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Glory of Jainism: Sadhvi Durgandharani

Published: 26.08.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015


Sadhvi Durgandharani

The biography of Sadhvi Durgandharani reveals the transience of worldly pleasures and the glory of life dedicated to penance. Once king Shrenik and his minister Abhaykumar were enjoying the gaiety of a fair in disguise, while they were also trying to assess opinion of the people. At that time a girl was also engrossed in watching the fair and unwittingly she put her hand on the king’s hand. King Shrenik was attracted towards that beautiful girl and promised her to make her to his queen. In memory of that promise the king gave her his ring as a token. With the power of his sharp intelligence, Abhaykumar, the king's minister, could read through the meaning of this episode and in accordance with the desire of the king, Abhaykumar arranged their wedding ceremony.

The prediction made by Bhagwan Mahavir regarding king Shrenik thus came to be true. It so happened that once king Shrenik was going to attend the holy assembly of Bhagwan Mahavir and he was told by the soldiers that a young girl as lying under a nearby tree and her body was stinking so badly that the passers-by used to turn their back upon her.

At the holy assembly of Bhagwan Mahavir, king Shrenik expressed his desire to know about the past and the present of that young girl. Bhagwan said that in her previous birth the young girl was the daughter of Dhanmitra of Shaligram and her name was Dhanshri. At the time of her marriage, being celebrated like a festival, a possessionless monk came there for alms. Dhanmitra welcomed him with utmost respect and asked his daughter Dhanshri to offer him the alms. She did it accordingly. Then she thought that all the tenets of the Jain religion were of high category but it would have been yet better if only it would have permitted the monks to have a bath! Because of having expressed disgust at the stinking clothes of the monk, she incurred the karmic bondage and it was because of that bondage that she became the daughter of a courtesan in her present birth. She was named Durgandha as bad odor emanated from her body. The courtesan had deserted her in the forest.

Predicting her future, Bhagwan Mahavir told king Shrenik that with the mitigation of her evil karmas, the king would accept her as his chief queen. She would be Durgandha of her previous birth and her only identity would be that he would be defeated by her in a game of shatranj (chess) and she would ride on his back, while other queens would be merely watching with the ends of their saris in their hands. The things happened exactly as predicted by Bhagwan Mahavir. King Shrenik was defeated by her in the game of shatranj and the queen that he had met in the fair mounted on his back. With the passage of time, Durgandha came to realize about her karmic bondage of the previous birth and with a view to ensuring liberation there from, she accepted initiation with the concurrence of king Shrenik. Queen Durgandha became a nun and joined the congregation (sangh) of Acharya Chandana.

Sadhvi Durgandha’s life reveals that even a single evil thought can entangle a person in strange karmic bondage. Queen Durgandha thought seriously over the happenings of her previous birth and made a firm determination to go the righteous way. Taking a lesson from the previous birth she made good of her present life and preferred the difficult path of spiritual growth.

Title: Glory Of Jainism

Ashok Saha and Prathana Saha


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

Edition: 1998

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Chandana
  3. Bhagwan Mahavir
  4. Body
  5. Chandana
  6. Karmas
  7. Mahavir
  8. Sadhvi
  9. Sangh
  10. Shrenik
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