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Glory of Jainism: Sadhvi Bhadramata

Published: 25.08.2012



Sadhvi Bhadramata

Bhadra was the wife of a rich merchant of Rajagriha named Gobhadra. They had a son named Shalibhadra and a daughter named Subhadra. With the combination of business acumen of his mother and divine assistance of his father, Shalibhadra enjoyed abundant riches. He was married to 32 young girls, all having the qualities of beauty, virtue and chastity.

Once a merchant from Nepal had come to Rajagriha to sell jewel-studded blankets but king Shrenik could not buy even one of those precious blankets. In order to save the pride and prestige of Rajagriha, Bhadramata purchased sixteen such jewel-studded blankets and made two pieces of each of the valuable blankets and gave those pieces to 32 daughters- in law. The blankets were so made that they would provide warmth in winter and coolness in summer but as the daughters-in-law found them very rough and uneven, they used them as doormats.

King Shrenik came to the residence of Bhadramata in search of the jewel-studded blankets. It was then that Shalibhadra realized that Shrenik was regarded as their master (nath). This moment of realization was a moment of total helplessness for Shalibhadra because till then he had thought that he was the sale master. Thus the arrival of the king convinced Shalibhadra of his utter dependence and he decided to take the path of renunciation all alone. When Bhagwan Mahavir arrived at Rajagriha, Shalibhadra and his brother-in-law Dhanya Sheth accepted initiation. Bhadramata and Shalibhadra’s wives used to live a disciplined life devoted to religion.

The news about Bhagwan Mahavir’s arrival had made the entire city extremely eager to have his darshan. Bhadramata too was very eager to have darshan. She was in such a haste that in the hurry to get Bhagwan Mahavir’s darshan, she could not recognize the lean and lanky Shalibhadra who had come to her doors for alms. Without paying any heed to the Muni’s, Bhadramata went away hurriedly, with the result that Shalibhadra had to go away without having any food.

While they were returning, a milk-maid offered some curd to Shalibhadra and thereby he was made to break his fast. Muni Shalibhadra came to Bhagwan Mahavir and having obtained his permission, he went to a huge mountain near Rajagriha and resorted to sallekhana vrat (vow of ritual death by fasting). Bhagwan Mahavir narrated all the incidents relating to Shalibhadra’s alms to his sallekhana (ritual death by fasting) to Bhadramata and her family that had come to his holy assembly.

Bhadramata was extremely shocked at what she learnt from Bhagwan Mahavir. It was as if she was struck by lightning. She realized the great mistake she had committed in ignoring the monks she had seen at her door - the more tragic it was because they were none else but her own son Shalibhadra and son-in-law Dhanya Sheth. Her motherly love felt unbearable remorse and instantly she ran towards the mountain for her son’s darshan. On seeing that due to severe penance and exclusive meditation, her son had become extremely weak, she was so moved that she became unconscious. King Shrenik who happened to be there at that time consoled her. Bhadramata had a look at her own life and having renounced everything, she along with her daughters-in-law, accepted the path of penance.  

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. Bhadra
  2. Bhagwan Mahavir
  3. Darshan
  4. Fasting
  5. Mahavir
  6. Meditation
  7. Muni
  8. Nath
  9. Pride
  10. Rajagriha
  11. Sadhvi
  12. Sallekhana
  13. Shrenik
  14. vrat
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