Journey into Jainism: The Value of Giving Alms

Published: 22.09.2017

Shreyaansa Kumar, the son of King Somaprabha in Hastinaapur, and the grand-son of Rishabha, seemed to be an exceptional young man. Once he a dream that he watered a grand golden mountain with a jar of nectar. In that same night a rich man named Subuddhi had a dream in which Shreyaansa Kumar made the sun, with its thousands of brilliant rays, shine ever more brightly. Even King Somprabha himself dreamt that a great man was being defeated and he succeeded only with the help of Shreyaansa.

The next day all met and discussed the dreams in the council of the State. Dream readers were called to reveal the meaning of the dreams, but even they could not fully comprehend what such images indicated. Nevertheless, all agreed that Shreyaansa was destined to become something magnificent.

Thus everyone returned contented to their homes. Shreyaansa Kumar, still pondering over his dream, con­sidered what great deeds would be performed by him.

By chance he looked at the highway and he recognized a lean figure approaching him as Bhagawan Rishabha. Because of his purity of thought, Shreyaansa had achieved Jaatismaran gyan and realized that Rishabha had been performing penance for the last twelve months. Therefore nobody was offering him food.

Rishabha had been offered various types of precious jewels, but no one ever offered him food. In return, Rishabha never asked for food. Upon seeing him who had not eaten anything for the last one year, Shreyaansa rushed to meet the Bhagawan.

Shreyaansa implored Rishabha to come to his palace, sanctify it and give him the privilege of becoming a worthy donor. Upon arrival at his home, Shreyaansa Kumar searched for something to offer in alms and found several jars containing the juice of sugarcane, which was traditionally used to end fasts. He offered this juice to Rishabha with great pleasure. At that time Jain munis did not use pots to eat and drink but instead used their hands as cups. Thus Rishabha cupped his hands and drank the sweet sugarcane juice.

He offered this juice to Rishabha with great pleasure.

That was the day of Akshaya Tritiya. Now, on that same day each year, many of our Jain followers begin a fast that is observed on alternate days for a full year.

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. Akshaya Tritiya
  2. Gyan
  3. Munis
  4. Rishabha
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