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Glory of Jainism: Rohiniya

Published: 22.09.2012



Bhagwan Mahavir would cast a magic spell on whoever heard his sermon. His words would dispel darkness from the hearts of people and show them the true path. Such was the power of his words that they brought about change of heart of a thief named Rohiniya. Lohkhur was a hardened thief who lived in a cave in Vaibhargiri on the outskirts of Rajagriha. He had bequeathed the art of stealing and robbing to his son Rohiniya. He became a bandit and was a synonym for terror. Lohkhur was now about to die, so he called his son and said: “I want one promise from you. Never go to listen to the discourses of Bhagwan Mahavir. See that not a word should fall on your ears, especially when he is discoursing sitting in samavasaran (holy assembly of the Jina).” 

Lohkhur believed that Bhagwan Mahavir would convert the whole race of Shudras (low caste) and thereby they would lose their means of livelihood. Mahavir’ s message of love was anathema to him. Lohkhur died and his son would be always on guard not to cross Mahavir’s path. But very often, when he had to go to Rajagriha for robbery, he had to pass by Mahavir’s samavasaran. At that time he would plug his ears with his hands so as not to hear Mahavir’s words. Once he was on his way to Rajagriha and a thorn got stuck into his foot. He sat down and tried to pluck the thorn out. He had taken his fingers off the ears and the words of Mahavir fell on them.

Mahavir was discoursing on the classes of celestial beings. He said: “One whose feet do not touch the earth, whose eyes do not wink, whose garland of flowers does not wither and one whose body neither perspires nor is dusty, is god.” Rohiniya heard these words and was greatly upset for the promise he had given to his father had broken. He did not know what to do. He said to himself, “What if I heard Mahavir’s words? I will dismiss them from my mind soon and forget all about it.” Rohiniya was a terror and was proving to be a great nuisance. King Shrenik wanted him to be arrested and put behind bars but his chief of the protection force failed to nab him. He then asked Abhaykumar, his son and minister, to arrest Rohiniya.

Abhaykumar succeeded in nabbing him but no stolen goods could be recovered from him and consequently he had to be set free. Abhaykumar then set a trap. The thief was again arrested and was drugged. Then, in a state of drunkenness, he was put in a palace which resembled heaven. Dancing-girls performed dances and when Rohiniya woke up, he was astounded at what he saw. He was told that he was in the devlok (land of gods) and would be able to live there permanently if he confessed his sins. At that time he remembered the words of Bhagwan Mahavir that god’s eyes would never wink and that they did not cast shadows. Here he found that the god’s eyes were winking and he could see their shadows too. He realized that he was in no devlok. He ran away from there but then he thought: “I had heard the words of Mahavir by chance and they helped me to set myself free from the trap. Certainly Mahavir must be a great lord.” He, then, went to Mahavir and fell at his feet. He confessed his sins and returned the stolen goods. He attained his diksha (initiation) and spent the rest of his life seeking spiritual upliftment.

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. Bhagwan Mahavir
  2. Body
  3. Diksha
  4. Jina
  5. Mahavir
  6. Rajagriha
  7. Samavasaran
  8. Shrenik
  9. Shudras
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