tithi
  16. Tīrtha
  17. Violence
  18. Ācārya
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