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Glory of Jainism: Sadhvi Shiyalvati

Published: 03.09.2012


Sadhvi Shiyalvati

Ajitsen, a minister to the king of Nandannagar, was highly intelligent. His wife Shiyalvati possessed profound knowledge of the science of omens (Sukan-shastra) and as Ajitsen used to carry out his business at auspicious moment as per her advice, his wealth continued to increase constantly. Once the king of Nandannagar attacked some other kingdom and he ordered his minister Ajitsen to join him in the war. Shiyalvati thought that this would cause a very long separation, hence she garlanded him and added: “So long as the flowers of the garland don’t wither you should be assured that my chastity is well-protected and intact.”

A few days later, the king saw a garland of fresh flowers around Ajitsen’s neck. Surprised as he was, he became anxious to know the secret behind such a garland in a battlefield. The royal courtiers told the king about Shiyalvati’s fidelity to her husband. Meanwhile a minister named Ashok made a mockery of chastity. The king gave the minister one and a half Lakhdramm (a kind of ancient coin) for putting her chastity to test. Minister Ashok went to the Malan (flower-girl) and told her to go to Shiyalvati and tell her that some handsome person wanted to meet her. The flower-girl asked some coins for that task and then she went to Shiyalvati. Shiyalvati, however, decided to teach a lesson to the capricious minister who had planned to mock and defile the chastity of somebody’ s wife. So she told the flower-girl to give her half a lakh coins so as to execute the task.

Shiyalvati arranged to dig a very deep pit in her house and put upon it a cot without strings and covered it with a bed-spread. Ashok, the minister, came there in a jovial mood. According to Shiyalvati’s instructions her maid-servant told the minister to give her the money he had brought and to wait and sit on the cot. The minister hurriedly rushed into the dark room and just as he went ahead to sit on the cot he fell in the pit. As the minister Ashok did not return, another minister named Kamankur came to Shiyalvati, he was followed by the third minister named Lalitang and a fourth one named Ratikeli - one after another they came at an interval of a month with malicious intention of defiling her chastity. Shiyalvati took money from all of them and threw them into the pit.

In due course of time, having been victorious, Sinhraja returned to the city. On her husband’s return Shiyalvati presented four huge boxes to the king. When the boxes were opened by the king, four ghostly men came out of the boxes. Everyone had heavily grown bread, moustache and hair, looking horrible. Their eyes had sunk very deep and they had become lean and feeble. The king ultimately realized that the four ghostly persons were his own ministers. The ministers described the miserable plight they had to suffer and their utter failure in the mission. The king greatly respected Shiyalvati for her chastity and tactfulness.

Shiyalvati knew the language of the birds and animals. Once on listening the barking of a jackal she left for the thick forest in the darkness of the night with a pitcher on her head. Her father-in-law doubted her chastity and with a view to sending her to her parent’s home, he followed her. On his way, he was surprised to see Shiyalvati talking to a crow. As conveyed by the crow, Shiyalvati told her father-in-law that there were pitchers containing money under the tree. On digging under the tree, they found four pitchers containing gold. Shiyalvati’s father-in-law begged her apology. Shiyalvati and her husband accepted initiation and after their death they attained the fifth Devlok (celestial world) and ultimately attained salvation.

Title: Glory Of Jainism

Ashok Saha and Prathana Saha


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

Edition: 1998

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