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Glory of Jainism: Jayanti

Published: 08.11.2012



An illustrious feminine figure of Bhagwan Mahavir's time is shravika Jayanti. She was the daughter of king Saharsanik of Kaushambi and sister of king Shatanik and aunt of king Udayan, a great devotee of Bhagwan Mahavir. She had immense faith in the Jain religion. She knew quite well the philosophy of Bhagwan Mahavir and had a thorough understanding of jiva (sentient) and ajiva (insentient). Having deep aptitude for philosophy, very impressive personality and great religious concern, shravika Jayanti was an outstanding devotee, shramanopasika, of Bhagwan Mahavir's time.

In the third year, after having achieved absolute knowledge, Bhagwan Mahavir came to Kaushambi. The entire town came to hear his sermon. Bhagwan Mahavir gave a very interesting sermon on this world (lok) and the other world (parlok). Jayanti shravika had also come there with the queen Mrugavati. As the sermon of Bhagwan Mahavir was over, Jayanti bowed before him with folded hands and with a view to satisfying her inquisitiveness she asked some very meaningful questions.

Jayanti: Bhagwan! How does a jiva (sentient) become heavily loaded with 'karma' (action)?

Bhagwan Mahavir: When a jiva indulges in eighteen sins like violence, theft, hoarding etc. it becomes loaded with karmas and its cycle is prolonged.

Jayanti: Bhagwan! Is it desirable for a jiva to be efficient and industrious or to be idle?

Bhagwan Mahavir: It is good for some jivas to be industrious and for some others it is good to be idle.

Jayanti: Bhagwan! I beg your pardon, but may I know why?

Bhagwan Mahavir: For the jiva that indulges in non-religious activities and acts contrary to religion it is better that he should be idle; for the jiva that acts in accordance with the tenents of the religion, it is better that he should be industrious because that religious minded jiva is always alert and is devoted to selfless service of Acharya, Upacharya, Tapasvi, Sangh and coreligionist.

Jayanti: Bhagwan! Which jiva is better - a sleeping one or an awakened one?

Bhagwan Mahavir: It is better for some jivas to be asleep and for some others to be awakened. The jivas that indulge in non-religious activities and make their livelihood by non-religious activities save themselves from violence as long as they are asleep and other jivas are protected from their nuisance. Their being asleep is good for them and good for others. For the jivas that are merciful, truthful, cultured and non-accumulative, it is better that they keep awakened because it brings welfare for themselves and the world. It is better that a cruel jiva should be a sleep and a benevolent one should keep awake.

Jayanti: What is better for jivas - to be powerful or weak?

Bhagwan Mahavir: It is better that religious minded jivas are powerful. Whatever they do, it results in welfare for themselves and for others. It is better that non-religious jivas are weak. Because of their weakness, they are unable to inflict misery or pain on others and are thus, prevented from doing harm (akalyan).

Having been satisfied with all the answers of her questions, Jayanti ultimately accepted initiation from Bhagwan. Finally she attained salvation after a deep study of eleven anga (Jain canonical literature) and severe penance.

Title: Glory Of Jainism

Ashok Saha and Prathana Saha


Shri Anilbhai Gandhi (Trustee),
Palitana - 364270 (India)

Edition: 1998

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Ajiva
  3. Anga
  4. Bhagwan Mahavir
  5. Jayanti
  6. Jiva
  7. Karmas
  8. Mahavir
  9. Sangh
  10. Shravika
  11. Shravika Jayanti
  12. Tapasvi
  13. Violence
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