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Journey into Jainism: The Value of Inspiration

Published: 15.09.2017

Since childhood Prince Prabhava acquired a bad habit of stealing. He owed it to bad company. For many days, he carried out his secret activities but was eventually caught. The king punished him by exiling him from the territory. Having lost contact with his family, he joined a gang of thieves. Endowed with an innate ability in the art of stealing and leadership he became the gang leader of the thieves in a short period of time. As the leader of five-hundred thieves, he now became even more fearless. Even the city guards trembled when they heard his name.

One day Prabhava learned about the dowry of billions of rupees received by Jambu, the son of a rich man on his wedding at Rajgriha. He told his accomplices, "Today we have to go to the wealthy merchant Rishabhadatta's house. There we shall get so much money that if we gave up stealing for the rest of our lives, we would never be in want." As instructed by Prabhava, all the thieves got ready and reached Rishabhadatta's house.

Prabhava made all the servants, gatekeepers and others of the household to pass out into sound sleep through his spell of "Avasvaapini Vidya. " The yard of the house was filled with riches. The thieves collected it in bundles and broke open all the locks with their lock breaking spells. They were delighted and satisfied with the body.

Prabhava ordered them to leave while they were still safe but to his great bewilderment they could not move an inch from the place. He knew that if they didn't leave, they would all be arrested by the police sooner or later. The moon was about to set and the stars were losing their lustre. The reddish colour of the dawn was visible in the east. He looked in every direction for an escape but he could not find one anywhere. Being puzzled by this, he looked at the upper side from where the light was entering the room through an oriel on the upper story. He climbed up to it and peeped inside to take a look at what was there.

He was amazed to see Jambu, the son of the rich merchant, talking with the eight young wives who were as if the idols of beauty incarnate. Prabhava held his breath

Listening to the talk of detachment in the first,night of marriage, he was very surprised.

and heard the conversation. Listening to the talk of detachment in the first night of marriage, he was very surprised. Jambu Kumar had persuaded his eight wives to get ready for initiation together with him.

In a state of shock, Prabhava thought to himself, "We are both men and how virtuous he is and how degraded I am! He is leaving all his property like dust as if he were totally unattached to it, whereas I am here collecting it and wanting more and more. Prabhava felt himself defeated by the personality of Jambu Kumar.

Appearing before Jambu, Prabhava said, "0 Lord! The man who did not bend his head low enough before your royal status is now touching your lotus feet."

Jambu's selflessness left an indelible impression on Prabhava, who also then decided to take initiation. He explained the reality to each of the five-hundred thieves and all of them realized the worthlessness of their deeds. They thought deeply to what Prabhava said and immediately all the five hundred of them got ready to follow their leader and take initiation.

Early in the morning, Jambu apprised his parents and also the parents of his brides of his intention of being initiated. This information made all the parents equally detached. Jambu arrived in the presence of Acharya Sudharma. Acharya Sudharma initiated all the 527 men at a stretch and included them in his fold of monks and nuns.

Later, Acharya Sudharma handed over the responsibilities of his Order to Jambu and nominated Prabhava Swami as his successor. Prabhava, who had not changed himself with the affection of his parents or by the mighty army, being inspired by Jambu's example changed himself and attained omniscience in the lineage of famous Acharyas in history.

Sources

Title: Journey into Jainism
Author:
Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha (Samani Smit Pragya)
Publisher: Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnun, India
Edition: 2012

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharyas
  3. Body
  4. Jambu Kumar
  5. Swami
  6. Vidya
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