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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4): Ācāryaśrī Hemacandra Sūri

Published: 26.08.2016

Ācāryaśrī Hemacandra Sūri, prodigious author of 12th and 13th century was adorned with the title 'omniscient of kaliyuga' bestowed upon by popular Jain ācāryas. He was the most celebrated, illustrious author revered by the kings and an extensive propagator and influential ācārya in Jina order. Impressed by his exemplary traits like renunciation, meditation and austerities, unfathomable erudition, the then two valorous kings Siddharāja Jayasiṃha and Kumārapāla became his ardent followers. He used to give them effectual timely advices and guided them in public welfare activities. He inspired them to perform such meritorious activities which modified and embellished their physical and spiritual worlds; contributed for all-round development of the society from moral, social, historical and spiritual points of view and kindled the spirit of real humanity in the hearts of all. Thus he made exemplary services to Jina order in particular and to the humanity in general and enhanced its glory.

According to 'Prabhāvaka Caritra' (authored by Ācāryaśrī Prabhācandra Sūri of Rājagaccha, in Vikram 1334) the story goes thus: During the regime of Cālukya King Karṇa, a merchant called Cāciga of Moḍha caste lived in a beautiful city called Dhundhukā (Dhandhūka) in the prosperous Gurjara region. His consort's name was Pāhinī.

One night Pāhinī in her dream saw that she got a Cintāmaṇi gem (wish fulfilling gem) dazzling with radiance and she was bequeathing the invaluable Cintāmaṇi into the lotus hands of her religious preceptor. The next moment she woke up from her sleep and felt thrilled and delighted.

During those days Devacandra Sūri halted at 'Moḍha Vasahī' in Dhundhukā Nagara. He was the disciple of Ācāryaśrī Pradyumna Sūri of Candra gaccha. Pāhinī after completing her morning chores went to 'Moḍha Vasahī' to behold darśana of ācārya.

After offering venerations to Ācārya Devacandra Sūri, Pāhinī told him, her dream and asked about its implications. Ācārya Devacandra Sūri after deep contemplation said to her, "O, Pious Lady! You will give birth to a gem of a son like Kaustubhamaṇi and you will entrust him into my care. He renders immense services to Jina order and infinitely transcends its glory."

In due course Pāhinī gave birth to a very handsome and attractive son on full moon day in Kārtika month in Vikram 1145 Cāciga's happiness knew no bounds. The boy was named as Caṃgadeva. Cāciga liberally donated money to supplicants They served the guests with delicious feast and following the customary tradition offered betel to all of them with due respect and bade them farewell.

They brought up the child with immense care and love. Bequeathing them with immeasurable happiness Caṃgadeva turned 6 years old. Once on some business errand Cāciga went to a village and at the same time Devacandra Sūri arrived at Dhundhukā Nagara.

To behold the Darśana of her spiritual preceptor, she set out with her son towards 'Moḍha Vasahī'. The tender boy Caṃgadeva, holding the little finger of his mother entered into Moḍha Vasahī. At that time Devacandra Sūri was offering obeisance to Jineśvara idol in Vasahī Jina temple, just a few yards away from his seat. Pāhinī stopped at a distance so as to circumambulate ācārya from left to right and right to left. Meanwhile the boy Caṃgadeva walked straight and sat on the seat of ācārya. Ācāryaśrī, after completing his reverential salutations, turned back and saw a radiant boy sitting on his seat without any fear as if he was accustomed to it and in a composed posture like a born yogī. Naturally a sweet smile mixed with joy and wonder appeared on his face. Looking at Pāhinī who stood with folded hands in front of him and with the striking resemblance Devacandra Sūri understood that the boy who sat solemnly on his seat was her son. 'Jain order will be greatly benefited by this auspicious soul'. This very thought made his heart replete with a surge of spiritual joy like the waves surging in the fathomless ocean.

From the references of two texts of Vikram 14th Century – Prabhāvaka Caritra and Prabandha Cintāmaṇi (written by Ācārya Merutuṃga Sūri in Vikram 1361) it is clear that the 5-year old boy Caṃgadeva sat on the seat of Devacandra Sūri in Vikram 1150 and infant Prince Siddharāja Jayasiṃha sat on the throne of his father while playing, when he was only three years old. It was a wonderful coincidence that these two tender boys who sat at the same time on highly elevated seats of different fields (spiritual and political) became the  legendary personalities of their era, in their respective fields. In course of time, boy Caṃgadeva grew into Hemacandra Sūri, the omniscient of Kaliyuga and encouraged and inspired two Cālukya kings to perform public welfare and other humane activities. He instilled virtuous morals and ethics in the hearts of the people. Wandering through a vast area, he made the rulers decree ordinances prohibiting the killing of living beings and thus saved and protected innumerable birds and animals. His work extended to the literary field too. Authoring a great number of spiritual books, he glorified the literature of Jain order and spread the name and fame of Jain religion far and wide. In this way he brought everlasting splendour to Jain order with his exemplary contributions in all the fields.

