Glory of Jainism: Kundaliyo Shravak

Published: 02.10.2012


Kundaliyo Shravak

Kundaliyo Shravak was a merchant by profession but he was a deep scholar of religious philosophy. Once he had gone to the town for selling ghee (purified butter), meanwhile he saw that Acharyasuri Ratnakarsuriji, seated in a palanquin, was going towards the royal palace. Along with the palanquin, numerous scholars were walking on foot and many armed soldiers were walking ahead and they were followed by the royal servants.

Kundaliyo Shravak got engrossed in thought at this sight. He was well aware that Acharya Ratnakarsuriji was a versatile scholar of religious philosophy, logic, grammar, literature, prosody and many other branches of knowledge. No scholar would introduce himself as scholar before him because they knew full well that as compared to the versatile scholarship of Acharyashri their scholarship was quite negligible. Shri Ratnakarsuriji had the unusual ability of providing many consistent interpretations of a single pad (a form of poem), since he possessed profound intellect and mastery of many sciences. Because of this ability, the king himself had honoured him with the title of "Anekantvadi" (one capable of interpreting given sentence in several ways). As a token of their respect and honour for him, the king as well as the people had requested him to come to the royal court in a palanquin rather than by walking. Ultimately this led to a slow but regular laxity in his characteristic qualities. One error leads to a thousand. In course of time Acharyashri began to relish the tastiest and sweetest food meant for the king and the chieftains and he also began to use their costliest clothes and in course of time he was accustomed to accepting pearls and rubies by way of gifts.

Kundaliyo Shravak was surprised to see that the Acharya having so great an impact on Jain religion should sit and move in a palanquin and accept valuable gifts and put on costly dress. He wondered if this was fair for a monk committed to a vow of non-possession. But Kundaliyo Shravak bowed to him and paid his respects. The other day he went to attend the lecture of Ratnakarsuriji and at the conclusion of the lecture, he quoted agatha (verse) from Updeshmala and requested the Acharya to tell its meaning. It meant that money is regarded as the root cause of all evils and it has been renounced by all past sages. If some Acharya keeps with him such evil-causing money and riches, it is needless and useless for him to undergo renunciation and penance.

Anekantvadi Acharyashri, with scholarly wisdom, provided various meanings other than the standard one. Kundaliyo Shravak said politely: “Acharyashri! You have provided wonderful meanings of the "gatha" but I request you kindly to oblige me by providing its original and essential meaning.” So saying, Kundaliyo bowed down and went out to sell his ghee. He returned the other day. Acharyashri offered almost a new definition and when Kundaliyo went to him the third day he offered a totally new meaning which was never heard before. Thus six months passed in interpreting the gatha. Kundaliyo came after six months and said: “Acharyashri! All the money that I had earned by the sale of ghee is exhausted today. I shall have to return to my village for some urgent work. I repent only one thing that I have not been able to grasp the original meaning of the gatha.” Next day, Acharyashri explained to him the original and correct meaning of the gatha and Kundaliyo Shravak went home very delighted. It was a moment of awakening for the Acharya and he recited a prayer at Shatrunjaya Tirtha which came to be known as Ratnakar Pachhisi.

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. Ghee
  3. Shatrunjaya
  4. Shravak
  5. Tirtha
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