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Glory of Jainism: Subhadra Shethani

Published: 05.11.2012


Subhadra Shethani

The leader of the Surat Mahajan (association of merchants) advised his son Pramodrai that he should stick to good moral conduct, should keep good company, should be sweet in his tongue and should carry out his trading within a limit of rupees twenty lac their assets being of that amount. This advice was recorded by the father on the first page of the book of accounts. Once Pramodrai happened to go out of the town. During that time one ship-owner came to his munim (chief accountant) and requested him to get his ship worth rupees thirty lac insured for that amount. The munim wrote the name of the ship-owner, assessed the goods therein and insured it for rupees thirty lac. Pramodrai Sheth returned on the third day. He was greatly distressed and disturbed on discovering that the munim had incurred a risk exceeding rupees twenty lac and the shock was so severe that he became unconscious. Manilal, the experienced munim, also realized his mistake. In case the ship drowned, they would have to pay a huge amount of rupees thirty lac which was a difficult task.

Sheth’s wife Subhadra was extremely religious minded. Once Pramodrai was awakened by the heavy storm at midnight and he realized that he was sure to face a similar cyclone of calamity in his life now. The other day Pramodrai received a telegram that the sea-faring ship was not traceable. It was also stated to keep rupees thirty lac ready as the ship-owner was to came to collect the money the next morning. This was indeed a lightening-like calamity for Pramodrai. He thought that it would be better to face death than to lose his reputation in the market. Pramodrai and Subhadra kept two cups of opium ready for the morning. Being religious minded, Subhadra said: “For once let me pray and request Jineshvar Bhagwan (venerable Jina) since in His regime no righteous person is subjected to suffering. If need be, we shall take the opium together. Then Subhadra Shethani made an earnest samayik (attaining equanimity) with complete devotion. Under the spell of the melodious stavan (devotional song) Pramodrai went to sleep.

At very late in the night, somebody knocked at the door. Shethani opened the door and a person with a partially covered face entered the room with a bag in his hands. Subhadra Shethani asked the person to remove his cover on the face and be fearless. When he did so, she found that it was the prince of Bhavanipur and as his father had died he was worried that the Government agent might take over the property and had come with his share of the amount and ornaments to the Sheth. He said: “Kindly keep this amount, I don’t want any interest thereof. I am thoroughly aware of your righteousness. Please have some mercy on my innocent children and please keep this amount safely in the house.” So saying he left behind the bag containing gold and cash and soon went away. She counted the amount and threw away the opium. When it was morning Sheth asked her to have the dose of opium. Thereupon Subhadra Shethani told him everything that had happened during the night. When the Sheth went to his shop Manilal, the munim, told him that because of the sea-storm the ship had gone away towards a different port and now it was located as being safe and secure. Pramodrai Sheth was very happy and had all the praise for the insight, ability and religious devotion of Subhadra Shethani.

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. Equanimity
  2. Jina
  3. Lac
  4. Mahajan
  5. Samayik
  6. Stavan
  7. Surat
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