And on the other hand, with the passage of time, the boy who playfully sat on the throne, Prince Siddharāja Jayasiṃha, became the ruler of Gurjara kingdom, extended its territories up to distant lands and established a powerful Gurjara kingdom.

Looking at Pāhinī who was saluting him with folded hands, he raised his right hand in a gesture of assurance and told her, "O Meritorious Lady! You might have remembered your dream. Today behold with your own eyes. This boy intimated you of his descent through a dream and now he is commencing the auspicious work of realizing the magnificent and sacred dream. This boy, who is sitting on the seat of the highest rank of Jina order, is informing not only you and me, but the entire world through his gesture that he was born only to hold this high office, this seat or this tradition. O Devotee! The 'Cintāmaṇi' you offered me in your dream is your son only. Please come and give me your Cintāmaṇi and make the dream come true."

On listening to him, Pāhinī replied, "Please Lord! It is appropriate for you to ask his father. He is not here right now as he is out of town on some errand."

"Even if I request, his father Cāciga will not be ready to give away his son", with this apprehension Devacandra Sūri remained quiet.

Pāhinī started contemplating the dream, which she saw nearly 6 years ago and said to herself, "According to my dream, I gave away my son to ācārya. The gestural command of invisible is that I should leave my son, who is dearer than my life to me at the lotus feet of ācārya for ever. The ācārya is asking the boy just for the benefit of Jina order. Even from spiritual point of view, the benevolent command of religious preceptor should not be violated by true devotees. As such, keeping in mind the dream I have seen, my duty is the welfare of Jina order. I should relinquish all motherly delusion and attachment and should bequeath my beloved son to ācārya forever. This fetches propitious destiny for me and for my son. The brave and courageous women of Gurjara region have been happily giving farewell to their beloved husbands and sons to go on voyage to earn money by trading with other countries so as to enrich the home, family and the nation and to provide comforts and luxuries to the family. Thus the women in a way are giving away their beloved ones to the boundless ocean. But in my case, our august ācārya is seeking my son for serving Jain order, for attaining highest good and for the progress of religion. I should not delude or hesitate to offer my son for carrying out a sacred and highest good which clears the way to physical and spiritual world for all". Thus contemplating, Pāhinī suppressing the flooding sorrow of separation of her beloved son, offered him at the feet of ācārya with praiseworthy fortitude.

Śrī Devacandra Sūri questioned Caṃgadeva affectionately in a soft tone, "Tell me O Humble One! Will you become my disciple?" The boy replied with a sweet honey like tone, "Yes, I will, Gurujī".

Devacandra Sūri taking Caṃgadeva away with him, set out for Stambha Tīrtha (Khambhāta). After reaching Stambha Tīrtha ācāryaśrī halted in Pārśvanātha temple. The boy Caṃgadeva stayed in the building of Udayana, the minister and feudatory of Stambha Tīrtha and started studying together with his peers.

Few days after Devacandra Sūri left from Dhundhukā with the boy, the merchant Cāciga Deva finishing his business dealings returned to Dhundhukā. After arriving at home he did not find his son anywhere, so he enquired his wife with a worried note, "Where is Caṃga?"

Pāhinī explaining every detail in a sweet tone said that for the benefit of Jina order and following the invisible gestural command of the Supreme in her dream, she offered her intelligent son to Śrī Devacandra Sūri.

Listening to the news of separation of his only son, dearer to him than his own life, the merchant became enraged. Everything – the house, family, and the world appeared pale and empty without his son.

