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Journey into Jainism: The Value of Forbearance

Published: 21.09.2017

Meghakumar was the son of King Shrenik and Queen Dhaarini. One day Bhagawan Mahavir came to Rajgriha. Thousands of people came to listen to his discourses. Prince Meghakumar was tremendously influenced by his lectures. As a result of the great impression left on him by Mahavir's words, he decided to become a monk.

The prince came to Mahavir and said, "O Lord! I have listened eagerly to your lectures, have keen faith in you, and earnestly desire to become a monk." After Mahavir granted him permission to be initiated, Meghakumar returned home and apprised his parents of his wish to renounce the home.

At first they were very reluctant to allow such a thing to happen. Attempting to convince him otherwise, his mother claimed, "You are the apple of my eyes, the heart of my world. How can I live without you? First seek worldly pleasures, then live the austere life of a monk."

Meghakumar pleaded, "Mother! who knows about death? I am alive at present, but I may soon die. Life is momentary. The world is full of sorrow." Thus did Meghakumar finally convince them and obtained their permission to be initiated into monkhood.

After his initiation Bhagawan Mahavir said to him, "Meghakumar! now you are a monk. You must walk, sleep, sit, speak and stand with self restraint.

The first day of his life as a monk passed rather easily. But the first night proved to be an ordeal for him. As it grew dark and all the monks retired for the night, Muni Meghakumar was made to sleep in the doorway. During the course of the night, many monks had to go out and come back. Although they were careful, they could not help but disturb the newly initiated monk (Megha). As a result, he became angry and thought, "when I was a lay follower, all monks took pains to instruct me, but now nobody cares about me. How selfish and inconsiderate they are! Well, I won't stay with them. In the morning, I will report everything to Mahavir."

On the second day, he came to Mahavir. Being an omniscient, Mahavir knew everything about the previous

As soon as, you lifted your leg to scratch it, a hare sat in the vacant place below your lifted foot.

night. He said to Meghakumar, "where is your patience? Recall your previous life. You were then an elephant. You cleaned an area in a dense forest in order to ward off forest fire. Suddenly once the forest caught fire, all animals gathered at that place. It was so filled with animals that there was no place for putting a single foot down. You had an itching sensation. As soon as you lifted your leg to scratch a hare sat in the vacant place below your lifted foot.

"You wanted to put your foot down but looking at the hare you thought, 'If I put my foot on the ground, this hare will be crushed. It will be an act of sin. Because of your feelings of caring and compassion, you kept on standing for three days. Then the fire wast extinguished and the animals went back to the forest. The hare also left. So at last, seeing the empty place you wanted to put your foot down, but it was too stiff. You fell down and breathed your last. Thus you had shown extra-ordinary tolerance. Now where is your tolerance?"

As Meghakumar went into deep meditation, he attained the jatis-marengyana. He recollected his past life, realized his mistake and sought to have better control over his emotions. Now, truly understanding the value of forbearance, Meghakumar again continued in his monkhood.


Title: Journey into Jainism
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. Mahavir
  2. Meditation
  3. Muni
  4. Omniscient
  5. Shrenik
  6. Tolerance
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