Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4): Ajayadeva

Published: 01.09.2016

After 'Paramārhata Kumārapāla, Ajayadeva inherited the throne of Gurjara kingdom in Vikram 1230 (accordingly V.N.1700). His very brief period of three years regime is deemed as horrible tale of oppression of all the people in general and the followers of Jainism in particular.

As soon as he ascended the throne he started demolishing the Jain shrines constructed by his predecessors. Then he diverted his attention towards those who were loved and respected by Ācārya Hemacandra and Kumārapāla and plotted to kill them.

First of all he concocted a plot to kill the renowned minister Kapardi who was very loyal to Kumārapāla and beloved of Ācārya Hemacandra Sūri. At the onset, he made Kapardi Mahāmātya (Chief of Ministers) and that night summoning him on the pretext of some consultation, imprisoned him. Then he threw him into the big cauldron of boiling oil. Thus a great commander was brutally killed.

Murder of Jainācārya Śrī Rāmacandra by Ajaya Deva

Ajaya Deva, the ruler of Gurjara kingdom was possessed by the evil spirit of treacherous murder. He was not satisfied murdering Kapardi, the minister. He summoned Ācārya Rāmacandra Sūri, the successor-pontiff of Ācārya Hemacandra, author of 100 Prabandhas and an eminent scholar. He wanted to kill the ācārya by throwing him on the big burning copper plate. So he said to him, "Monk! Go and stand on the copper plate."

Looking at the massive copper plate which was burning like coal with flames beneath it, the ācārya thought, "I took up the five great vows. I took the vow not to harm even the subtlest beings from among the six types of living beings. Being a practitioner of the five great vows, why should I harm the beings in the fire as long as I live?"

He thought for a moment and pulled tongue out and held it with left hand and with right palm struck heavily on the chin. His tongue got cut. He fell down to the ground and departed for heavenly abode.

Ajaya Deva prepared to kill Āmrabhaṭṭa

Āmrabhaṭṭa, commander and a peerless warrior of his times was the son of the Late Udayana, the famous Prime Minister of Gurjara Kingdom. Āmrabhaṭṭa won many battles thereby expanding the territories and enriching the treasury. His devotion towards Jainism was zealous and praiseworthy. He was loved and respected by both Ācārya Hemacandra Sūri and Kumārapāla. Hence Ajaya Deva was always displeased with him.

One day on the advice of his sycophants, Ajaya Deva summoned Āmrabhaṭṭa to the court. The sycophants asked him to offer salutations to King Ajaya Deva.

Self-respecting Āmrabhaṭṭa replied at once, "This Āmrabhaṭṭa Deva will pay obeisance only to the renouncing Lord Mahāvīra and as a Guru to sage Hemacandra Sūri and as a Master to King Kumārapāla and nobody else.

Listening to this frank and fearless answer of Āmrabhaṭṭa, Ajaya Deva became enraged. He flaring with fury challenged him to war.

Āmrabhaṭṭa went to his residence. He offered venerations to the idol of Jineśwara and took the vow of fast unto death. With his handful army, he returned back to palace and pounced on the royal guards. In a flash the place turned into a battle field. After slaying many warriors, upholding his dignity he killed himself and attained heaven.

Murder of the King Ajaya Deva

'In this world, a person who enacts great meritorious deeds with lofty ideals and a person who commits the worst sins, meet with resultant effects within either 3 years, 3 months, 3 fortnights or 3 days, here on the earth, in the very birth itself".

True to this moral adage, the tyrant Ajaya Deva who committed many atrocious deeds met with similar fate within 3 years. One of the king's guards Vaijaladeva, who stood sentinel, stabbed him in his stomach and killed him. Thus, within three years of his tyrannical rule (Vikram 1230 – 1233), Ajaya Deva had to undergo the effects of his sinful acts.

Later, his eldest son, Mūlarāja (IInd) was made the minor king of Aṇahillapura Paṭṭaṇa. The widow of Ajaya Deva, Queen-mother Nāyakī Devī, became the regent-queen of Gurjara kingdom. She took the reins of the kingdom into her hands. Nāyakī Devī was the daughter of King Paramardin of Kadamba dynasty of Goa. Apart from providing good administration, she made unrelenting efforts to make the kingdom a mighty one.

Mohammada Gaurī, the Sultāna of Gaurī, invaded Gujarat, in Vikram 1235 (V.N.1705, i.e. 1178 A.D). Queen-mother Nāyakī Devī made her son Mūlarāja II sit on her lap and leading the army, charged furiously at Mohammada Gaurī. With amazing gallantry, courage and military prowess she steered the army in the battlefield. Even nature helped the queen-mother generously. In the heavy down pour of rain, the unaccustomed enemy lost its control and fled from the battlefield saving their lives. Mohammada Gaurī too wounded by the weapons shot by Gurjara army, returned to Gaurī with the rest of his army.

The young Prince Mūlarāja died in 1235. So his younger brother Bhīma was made the King of Gurjara kingdom. He was just an infant then. The King of Mālawa, Subhaṭavarmana appraising this as a golden opportunity to annex Gujarat, marched his mighty army towards Gujarat. When the chief minister of King Bhīma, came to know about the military march of Subhaṭavarmana towards Gujarat through his spies, he met Subhaṭavarmana on the border of Gujarat and cited an extract from Prabandha Cintāmaṇi, "the hope of master of the east to win the west brings in destruction to that person."

This indirect hint of Gurjara minister created a spark of doubt in the heart of Subhaṭavarmana. Contemplating pros and cons, he had qualms that the loss will be more than the gain, so he marched back to his kingdom without waging a war.

During the 63 years of his long regime, from Vikram 1235 to 1298 King Bhīma received help from Lavaṇa Prasāda, the son of feudatory Ānāka Bhūpa, cousin of Paramārhata King Kumārapāla, and Vīra Dhavala, the son of Lavaṇa Prasāda, to resolve any problem, small or big. They protected Gujarat from all external invasions; save during the last decade, Lavaṇa Prasāda occupied a prominent place in the administration of Cālukya kingdom for about 53 years, i.e. up to Vikram 1288. When he retired from his service in Vikram 1288, his son Vīra Dhavala became more or less a de facto ruler of Gurjara kingdom.

Sources

Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4)
Author:
Acharya Hasti Mala
Editors:
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Deva
  2. Gujarat
  3. Guru
  4. Hemacandra
  5. Jainism
  6. Mahāvīra
  7. Vīra
  8. Ācārya
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