He declared in a decisive tone, "I will not take a grain of food till I see my beloved son". Announcing thus he at once started for Stambha Tīrtha. On the way he did not take rest even for a second. Arriving straight at Stambha Tīrtha, he directly went to Devacandra Sūri's monastery. Out of wrath his face turned crimson. But because of his inherent culture, he slightly bent down his head and offered venerations to ācārya. At the first glance itself Devacandra Sūri recognised the turbulent emotions of Cāciga by reading his facial expressions and tried to placate him with sweet nectar-like words. Even the feudatory minister of Stambha Tīrtha was present there at that time. Listening to the very first sentence of ācārya's conversation, Udayana guessed that the stranger was Cāciga, the father of the brilliant boy Caṃgadeva

Minister Udayana brought merchant Cāciga to his mansion on a cart drawn by eight horses for extending hospitality to him, i.e. to offer food, drink and for resting. At the same time Caṃgadeva came running and embracing tightly the knees of Udayana with his tiny hands and asked, "O! Best of the Ministers! Why did you come so late?"

Udayana fondly patting the boy on his cheeks said, "Behold! Intelligent Caṃga! Who has come to our place?" saying this Udayana ordered his servants to make arrangements for Cāciga to refresh.

The boy looked in the direction shown by Udayana and with gesture said 'Father! When did you come?" Questioning thus, he touched the feet of his father. Cāciga hugged his son and repeatedly kissed him on his forehead.

"Father! I learnt reading and writing. The minister himself teaches me. He is very good.! Do you know this minister? Udayana Bappā!"

When Cāciga refreshed himself, Udayana made him sit beside him and personally took care of him when he was dining. Udayana's noble behavior and warm hospitality left a deep impression in the heart of Cāciga.

Later both of them took rest for some time. Cāciga was relieved of his weariness.

When Cāciga became fully relaxed and composed Udayana started the conversation, "O, Best of Merchants! Your son Caṃgadeva is blessed with unprecedented extraordinary wisdom and miraculous brilliance.

Within a short time, with his studies molding good habits into his life and setting an example of his intelligence, he won the hearts of us all. I firmly believe that this boy will bring honor not only to Gurjara region but will definitely spread the name and fame of our country in the world. Continuously associating himself with a great spiritual soul like Devacandra Sūri, one day he will become a great spiritual personality, rule the hearts of the people and eternally remain as a legend in history.

Cāciga expressing his feelings of forlornness said in a pleading tone, "O Generous Minister! I fully agree with you. Actually even I think on the same line, this boy is an august soul who in future will perform extraordinary tasks. But the real situation is that he is the only hope for me in my old age, he is the only light who makes our lives bright. If I give him away to Jina order, there will be none to continue our lineage and it will get wiped out. He is the only son, the light of my house. Without him nothing remains in my life, in my mind and soul except darkness, pitch darkness."

Udayana recognising the pain in his emotional outburst said consolingly, "My Friend! By dedicating your son, the future pioneer of Jina order and a great charismatic ascetic, for the services and flourishment of Jina Congregation, your family lineage will not be mitigated at all. On the contrary, your name and that of your wife's, names of the Moḍha caste, of your Dhundhukā village and of entire Gurjara region will remain eternal, along with the name of this boy, and will be remembered for ever till the sun and the moon shown in the sky.

O! Best of Merchants! Wealth and riches alone are not the significant criteria in the world. Life is worth living when one brings the strayed back on to the true path and works for the benefit and welfare of the society. Just contemplate on what your son's future is? You will take him home, provide education and finally thrust him into your business. Fortunately he may earn lakhs of rupees in business. But is it the ultimate goal or benefit?

Today Gurjara region constitutes multitudes of distinguished wealthy merchants who are equal to Kubera in their wealth. And coming back to your son, his greatest achievement would be that his name will also be enumerated in their list and increase its numerical strength by one. The life of a human being does not become praiseworthy just by earning unlimited riches. You want to take this gem of a boy home just to make him earn money and to become wealthy, that too at the expense of what, a noble cause like the path of salvation? Then I have heaps of gold coins. Whatever amount of gold you want, millions? Billions? Please take them."

The final words of Udayana hit directly to his heart and hurt his self-respect. He said, "O Virtuous Minister! Listening to your inner feelings filled with immense devotion and concern towards Jina order and welfare of the society, I am fully aroused from my deep delusive slumber. If I compel my son to stay with me, he has to salute each and every one like the monkey of a juggler. If I leave him in the care of our preceptor, he will be acclaimed and honor ed universally. He will be honoured by the kings, the rich, commanders-in-chief, warriors and of course by one and all. Hence I am prepared wholeheartedly to give my son for the service, progress and prosperity of Jina order."

Then the three of them - Udayana, Cāciga and Caṃgadeva reached the monastery on a fast moving vehicle and presented themselves in the service of Devendra sūri. After offering humble salutations, Cāciga, bending his head in veneration and with folded hands requested ācāryaśrī, "O Lord! My pious wife had already given our beloved son to you. And now, I too, happily leave my son in your care for ever. And from now on you are his mother, father, God and everything to him."

