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Journey into Jain Aagam: Momentariness Of Body

Published: 20.12.2017

Once there was a ruler named, King Bal, in the City of Veetashok. He got a golden opportunity to listen to the sermon of the monks. He was so deeply influenced by the sermons that he started performing penance and eventually attained emancipation.

Prince Mahabal, the son of King Bal succeeded his father to the throne. He had six friends and all of them were of the same age group. They played together and were brought up together. They had tremendous faith in each other and vowed to depend on each other and share their life's miseries and joys sincerely. Mahabal even readily renounced his kingdom and performed penance as per his friends' decision to follow the path of renunciation. While leading a monk's life, a feeling to supersede his friends arose in Mahabal. This feeling of superiority made him perform actions like fasting more frequently than others, as he always wanted to be above the others. If the friends fasted for one day, Mahabal would fast for two days, and if they fasted for two days, Mahabal would fast for three days and so on. Consequently, all the monks went to heaven.

When Mahabal departed from heaven, he was reborn as the daughter of Kumbh, the king of Mithilaa and was named Malli. The six friends of previous birth had already taken birth as kings of different provinces. All of these kings loved Malli. When Malli came to know of this situation through her extra sensory perception, she chalked out a plan to change the situation.

According to the plan, Malli Kumari made a statue that resembled her so much that nobody could differentiate between Malli and her statue. The statue had a hole on the head and it was hollow from inside. After every meal, Malli threw a fragment of the meal into the body through the hole on the head. In due course, the rotting fragments of the meal began stinking and by placing a lid over the hole, the foul smell was not allowed to spread outside. She also got a house built with six rooms (cabins) for the kings to reside in,such that none could see one another. However, they could see the statue behind the iron bars situated opposite the cabins.

When the six kings arrived in Mithilaa, each requested King Kumbh for Malli's hand in marriage but was refused. This enraged the six kings and they united to take revenge. They succeeded in their venture and King Kumbh returned to his palace defeated and depressed. When his daughter Malli enquired about his sadness, he explained the whole incident to her. She asked him not to worry and said to him, "Send a message to each king saying that Malli would definitely marry him. Make them reside in the house that had been specially built for them. Ask each of them to enter the palace secretly."

King Kumbha did exactly as Malli desired. All the six kings arrived and each was allotted a cabin. In the morning, everyone saw the statue of Malli and mistook it to be the real Malli. They stared at it without blinking their eyelids. Then Malli Kumari arrived and removed the lid over the hole on the head. The foul smell spread all over the place and to avoid it, the kings immediately covered their nose. Now, Malli thought that this was the right time to teach them a lesson.

All the six kings are standing in front of the statue of Malli with a hole on the head.

She said to them, "If the little food that I have been putting into the statue can give out such a bad smell, imagine what the result would be if I put such meals into the astral body. This human body is momentary, so why are you illusioned?" Thus, addressing them, she explained the whole story of their previous birth. On hearing the story, the six kings achieved the knowledge of their previous life and realized the mystery of life. The atmosphere of attachment changed to detachment and at that very moment, Malli resolved to accept initiation.

According to the Tirthankar's tradition, Malli too gave the annual donation and thereafter, took initiation. On the same day, she obtained enlighten­ment. Later on, all the kings also took initiation and finally, attained emancipation.


Jain Stories

Title: Journey into Jain Aagam
Author: Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha
Publisher: Jain Vishwa Bharati
Edition: 2001

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