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Journey into Jainism: The Value of Self-Analysis

Published: 02.10.2017

Once upon a time there lived in the town of Rajgriha a thief named Lohakhura. He was a great terror for the citizens. His son, Rohineya, was also a very experienced thief. When Lohakhura felt the approach of his life's end, he summoned his son to him and said, 'Tarn giving you my last advice. Remember it all your life."

Rohineya was very anxious to receive his father's last instructions. Lohakhura told him, "There is a monk named Mahavir in Rajgriha. Do not have any kind of contact with him, you will be led astray from our family traditions. If you chance to pass him preaching to his congregation, do not heed his sermon or even pause to listen."

Rohineya dutifully obeyed his father's last com­mand, and carried on his profession. The magic slippers that could tread upon air and the mysterical science by which one's form could be altered at will, both inherited by Rohineya as family heirlooms, ensured his success and fame as a thief.

One day as Rohineya was robbing a house, the owners returned unexpectedly and immediately noticed something wrong. To avert being caught, Rohineya fled away from the house and in his haste lost his slippers. Running, he came upon a path on which the sanctum- sanctorum of Lord Mahavir was being held. Lord Mahavir was delivering a sermon.

Unable to turn back then, Rohineya had to continue on the path. To avoid hearing the voice of Lord Mahavir, Rohineya blocked his ears with his fingers and ran faster, right onto a thorn. He was caught in a dilemma: if he kept running, he would surely be impeded by the pain and eventually would have to slow if not stop, probably before reaching safety; if he stopped to remove the thorn he would risk both detection and be subjected to the forbidden teachings of Mahavir.

As physical pain overrode all other thoughts, Rohineya paused to remove his finger from his ear and used them to pull the thorn from his foot. At that time Bhagawan Mahavir was dwelling upon the peculiarities of gods. He heard in Mahavir's gentle voice how the gods

As physical pain overrode all other thoughts, Rohineya paused to remove his finger from his ear and used it to pull the thorn from his Foot.

never have twinkle their eyes, they fulfill their work at will, the garlands of their necks never fade, and their legs never touche the ground.

Having disposed of the thorn, Rohineya put his fingers back in his ears and resumed his running. Though he had heard only a small segment of Mahavir's speech and had not listened attentively, he seemed to have retained the words more strongly than he would have desired. The more fervently Rohineya endeavoured to forget the forbidden words, the more firmly they lodged in his mind.

Meanwhile, Rohineya's terror in Rajgriha was increasing day by day. The king's clever minister, Abhayakumar, one day snared Rohineya and tried to extort a confession. Rohineya, however, falsely declared that he was only a businessman from Shaaligraam. Abhayakumar, of course, knew better than to trust a thief, and realizing that it might be easier to reform this criminal than to catch him, he invited Rohineya to dine at his house that evening.

At dinner Rohineya was served food laced with a subtle truth serum. After the meal he become unconscious. He was carried away to a room which appeared like a heaven. There were beautiful women pretending to be goddesses. When, Rohineya regained consciousness, the goddesses asked him, "Oh our dear god! You have become our beloved husband in this heaven. Now, please let us know about your actions in your previous life that were responsible for your birth here. According to our tradition only a dreadful thief can take rebirth here." Instantly came to Ronineya's mind the words he could not escape from hearing in that fateful afternoon, "Gods never have twinkle their eyes               " Rohineya now understood Abhayakumar's

method of reasoning in his treatment of a thief, and he began to see the truth behind Lord Mahavir's teachings and the falsity behind his own life. Acknowledging that he was only a human being and not above human laws of morality, Rohineya gained release from his material and immoral bondage. He became a devoted disciple of Lord Mahavir, and to atone for his past sins dedicated the rest of his life to follow a true and righteous way.

Sources

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

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  1. Consciousness
  2. Mahavir
  3. Science
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