As soon as the boy listened to this, he could not control his boundless happiness. He placing his head on the feet of ācārya tightly, held them with his hands. The entire atmosphere of the congregation was filled with joy and delight. An auspicious time was fixed for initiation. Ācārya initiated the boy Caṃgadeva into monkhood with five great vows, at a very auspicious time, on Saturday, bright 14th day in lunar month of Māgha, in Vikram 1150. The ceremony was celebrated in the courtyard of Pārśvanātha temple in Stambha Tīrtha. He was given the ascetic name Somacandra. The minister Udayana organised a grand function and personally supervised the arrangements. The author of Prabandha Cintāmaṇi in Kumārapāla Prabandha clearly mentioned that in the initiation celebration of Hemacandra Sūri, even his father Cāciga also bore the expenses.

According to Prabhāvaka Caritra, the boy Caṃgadeva was initiated when he was 5 years 3 months old. Whereas author of Prabandha Cintāmaṇi pushed the date further and fixed it as 8 years. The initiation period mentioned in some other texts is in conformity with that mentioned in Prabhāvaka Caritra. As such, as there are no other authentic evidences, we are left with no other alternative than to comply with the author of Prabhāvaka Caritra.

The neophyte monk Somacandra started his studies devotedly serving his guru. He sequentially studied the languages - Sanskrit, Prākṛta, Apabhraṃśa etc., and then subjects like literature, grammar, logic, prosody, Astrology etc. and mastered them, besides Jain scriptures and literature. At an early age itself he became unparalleled scholar in the Jain philosophy and doctrines of other religions too. The fame of his prodigious versatility spread far and wide.

Even after attaining profound knowledge in all the subjects, Muni Somacandra did not feel contented. He thought 'unless I acquire a unique subject like 'Padānusāriṇī' (A type of supernatural power related to predestination of knowledge), I cannot successfully accomplish the task of propagating and enriching the Jina order by creating the best works of literature. After contemplating on it for a long time, he firmly resolved to worship Goddess Saraswatī. One day at dawn, after taking the permission of his Guru, Śrī Devendra Sūri, and Muni Somacandra started towards Brāhmī land, the seat of learning along with few other Monks.

During his journey, he crossed the Mount Raivata and reached Neminātha Tīrtha. There he stayed in a secluded place. At night he was totally engrossed in the worship of Brāhmī, the Goddess of Learning. In the middle of the night, Brāhmī Devī appeared in front of him and said, "O! Unblemished Soul! Now there is no need for you to go to other places. I am much delighted with your incomparable devotion. Your wish gets fulfilled here."

Brāhmī Devī disappeared after bestowing the boon. Even after her disappearance, Monk Somacandra spent the rest of the night worshipping Brāhmī Devī. Thus Monk Somacandra, without undergoing much trouble became a prodigious poet and an eminent scholar. He then returned to his guru.

In a copy of Prabandha Cintāmaṇi, a different version is presented as to how Goddess Saraswatī was appeased by Hemacandra Sūri. The narrative goes thus:

The reputation of unique scholarship of Monk Somacandra spread far and wide. Everyone started saying that Goddess Saraswatī herself resides in the throat of Monk Somacandra, as he provides answer even to the toughest problem in a trice. Even a well-versed scholar of fourteen subjects also could not compete with him. Listening to all these comments in praise of his disciple, Ācārya Devacandra Sūri decided to confer the rank of ācārya upon him. He called the members of the congregation and put his proposal before them. Everyone welcomed the proposal with great delight. Thereupon they unanimously fixed the auspicious time in the afternoon on third bright day of Vaiśākha month. At the fixed time, in Vikram 1166, the coronation of monk Somacandra was celebrated with splendour in the presence of King Siddharāja Jayasiṃha, the entire congregate and the citizens, amidst the enchanting sounds of different musical instruments. Immediately after the ceremony, grasping the prompt from ācārya, the entire audience remained silent. Then Ācārya Devacandra whispered 'Sūri Mantra' in the ear of monk Somacandra which was smeared with camphor and sandal paste. Thus while adorning him with Sūri post; his Guru Devacandra Sūri named him as 'Hemacandra Sūri'.

At the very auspicious moment, Hemacandra's mother, Pāhinī too, took initiation from Devacandra into asceticism with five great vows. Hemacandra Sūri, who adorned the seat of ācārya, just a few moments ago, requested his preceptor and made arrangements to appoint his mother Pāhinī to the post of 'Pravartinī' and to provide an elevated seat for her to sit upon.

