Glory of Jainism: Sadhvi Devananda

Published: 23.08.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015



Sadhvi Devananda

Bhagwan Mahavir had his fourteenth 'rainy' residence (Chaturmasa) in the Bahusal garden near Brahman Kund. Having heard the news of his arrival, Brahman Rishabhadatta and his wife Devananda arrived in a chariot to Bahusal garden. They paid their respects and bowed to him and thereafter they listened to his preaching. All the while, Devananda was incessantly staring at Bhagwan Mahavir. It was as if her body was unable to contain her immense joy. While looking at Bhagwan Mahavir, Devananda's motherly love became so abundant that it found its way by means of overflow of motherly milk.

Having witnessed this sight, Gautam, the intimate disciple, was extremely surprised. Anxiously he asked Bhagwan Mahavir, "Bhagwan! How is it that this Brahmin woman Devananda has been so thrilled on seeing you? How is it that her eyes are filled with tears of joy and that she has an overflow of motherly milk?"

Bhagwan Mahavir replied, "Gautam! Devananda is my mother and I am her son. The feelings that her body has expressed is the result of her motherly love for her son." What is the secret about Bhagwan Mahavir being the son of Trishala instead of Devananda? In the previous birth Devananda and Trishala were sisters-in-law. In that previous birth, Devananda had hidden a jewel-studded box of ornaments belonging to Trishala which caused Trishala great anguish. Devananda rejected all the requests of Trishala.

Such a misdeed resulted in labhantray karma (gains obstructing karma). She had to pay the penalty of such an evil deed. By a divine will and arrangement, the soul of Bhagwan Mahavir became an embryo in the womb of Devananda on the sixth day of the first fortnight of the Month of Ashadh. Devananda saw the famous fourteen dreams. Her husband Rushabhdatta told her that her dream meant that an illustrious son, having all the virtues, was to be born to her. A strange incident took place whereby the embryo of Bhagwan Mahavir was lost after 82 days.

She had the strange feeling that somebody was stealing away the embryo she had previously seen. In fact it was because of the family-pride in the third birth of Marichi that the embryo of Bhagwan Mahavir had come to the womb of Devananda. Devraj (Lord of Gods) Indra happened to see this incident and he summoned God Harinaigameshi and told him to do an impossible task of transplanting the embryo from Devananda's womb to that of Trishala and vice versa. This transplantation was to be done in such a manner that both the mothers need not feel any pain about it. As ordered by Devraj Indra, Harinaigameshi did exchange the embryo from one womb to the other. Having come to know about the tragic events of her previous birth, Devananda renounced the world. Though Rushabdatta and Devananda were Brahmins, they knew everything about good and sinful deeds as also about jiva (sentient) and ajiva (insentient) and they had immense faith in Parshvanath tradition.

Bhagwan Mahavir preached his parents, mother Devananda and father Rushabhdatta, and considering their keen desire for initiation, guided them to a saintly path. Under the guidance of Sadhvi Chandanbala, Devananda lived a life of great restraint and studied the eleven angas deeply She performed penance and vows for many years and thereby she achieved mitigation of her karmas and ultimately she attained liberation.


Title: Glory Of Jainism

Ashok Saha and Prathana Saha


Shri Anilbhai Gandhi (Trustee),
Palitana - 364270 (India)

Edition: 1998

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Ajiva
  2. Angas
  3. Bhagwan Mahavir
  4. Body
  5. Brahman
  6. Brahmin
  7. Brahmins
  8. Chandanbala
  9. Chaturmasa
  10. Indra
  11. Jiva
  12. Karma
  13. Karmas
  14. Mahavir
  15. Parshvanath
  16. Sadhvi
  17. Soul
  18. Trishala
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