Glory of Jainism: Pethadsha

Published: 06.10.2012




Pethadsha was very devout and built eighty-four temples, many upashrayas, a library and undertook extensive construction activity; but after the death of his father Dedasha, Pethadsha was reduced to poverty and his prosperous life came to an end. He approached Acharya Dharmaghoshsuri and expressed a desire for parigraha-pariman-vrat (vow of limiting one’s possessions). The guru foresaw a bright future for Pethadsha and granted what he desired. Pethadsha engaged himself in. the business of selling ghee and his financial condition slowly improved. Sanghpati Bhimji of Cambay (Khambhat) used to distribute clothes to those taking the vow of celibacy. He sent one pair to Pethadsha also. Pethadsha and his wife wore the clothes sent by Bhimji and took the vow of celibacy.

The vow proved to be a great source of power and energy for the couple. It is said that once the queen, who was suffering from some poisonous fever, wore the clothes worn by Pethadsha and the fever disappeared in no time. The king’s mad elephant quietened the moment the clothes were thrown on him. At the instance of Pethadsha, the king had also vowed to observe non-violence. Pethadsha also took out a sanghyatra (a congregation on pilgrimage) of about seven lakh people to spread the message of non-violence.Pethadsha was a man of foresight. At the end of the thirteenth century and the beginning of the fourteenth century of Vikram Samvat, Allauddin Khilji was the ruler and his oppressive rule caused untold suffering to the people. Temples and shrines were demolished, scriptures and a host of religious literature and books were destroyed in a devastating fire. Idols of gods were intentionally and systematically destroyed. At that time Pethadsha, a minister of Mandavgadh, constructed forts and protective walls and kept the granaries full. Mandavgadh was considered to be powerful, prosperous and safe. Pethadsha enjoyed undisputed power, enormous wealth, and had earned fame as a highly devout and religious person. It was believed that his religious fervour and devotion had protected him and his people against the external threats. His wealth was spent on religious activities which were dearer to his heart.

Devgiri (Dolatabad) in south India was a well-known city at that time, but it was also a seat of religious discords. Jainism had failed to take roots in the soil. Pethadsha saw the need of at least one Jain temple in the city. It was his sacred duty, he thought, to construct one but it was not easy. Foresighted that he was, he setup a donation camp in Omkarpur near Devgiri in the name of Hem, a minister in Devgiri administration. People received charities at the camp and the news spread far and wide. Minister Hem learnt that it was Pethadsha who was spending large sums of money from his own resources but the fame accrued to him. This, he thought, was something rare. Hem sent a word to Pethadsha to come and meet him. Pethadsha met Hem and convinced him of the need of building a shrine of the presiding deity in Devgiri. He said he had money but wanted a piece of land in Devgiri. Hem promised to help him and persuaded king Ramdev to donate a piece of land. A magnificent shrine came up in Devgiri which was unique in its architectural beauty and beautiful carvings. The idol of Bhagwan Mahavir was installed in A.D. 1279. “Amulikvihar” stands today in Devgiri, a symbol of Pethadsha’s devoutness and piety.

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. Bhagwan Mahavir
  3. Celibacy
  4. Ghee
  5. Guru
  6. Jain Temple
  7. Jainism
  8. Lakh
  9. Mahavir
  10. Non-violence
  11. Vikram Samvat
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