Later wandering through many places and preaching the Jain tenets, he reached Aṇahillapura Paṭṭaṇa.

The next day, with all grandeur befitting a king, Jayasiṃha sitting majestically on the elephant (meant only for the king – paṭṭa-hastī) was passing by the main street. He saw Hemacandra Sūri, who sat in the nearby monastery. He ordered to stop the elephant, climbed down and went near Hemacandra Sūri. He humbly stood in front of him looking at him for some time inquisitively and then said, "Please say something."

The next moment, Siddha-Sāraswata Śrī Hemacandra Sūri recited a verse extempore blessing him with valiant victory. Then onwards they became close friends. They used to meet almost every day. Day by day their friendship grew stronger and as a result the foundation for a new world based on virtuous characteristics, was laid down in Gurjara region.

One day in the royal court, the scholars were showing the texts which were sent from Avanti to Siddharāja Jayasiṃha. Seeing the title 'Bhoja Vyākaraṇa' on one of the texts, Jayasiṃha enquired about it.

An aged scholar replied, "This book is written by King Bhoja himself".

King Bhoja was a polymath. He authored many texts on rhetoric, astrology, economics, Naturopathy, politics, architecture, mathematics, and the science of prognostics and dreams, palmistry, and philosophy.

Looking at 'Bhoja Vyākaraṇa', Siddharāja felt that similar book should be written even for the library of Gurjara Kingdom. So he requested Hemacandra Sūri to write a text on grammar for his library. Being insisted by Hemacandra Sūri, and to commence the work Jayasiṃha sent his chief personnel at once to Kashmir and got the grammar text brought from the library situated there.

Ācārya Hemacandra Sūri read the text with full concentration, contemplated thoroughly on it and wrote a new text on grammar 'Siddha Hema Vyākaraṇa'. All the scholars conjointly praised him and his work which also contained briefing on Sūtras and a collection of homonyms.

The assembly of scholars unanimously agreed 'Siddha Hema Vyākaraṇa' as an authentic text. Siddharāja Jayasiṃha also read the text and its meaning along with the scholars. He experienced such inexplicable joy while reading the text that he at once decreed an ordinance to the effect that three lakh gold coins should be spent every year from the treasury to make copies of the text. To duplicate Siddha Hema Vyākaraṇa, more than 300 famous scribes were invited to Paṭṭaṇa from different places and they commenced the work. When these copies were made in many, at first they were sent to the religious preceptors of all the religions. They were distributed among the teachers of the schools. And then 20 copies along with (upanibandha) were gifted to Bhāratī temple in Kashmir, which were stored in the library attached to it. Finally these copies were also distributed throughout the kingdom – in towns, cities, villages etc. to scholars and to students as well.

During that period, a scholar named Kākala of Kāyastha caste lived in Aṇahillapura Paṭṭaṇa. He studied 8 types of grammar in depth. On the advice of Hemacandra Sūri, Siddharāja appointed Kākala as a teacher to teach 'Siddha Hema Vyākaraṇa'. A great number of pupils started arriving at Paṭṭaṇa to study grammar under him. King Jayasiṃha passed decrees in 18 regions ruled by him like Gurjara, Mālawa etc. prohibiting the reading and teaching of grammar texts other than Siddha Hema Vyākaraṇain those areas.'

Further to promote teaching and study of Siddha Hema Vyākaraṇa, the king made arrangements to conduct yearly tests on the text on jṅāna Paṃcamī, at the regional (kingdom) level. The person who obtains highest marks in the test would be felicitated by the king himself with shawls, gold ornaments, and gold medals and the best teachers would be seated on elevated luxury seats next to the king. Because of these encouragement and incentives, the number of students increased steadily every year. Besides, a miraculous effect of the promotional activities was that  in  a vast country like India, this academic fervour of studying and teaching 'Siddha Hema Vyākaraṇa' gained popularity  everywhere. In many regions people almost forgot other grammar texts.

Due to an eye problem, Ācārya Hemacandra Sūri's chief disciple and extempore poet Monk Rāmacandra lost vision in his right eye. Hence ācārya had to stay back in Paṭṭaṇa for monsoon halt. During these four months ācārya started elaborately explaining and analysing the life history of 23rd Tīrthaṃkara – Śrī Neminātha. Lured by the laurels of the people regarding the life of Jineśvara Neminātha and heart-touching commentary and magnificent expression of the narrator, even the followers of other religions, people of different philosophies started attending the lectures. Sometimes, at some places, the audience used to become extremely emotional.

