Glory of Jainism: Sadhvi Narmadasundari

Published: 06.09.2012



Sadhvi Narmadasundari

Narmadasundari, holder of 64 feminine arts, was married to Maheshvardalta. After her marriage, she greatly impressed her in-laws by her strict pursuit of Jain religion. Once upon a time, Narmadasundari was standing in a balcony and she spat the chewed betel leaf which fell on the head of a monk who happened to pass along the street. The monk looked up and told her that for having shown disrespect to a monk, she would suffer separation from her husband. Having realized her mistake, she came running down she bowed to the monk and earnestly requested the saint not to curse her. The monk said: “A Jain monk would never curse. It is only the karma that make you suffer.”

For some business, Maheshvardatta was going to a foreign land and along with his wife he went for a cruise. One night, melodious music was heard from an island whereupon Maheshvardatta said that the singer must be very expert in the art of music. Besides the art of music, Narmadasundari had also studied the science of voice. Just by listening to the voice, she could make a lifelike description of the singer. Hence Narmadasundari said: “Indeed the singer is expert in singing, but he is black, his hands are muscular and hair rough. He is a young man of thirty-two with a broad chaste.”

Narmadasundari’s detailed description of the singer raised many doubts in the mind of her husband. He wondered as to how could she have such a detailed information about a third person. In anger he decided to abdicate her. The ship made a halt at Rakshasa Dwipa; while Narmadasundari was sleeping under the shade of a tree, Maheshvardatta left her asleep and returned to the ship and told others that his wife was killed by a monster in the form of a tiger. Thereafter, Maheshvardatta earned a lot of money in Yavan Dwipa. On returning to the home-town, Maheshvardatta informed Narmadasundari’s parents about the death of Narmadasundari and performed all the obsequial rites.

When she was awakened, Narmadasundari had to face many difficulties and began to weep loudly; she began to pass her days taking recourse to religion. Her uncle Virdas came there and accompanied her back but on the way, she fell prey to a courtesan. There she was tortured and beaten heavily but she did not budge a little. When the courtesan died, the king called her to the court to take the place of the dead courtesan. In order to protect and save her character, she jumped into a ditch and behaved like a mad woman. People thought that she was either a mad woman or a witch and let her go. Finally Narmadasundari arrived at her parents’ home and passed her days peacefully.

Once when she asked Suhastisuriji about her previous birth, he said that as a ruling goddess of the river Narmada in the previous birth, she had harassed the monks residing on the bank. Having known about her previous birth, she accepted initiation and after severe penance she acquired clairvoyance. Once she was on a tour when Maheshvardatta came to Sadhvi Narmadasundari to offer his respects.

This was the time when everything was explained and Maheshvardatta repented greatly for his behaviour. Sadhviji told him: “You are not at fault in this matter. Every soul has to suffer according to thekarmas that it has performed.” Maheshvardatta also accepted initiation and both attained salvation on the banks of the Narmada.

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. Anger
  2. Clairvoyance
  3. Karma
  4. Sadhvi
  5. Science
  6. Soul
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