Ācārya Hemacandra Sūri, apart from propagating the glory of Jain religion aimed at obliterating the religious intolerance that dwelt in the hearts of the people and carried out many remarkable activities in that direction too. He used to treat all the religions and scholars of all other philosophies with equal esteem. With such noble policy of cooperation and harmony, he worked tirelessly towards eliminating religious intolerance and fanaticism from Gurjara region.

Jain history is aplenty with such examples, which show his policy of religious equanimity. One such example from Prabhāvaka Caritra is as follows:

One day King Siddharāja set out on a pilgrimage. Even before taking the decision, the king asked Hemacandra Sūri to accompany him. While starting their pilgrimage King Jayasiṃha pleaded ācārya to sit in a palanquin and give him company. However ācārya refused his request as it was against ascetic code of conduct. He travelled a vast area on foot. Overshadowed by the sorrow of not having a son, Jayasiṃha visited many pilgrim centres like Śatruṃjaya, Raivatakācala, Ujjayanta, etc. along with Hemacandra Sūri. During this pilgrimage the king never used either a throne or a seat to sit, he made the surface of earth as his seat and throne. To earn 'puṇya' (results of virtuous meritorious deeds), the Cālukya king liberally donated villages, huge amounts of money etc. to Jain temples. In Ujjayanta after offering venerations to the idol of Lord Neminātha, the king made it a propriety of conduct that nobody should ever sleep either on elevated place or on a cot in that pilgrim centre. Indulging in sexual pleasures, performing rituals related to defilement caused due to birth or death of a person and churning the curd were prohibited there forever. Thereupon the king Jayasiṃha along with Hemacandra Sūri went to Someśwara and entered into the temple. Ācārya felt extremely happy looking at the form of almighty. To adopt and follow the policy of secularism, living in harmony with people of different religions should be the practice of the day for attaining salvation. With this thought in his mind he recited this śloka in a melodious tone and paid homage to Lord Someśwara:

Yatra tatra samaye yathā tathā, yoa si soa syabhidhayā yayā tayā |
Vītadoṣakaluṣah ̣ sa ced bhavāneka eva bhagavannamoa stu te ||

O Lord! You exist in different forms, at different times, with different names, yet if you are free from all types of sins and bad karmas then you are all-venerable god indeed. I salute thee.

This incident clearly proves that Ācārya Hemacandra showed respect towards all other religions and their gods and goddesses and was staunch supporter of religious harmony.

After worshipping Lord Someśwara and after donating generously, King Siddharāja along with ācārya travelled to Koṭi Nagara and there they visited Ambikā temple. There Jayasiṃha worshipped Ambikā for many days to beget a son. Hemacandrācārya also performed austerities continuously for 3 days, invoking Goddess Ambikā. On the third night Ambikā appeared before him and said addressing him, "O Monk! King Jayasiṃha and his cousin Kumārapāla are not destined to beget children. After Jayasiṃha, Kumārapāla will succeed to the throne and will earn name and fame with his meritorious deeds." Saying this, the Goddess disappeared.

When Jayasiṃha came to know about the incident through ācārya he was deeply agonised. With a heavy heart he returned to Aṇahillapura Paṭṭaṇa. There he summoned all the proficient astrologers and questioned them. After calculations all of them arrived at the same conclusion and conveyed it to the king, that he was not destined to have children, and that his cousin Kumārapāla, (his paternal uncle Haripāla's grandson, Tribhuvanapāla's son) will succeed to the throne. He will become a great warrior king and with his death the Cālukya dynasty will come to an end."

Listening to the prediction of the great astrologers the king was thoroughly depressed. Though fully aware that 'Avaśyambhvino Bhāvā Bhavanti Mahatāmapi' (what has to happen will definitely happen, even for the great persons too, i.e. even the great persons cannot escape fate). Siddharāja out of contempt wanted to kill Kumārapāla. Before he could work out on his plot, Kumārapāla somehow came to know about it and fled from Aṇahillapura Paṭṭaṇa quietly in the garb of an ascetic, with matted hair rolled up over the head, masquerading as the devotee of Lord Śiva. Siddharāja sent his loyal spies in all directions to look for Kumārapāla. After sometime one of his spies informed him that a group of 300 Saivites - Jaṭādhārī ascetics had arrived at Aṇahillapura Paṭṭaṇa and Kumārapāla was one amongst them in the disguise of an ascetic.

Siddharāja wanted to catch Kumārapāla and kill him. So he invited all the 300 ascetics to the palace for bhikṣā (to procure alms). Jayasiṃha knew that Kumārapāla has a lotus mark and long vertical line on the sole of his feet. So he started washing the feet of ascetics one by one to recognise Kumārapāla. When Kumārapāla's turn came, the king washing his feet felt the marks and at once became alert. Kumārapāla sensed the danger and before the king could gesture to his men to kill him, hiding under the cover of ascetics he escaped from a secret door that he was previously familiar with. He thought that he had no other place of safety, except the lodgings of Hemacandra Sūri. Thus determined, he entered into the lodgings of ācārya and requested him with folded hands, "O Lord! Cālukya king Jayasiṃha wants to kill me. Please protect me from his wrath". Hemacandra Sūri immediately hid him in the room of scriptures (written on Palmyra leaves) underneath them.

Searching for Kumārapāla everywhere, the soldiers entered the lodgings and looked everywhere, but could not find him. So they went back. At night, when everything appeared normal and quiet, ācārya went to Kumārapāla and said, "Escape now through the desolated forests as fast as possible and flee out of the territories of Gurjara Kingdom."

Passing through the dense forests and crossing mountains, Kumārapāla reached the ascetic grove of Vāmadeva. Just he was passing through a potter's house called 'Āliga'; he heard the clip-clop of the horse hoofs. He immediately rushed into the potter's house and said, "Please, hide me somewhere and save my life." The potter at once hid him in the fire place behind the unburnt pots and covered him with wood, sticks and grass. He cleverly kindled the fire too in the corner of the furnace. The royal servants came running, rushed into the house and asked the potter, "Has any youth come here?" The potter replied without any hesitation, "No sir! Nobody has come here. If you want please check the house and yard." The soldiers went around inside and outside searching for Kumārapāla. As fumes of fire were emerging from furnace, no soldier had gone there. The soldiers, not finding Kumārapāla in the potter's house moved further. When they had gone out of the sight, the potter took him out and hid him at another place under the hay stock and later offered him food also.

Kumārapāla expressed his heartfelt gratitude to ācārya and under the guise of night escaped into the dense forests. Thus wandering from place to place, after a long time he reached Stambha Tīrtha. There Hemacandra halted for cāturmāsa at the same time. Roaming aimlessly on the street, coincidentally Kumārapāla reached the monastery of ācārya and sat to listen to the commentaries of ācārya. The monastery could recognise Kumārapāla with his auspicious marks. After finishing his sermons, ācārya took him aside and said, "O Prince! Be bold for some more time. On the 7th year from this day you will become the king of Gurjara".

Kumārapāla said, "If your prediction really comes to be true, then obviously I will be the Lord of Kingdom. But how can I survive such a long period of 7 years. I have scarcely anything to live on."

Ācāryaśrī at once ordered some lay devotee and made him give 32 Dramma (a type of currency) to Kumārapāla and said, "Listen to me carefully. From today onwards you are ridding of your poverty. You will receive food, clothes etc. from time to time, from my lay devotees".

Kumārapāla expressed gratitude, saluted ācāryaśrī in veneration and went away towards an unknown destination. Sometimes disguised as Kāpālika, sometimes as Kaula and at times as Śaiva, thus changing his attire, Kumārapāla roamed through different villages and cities for 7 years, but he never faced any problem after that day.

As per ācāryaśrī's prediction when the time to ascend the throne had come close, he reached Aṇahillapura Paṭṭaṇa and entered the monastery of Hemacandra Sūri. There sitting on the vacant seat of ācārya, he waited for him. At the same time entering the monastery and noticing Kumārapāla on his seat ācārya declared in a decisive tone, "Kumāra! Now you will definitely ascend the throne. Sitting on my chair, suggests the same."

Later, Kumārapāla walked towards royal palace. Some ministers saw him outside the palace. They took him in with due respect. The council of ministers got to know about the prediction through Hemacandra Sūri. The minister Kṛṣṇadeva addressing him said, "O King! King Siddharāja left his physical body. Two princes are inside claiming themselves to be successors of Siddharāja. Please do come inside"

Minister Kṛṣṇadeva, to test the royalty asked one of the claimant–princes to sit on the throne. While sitting, the prince could not even manage his royal robes. The upper cloth fell off from his shoulders. All the ministers declared him unworthy and asked the second claimant to sit on the throne. As soon as he sat on the throne, with folded hands paid homage to all the ministers. An aged minister commented, "He will surrender himself to the enemies and give away every inch of Gurjara kingdom to them. „Unanimously the ministers rejected him also. Finally they asked Kumārapāla to sit on the throne because Ācārya Hemacandra and the astrologers had already predicted that Kumārapāla would succeed to the vast Gurjara kingdom after Siddharāja and he will take its honour to unparallel heights". Receiving a sign from the ministers, Kumārapāla walked majestically towards the throne like a lion and sat on it managing the royal attire perfectly as if he had been practising it for ages.

The moment Kumārapāla sat on the throne, he hold the hilt of the sword tightly in his fist and slowly started swinging it. All the feudatories declared in chorus, "He will become the powerful king of our Gurjara kingdom. He will conquer the enemy, enlarge the territories and attain name and fame." The coronation ceremony was performed with splendour and grandeur and thus Kumārapāla became the king of vast Gurjara Kingdom.

Taking the reins of the kingdom into his hands, Kumārapāla suppressed the internal and external rebels with an iron hand and within a short time he extended the territories in all the four directions.

Before ascending the throne, Ācārya Hemacandra Sūri saved his life at the time of peril, extended his help in all aspects and boosted his morale. For all these favours, Kumārapāla remained eternally grateful and became a loyal devotee of ācārya all his life.

To oblige Hemacandra for his help, he used to present himself in his service, obey his orders and felt blessed and pleased while executing them. Ācārya Suhasti enlightening King Samprati, made Jainism spread even to distant lands, and Ācārya Siddhasena imparting spiritual knowledge to King Vikramāditya glorified Jain religion under royal patronage. After these two stalwart ācāryas only Ācārya Hemacandra turned out to be a powerful ācārya like them. No one equal to them existed for the last 1500 years (from their period to that of Hemacandra's). He made Siddharāja Jayasiṃha as the well-wisher of Jain order and made the Cālukya king Kumārapāla (Vikram 1216) as the loyal follower of Jainism, practitioner of austerities and 12 vows as a lay devotee, who later did commendable service to Jainism. Impressed by his preaching and obeying his instructions King Kumārapāla banned animal slaughter continuously for 14 years in his vast territories and thus saved and protected the lives of millions of animals.

It was the effect of his soul touching gospels, profound knowledge and outlook of universal welfare which gave the vast Gurjara kingdom an opportunity to turn into a unified, powerful, prosperous region under the two kings Siddharāja Jayasiṃha and Kumārapāla, both of whom paid more attention to humanitarian values.

In literary field Ācārya Hemacandra brought in a revolution. Encouraged by him both Siddharāja Jayasiṃha and 'Paramārhata' Kumārapāla got the ancient texts, useful inscriptions and unavailable literature brought to Paṭṭaṇa. Thus they not only enriched the libraries of Gujarat but also contributed for the creation of new texts in various subjects like Grammar, law, literature, yoga etc.

All these facts prove that Hemacandra Sūri was an influential ācārya of Jina order who glorified Jainism in Vikram 12th-13th century. He not only endeavoured to flourish Jainism, but also performed many welfare activities for the benefit of entire society. Besides being a preceptor he was also a proficient litterateur, authored many texts on different subjects and enriched the libraries with his literary contribution. As a matter of fact Hemacandra was endowed with supernatural brilliance and proficient scholarship. Impressed by his versatile proficiency, the succeeding scholars honoured him with the title 'omniscient of kaliyuga'. In fact the lives of Ācāryaśrī Hemacandra Sūri, Siddharāja Jayasiṃha and Kumārapāla were complementary to each other.


Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4)
Acharya Hasti Mala
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Apabhraṃśa
  2. Bhikṣā
  3. Body
  4. Brāhmī
  5. Candra
  6. Caritra
  7. Concentration
  8. Contemplation
  9. Cooperation
  10. Darśana
  11. Deva
  12. Devendra
  13. Equanimity
  14. Fear
  15. Gaccha
  16. Gujarat
  17. Guru
  18. Hemacandra
  19. Jain Philosophy
  20. Jain Temples
  21. Jainism
  22. Jina
  23. Karmas
  24. Karṇa
  25. Lakh
  26. Meditation
  27. Muni
  28. Neminātha
  29. Omniscient
  30. Pārśvanātha
  31. Sanskrit
  32. Science
  33. Siddha
  34. Siddhasena
  35. Soul
  36. Tīrtha
  37. Tīrthaṃkara
  38. Yoga
  39. cāturmāsa
  40. Ācārya
  41. ācāryas
  42. śloka
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